A lack of wineries in Kansas, compared to region

Heading to a winery in the Sunflower State….can be a challenge.

Kansas First News’ Gwen Baumgardner reports on why…when it comes to wineries…Kansas has some of the lowest numbers in the midwest.
Before Prohibition…

“Almost 90 percent of the wine made in the US came from Missouri and eastern Kansas.”

But now when it comes to selling wine…

“In Kansas there are 37 licenses last time I checked,” Josh Lanave, with the Davenport Winery Orchard and Vineyard, said.

Missouri has more than three times as many wineries as Kansas. California? 100 times more.

What’s to blame for the Sunflower State lagging behind?

It comes down to history.

“Being the first state to go through prohibition, made it especially hard. Vines ripped out, Wineries closed. And that obviously put us way, way behind. And several decades to get them back up to production.”

Even after prohibition ended…Kansas’ liquor control act had regulations until 1987 that made it difficult for wineries to begin …and thrive in Kansas.

And then add on the time it takes for these fruits to grow….

“Just in terms of planting grapes, it takes somewhere from 3-5 years in good weather conditions to produce a vine that will produce,” Mike Steinert, with Glaciers Edge Winery, said.

“Then the wine itself from those grapes, could be made anywhere from 40 days and 6 to 8 years after that. So you’re looking at about 5-10 years investment before you have that first bottle,” Lanave said.

Then to sell…

“Six or 8 months to get the licensing around and make sure that all the regulations are followed. It takes schooling. You’ve got to know what you’re going to do. So that takes time and it takes money,” Steinert said.

Even despite that sacrifice…owners encourage others to dig in….and open more wineries in Kansas.

Before prohibition, Kansas had more than 5,000 acres of grapes.

Now, there are less than 400.

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