The History of Midwest Winemaking

While many have pre-conceived notions about Midwest winemaking, the history and growth viability of wine in our area is far better than naysayers may realize. Much of Kansas soil is limestone-laced, with a composition similar to that of a French hillside. Combined with a long, sunny growing season, this allows Aubrey to grow similar crops. With all of this in mind, why does winemaking in the Midwest remain a smaller and somewhat niche practice?

The answer, like it often is, resides within history. Before wheat, grapes were actually the most commonly grown crop in Kansas! Around the 1870s, Missouri and Kansas were one of the largest grape growing regions in the United States. The winemaking industry continued to grow in the area until Kansas became the first state to pass a prohibition law in 1881. Winemaking continued in a diminished (and less legal) capacity up until national prohibition was passed in 1920. This almost entirely destroyed the Midwest wine industry for many years. Even upon the repeal of prohibition, the fertile lands laid mostly dormant until the Kansas Farm Winery Statute was passed in 1985.

Today, the Midwest wine scene is slowly but surely returning to its once-great roots. Aubrey Vineyards is now one of over 20 licensed wineries in Kansas, and we work hard to keep the spirit of our grape-growing ancestors alive by bringing a premium, organic tasting experience to the Kansas City area. Stop in today to try it yourself, order bottles online, or find us at over 50 partnered liquor stores in the KC area.

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