Summer Staycation: The wonderful world of Kansas wine country

Kansas

Wine tours are more popular than ever, and with more than 40 wineries and vineyards in Kansas, it’s a perfect staycation to save you time and money!    

KSN’s Stephanie Bergmann checked out several wineries in the glacial hills of northeast Kansas.

Crescent Moon Winery started its vineyard just outside Lawrence in 2009, offering a different taste.

“Well, we grow grapes that most people around here are not as familiar with because these are French hybrid and American hybrid grapes,” said owner, Cheryl Hand.

They produce a dozen wines that you can sample in the tasting room or sip by the lake behind the winery. Bottles run $15 – $17.

If you overindulge, you can even stay overnight at an Airbnb next door!

Just 25 minutes away in McLouth is Jefferson Hills Vineyard

Onwer Don Bryant proudly pours an extensive line of fruit-forward wines, like Strawberry Splash and Cherry.

A bottle of wine costs $16 – $20.

You can tour the vineyard and stay at the guest house upstairs, with dinner and breakfast included in the price.  

From there, our wine tour heads toward Lake Perry and the town of Ozawkie, where the Crooked Post Winery looks like a Tuscan villa.

“When we first broke ground, everyone thought this was just a really strange looking house,” said owner, Lori Henderson.

Once they started selling their wine in 2014, they had a loyal following.

Wine lovers, Linda Poppa and Patti Chartier, said, “We were their first customers. We were waiting at the door when they opened at noon on Memorial weekend.”

They often enjoy food and music on the patio and say the owners are just as inviting as their wines– 18 in all, from $12 – $20 a bottle.

“My grandfather told me, ‘Don’t waste your time. Grapes don’t survive here.’ So I had to prove him wrong.”

The next stop is Wakarusa. Glaciers Edge Winery was started by owner, Mike Steinert, on a dare.

“The man’s father challenged him and didn’t think he could do it,” said Scott Ramsey, the owner of Getaway Easy Travel who books wine tours in the area.     

Now, more than a hundred vines at Glaciers Edge have grown into 3,000. The winery also has a patio, tasting room and live music most weekends! 

20 varieties of wine sell for $16 – $20.

Persistence also paid off for the owners of Liquid Art in Manhattan.

It’s the vision of a seventh generation Kansas farmer and his wife, who wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“My grandfather told me, ‘Don’t waste your time. Grapes don’t survive here.’ So I had to prove him wrong,” said David Tegtmeier.

Did he ever!

The couple opened their dream winery and vineyard in 2016.

“They’ll have their hands just as dirty as we do!”

For the first time in August, customers can help with the harvest, stomping grapes and preparing watermelon for a seasonal wine.

“Take the watermelon, cut it out, scoop it out, just like we do in the winery,” said David’s wife, Danielle Tegtmeier. “They’ll have their hands just as dirty as we do!”

If you’d rather drink than work, they sell 13 wines from $15 – $25 a bottle. 

Most wineries are only open for tastings on the weekends so be sure to check their hours of operation before you go.

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