Kansas wine history

Kansas features 28 operational farm wineries with three in north-central region near Manhattan. That wasn’t always the case. Long before Prohibition (1880), Kansas imposed restrictions against alcohol consumption and sale. Finally, the liquor drought broke in 1948. Another 1½ generations passed before the Farm Winery Act of 1985 established guidelines for winemaking in Kansas. Thus, the stage was set for a Kansas-nurtured wine comeback.

Grape production was prevalent among immigrants from French and German regions, grown largely for personal consumption in Missouri and Kansas. By 1880, 226,000 gallons of wine production (“A History of Wine in America” by Thomas Pinney) made a bi-state cascade with wine flow. For the next 105 years, Kansas law put a cork in the flow.

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