Wine-Making History in Kansas City

Before Prohibition hit in 1920, the Sunflower State was the top grape-growing area and the number one wine producer in the entire country. 

Yes. In fact, if not for the Midwest, the entire European wine-making industry would not have survived in the 1800s. The continent actually used Kansas woodstock as a graft for their grape varieties, as most European vineyards were plagued with an unusual bacterial infection. 

The sunny season and sandy soils within the state were also highly favorable for the right variety of wine-quality grapes to grow. 

The Germans took advantage of this. In the early 19th century, German immigrants established grape plantations within the state and spread out eastward and in the neighboring state of Missouri. By 1870, they had grown it into a thriving grape and wine culture that cemented both Kansas and Missouri as the largest grape-growing and wine-making regions in the entire country. 90 percent of the wine produced in the United States came from these two states at that time. 

However, as the state was home to Carrie Nation [1], a known advocate for the Temperance Movement [2], they were one of the first to implement state-wide Prohibition. It also took them a long time to bounce back from it — almost 100 years. 

Click here to find out the 3 Popular Kansas Wine Trails

 

Reviving Kansas Wine & Culture

There has been plenty of movement to revive Kansas wine and culture in recent years. 

The Kansas Grape Growers and Winemakers Association (KGGWA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to growing and developing the cultivation of different grape wine varieties alongside wine-making within the state. Founded in 1987, this was a coalition of local grape growers and winemakers to bring back the state’s glory days in the wine industry. 

This organization is also in charge of researching ways to improve wine-making methods, finding the best grape varieties for the states, and conducting and developing educational programs on the promotion, production, and quality of the local grapes and wines. They also conduct frequent studies and research on grapes and wine.