It’s grape harvest time in Kansas, and the state’s growing wine industry is expecting a big crop this year.
The Kansas Grape Growers & Winemakers Association says the state has 35 registered wineries and vineyards. Most are small, with two to five acres of grapes, rather than large-scale farms. Nearly all of them are in eastern Kansas.
The Wichita Eagle reports the state’s climate doesn’t allow wineries to grow well known grapes such as Cabernet or Merlot. Instead, they grow hybrids that include part of the heartier native American grapes.
Winemakers produced 107,000 gallons of wine worth $6.9 million in 2010, the last official count. Wine experts say this year’s production is likely to be much higher, thanks to a strong harvest of grapes.