When people discover I work in a wine store, they almost always exclaim I must have the best job in the entire world. I’ll admit, it is pretty good. I get to learn about wine, taste wine, sell wine, and entertain customers and friends with wine as my JOB. I also get a front row seat to what’s happening in the local wine scene. Wine in Kansas? You bet!
A Quick History
According to Wheat State Winery Co, by the late nineteenth-century, Kansas and Missouri made up one of the largest wine growing regions in the country. Of course all of that changed when Kansas was the first state to pass Prohibition laws in 1881, 38 years before the ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment. While many wineries continued to sell across state lines or bootleg their wine, it took until 1985 for our state to pass the Farm Winery Act, establishing rules for legal wine-making in Kansas once again.
Today, Kansas is home to more than 30 wineries, five of them within the greater Wichita area. Most are kid-friendly and offer visitors a transporting experience, as well as some mighty fine wine. Kansas specializes in not only the traditional vitis vinifera vines but native species of vitis labrusca and hybrids as well, many of which have exciting histories of their own. So load up the kids, expect to see a unique side of Kansas, and prepare your taste buds for an adventurous wine experience.
Here are three Kansas wineries in the Wichita area open to the public:
Grace Hill Winery — found just off K196 highway in Whitewater, KS at 6310 S Grace Hill Rd, Grace Hill’s tasting room is just steps from their vineyard allowing visitors to take it all in. Free tours, wine tasting, and lawn games keep the entire family entertained. If you’re already a fan of their wine, you might recognize the family cat (their bulldog Georgia has to share fame with her predecessor, Chloe) from their labels, wandering into the tasting room or observation deck. Grace Hill hosts many special events throughout the year, including yoga in the vineyard, painting parties, music concerts, blend your own wine events, food and wine pairings, and dog-friendly birthday parties. See their website or sign up for their monthly email to see everything that’s happening at Grace Hill Winery.
Wyldewood Cellars — has three different locations throughout the area open every day of the week. Depending on the type of experience you’re looking for, you can stop by and try the wine or tour the facilities. They specialize in wine made from fruit besides grapes, and are most famously known for Elderberry wine. Wyldewood hosts many different kinds of special events which they list on their website including holiday events, special wine tastings, and participation in the Tallgrass Film Festival. Check out their website for more specific information and to see their latest calendar of events.
Wheat State Winery Co. — Located in Winfield, KS at 23622 Springhill Farm Dr., Wheat State is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 12-6pm. They host private events as well as plenty of music concerts, give tours, and wine tastings. See their website for their most current information.
For further area wine country adventures, check out:
Windswept Winery, 1227 92nd Rd, Udall, KS. Phone number: 620-782-3952
Mabel’s Homestead Vineyards, 112B S Summit Road, Arkansas City, KS