Meet The Staff at DFV

Danenberger Family vineyards

12341 Irish Road New Berlin, IL | 217-488-6321

By now, you have probably noticed a few new faces here...


  • Grace N. Miedema, Event Coordinator and Tasting Room Staff 

Grace joined us in the fall of 2014, and already has charmed everyone in the tasting room. She remembers customers and their favorites as soon as she meets them! What a talent! She has made her own wine her each season, and her 2015 Cabernet Franc, named Fall From Grace, won a Bronze Medal. She loves wine and people, so she is our go-to-girl at DFV! She took over the events in 2015, and we know that you will love her as much as we do! 

  • Chef Clayton Danenberger, Executive Chef of our DreamTeam, Sales

We admit it, we are biased. His palate rivals Susan, but he does wonders with food instead of wine. He did a stint as sous chef at American Harvest Eatery for 4 years, attended Kendall College culinary school in Chicago and came back to work the family business!

  • Chef Zac Leepper, Chef De Cuisine  of our DreamTeam

Zac is part of our DreamTeam! He joined us after working at some incredible foodie places: Indigo, Nick and Nino's, Panther Creek and Alinea in Chicago. Alinea is considered by many to be one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. Opened by Chef Grant Achatz, the restaurant is a three-star Michelin award winner. Zac was there for six months and left with the title chef de partee. He compares Alinea to military discipline, working 13-hour days, six days a week. His great organization skills and previous roles in the hospitality industry have made things flow a little easier. His knowledge of food, wine and beer have proven to be a big asset here.

  • Chris Runyen, Tasting Room Staff

Chris brings the male point of view to our tasting room on Saturdays and makes our vineyard and yard look wonderful during the week. He balances another full time job during the week, and still manages to make everyone laugh on the weekends!

  • Niki Herr, Tasting Room Staff

Niki loves to talk with people so much that she also works at (our other favorite place) American Harvest Eatery!  She joins us on Sundays and usually enjoys a glass of Blanc afterwards with all of us as we talk about what a great weekend we had with you! 

  • ​Nicke Minder, Tasting Room Staff

​Nicke aka MinivanMafia (and owner of Page261, Coffee Mugs and Apparel) can do it all, with a family of 4 and a smile! She brings some great social media skills and hard work to our team!  Plus, her family is so adorable, we often beg her to bring them to work.

  • Luke Banning, Tasting Room Staff & OffSite Sale​s

​Luke is a marketing and business master and always coming up with ideas to make DFV successful. He just joined us in Fall 2016, and we can't wait to see what happens!