J500 Media and the Environment


Château Local by jkongs
May 5, 2008, 9:50 pm
Filed under: Food + Health, Local Events + Action | Tags: , ,

Let’s play the word association game: I’ll type a word, and you say the first word that comes to your mind. Ready? OK.

Wine.

Did you say France? Maybe California? (Maybe delicious?). When you think of wines, Kansas is probably not the first place that pops into your head. The truth is, Kansas is home to around 15 wineries – producing more than 50, 000 gallons of wine a year. But with the infamous Loire valley of France and the renowned Andalucia region in Spain, why would you opt for a lesser known, harder to find Kansas variety?

Grapes on the Vine at Smoky Hill Vineyards & Winery

1. Wine Tastings

You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for a plane ticket to Europe or the West Coast to take a trip to participate in a wine tasting. That’s right, you can put on your velvet and fur, swirl, sniff, and sip glass after glass of wine just a short car ride from your home.

2. Support Local Business and Agriculture

The same way eating locally produced foods benefits the regional economy, buying wine from a local vineyard promotes economic growth. Plus, glass wine bottles aren’t exactly the lightest thing to be shipping around the globe. Buying local wine lessens the amount of carbon needed to bring that sweet blush from the vine to your glass.

3. Meet Your Merchant

True oenophiles should get to know their producers, and those of us who aren’t such big wine-heads should too. Wines vary from year to year, grape to grape, and field to field: only the producers know the specifics of what’s inside their bottles.

4. Break Your Habit

Many of the grapes that grow well in Kansas – surprise surprise – do not grow so well in the major, more popular wine regions of the world. Local producers generally grow sweeter grape varieties, and fruit blends (like the rhubarb wine at Davenport Winery) that are not readily commercially available in liquor stores.

5. Harvest Time

When it’s time to pick the grapes from their vines, local producers can use all the help they can get. A fun activity for a family, a cute date idea, a good way to snack on seriously fresh fruit – whatever your reason – getting out in early fall and participating in a grape harvest at a local vineyard is a one-of-a-kind experience.

A complete list of Kansas wineries, along with links to the vineyards own sites when available, can be found here and here.

Cheers!

–Jennifer Kongs

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