By Jenny Vergara

In Kansas City, we enjoy a rich grape growing and winemaking history. In fact, by the 1870’s, Missouri and Kansas together constituted the second-largest grape growing and winemaking region in the U.S.

Although Prohibition almost completely wiped out wine production in the Midwest in the early part of the 19th century, within the last five years both Missouri and Kansas have returned their pre-prohibition winery numbers, which means today we have far more than 100 local wineries open and producing wines on both sides of the state line. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Ready to swirl, smell and sip some of our local terroir? Here are some local wineries on both sides of the state line to help get you started. 

Pirtle Winery

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Scott and Ross Pirtle are the co-owners of this unique family winery located in the heart of historic Weston, Mo. This winery opened in 1978 and is known for making award-winning wines from Missouri grapes and other local fruits. Unique to them is that they also make mead, which has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Mead is basically honey wine and is the oldest alcoholic drink known to man, simply made from water, yeast and honey. The Pirtle Winery is located in a charming former Lutheran Evangelical Church that was built by German immigrants in 1867—and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Make this a pit stop on your next trip to Weston.

Stonehaus Farms Vineyard & Winery

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Owner/winemaker Brett Euritt started this winery in 1996 on a farm in Lee’s Summit. This family-owned and -operated business has always had an interest in viticulture and the art of winemaking, and it shows in their large selection of award-winning estate wines that they produce from grapes they grow on property. Take in the glorious vineyards, then head into the tasting room to sample. Vineyard weddings continue to be popular and Stonehaus Farms delivers with two different facilities to cater to wedding parties of all sizes.

Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery

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In 1998, Dennis and Cindy Reynolds—the married couple who own Somerset Ridge—planted local grapes on their farmland, and today they now grow more than 13 different varietals. With award-winning wines ranging from dry to semi-sweet to dessert wines, they have something to suit every palate.

A picture-book-perfect red barn serves as the tasting room so guests can take a walk the vineyards and then taste and buy their wines inside. There is always live music, art shows and a host of other activities planned when the weather is nice, as well as plenty of outdoor seating to sit and enjoy a bottle of wine among the vines. You’ll want to make an afternoon of it. Pressed for time? You can also visit their satellite tasting bar located inside The Tasteful Olive in downtown Overland Park.

Amigoni Urban Winery

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Michael and Kerry Amigoni began in their backyard by planting European grape varietals grafted onto Missouri rootstock before purchasing 10 acres in Centerview, Mo., to grow their own vinifera grapes in 2000. This means they make award-winning wines with grapes you have heard of, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Viognier to name a few.

Their tasting room is not located at the vineyard, which is why they call themselves an urban winery, but they do all wine production onsite, which you can see if you book a tour and tasting on their website. The winery can be found in the Stockyard District of the West Bottoms, on the first floor of the beautifully restored Drover’s Daily Telegram building. Stop in for a wine tasting and a local cheese plate, or to rent the tasting room or barrel room for corporate or private events. 

Fence Stile Vineyard & Winery

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William and Shriti Plimpton traveled the world drinking wines and touring vineyards before they bought a 60-acre property in Excelsior Springs in 2006 to open their own winery. Once you locate the property, you’ll wind your way up the gravel road, through the rolling hills and gentle inclines surrounded by grape vines and end at their picturesque tasting room.

The establishment features a vibrant calendar of events, including special tastings, outdoor movie nights, Fire Pit Fridays on the outdoor patio and a full kitchen serving appetizers you can order to share—or feel free to bring your own picnic to enjoy with your favorite bottle of Fence Stile wine. Be sure to tour their finished wine cave—kept at a steady 57 degrees—to see where the wine rests in wood barrels before bottling. 

Rowe Ridge Vineyard & Winery

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Rowe Ridge Vineyard and Winery is family owned and operated by Marc and Pamela Rowe and was the first vineyard in Wyandotte County. Located just north of the Kansas Speedway and the Legends Outlets, they started planting grapes in 2005 and bottling wine in 2007. The vineyard grows eight varieties of grapes, which they use to make white, red and fruit wines with that you can sample and purchase at their modest tasting room.

The tasting room—located just off the back side of the Rowe’s private residence and surrounded by grapevines—features their entire selection of wine, from Chardonel to Chambourcin, each estate-grown and handcrafted. 

Albonée Country Inn & Vineyards

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Bonnie and Al Renner own this romantic bed and breakfast and country winery that overlook the Little Blue Valley. Located only seven miles from the historic center of Independence, the Albonée Country Inn & Vineyard is nestled in a beautiful hillside surrounded by the vineyard and overlooking the water. Stop in to sample their fine selection of wines made from traditional Missouri grapes while enjoying the property's pastoral setting.

If you are looking for a weekend getaway, make plans to stay at the Albonée Country Inn Bed and Breakfast and you’ll enjoy the Renner’s wine, warmth and hospitality during your extended stay. 

Vox Vineyard

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Image via Facebook.com/voxvineyards

Twenty minutes northwest of Downtown Kansas City, through the romantic rolling hills and fertile soil of the Missouri River Valley, you’ll find the brand-new tasting room and production facility for Terra Vox, a Missouri winery from Vox Vineyards. Owner and winemaker Jerry Eisterhold makes 16 different Missouri wines from more than 40 different American Heritage grape varietals that are grown onsite. He finished his stunning tasting room in February 2015, where you can now sample and purchase Vox Vineyard wines, by appointment only.

KC Wine Co.

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The unique Barrel Room at KC Wine Co. in Olathe is the first thing you will notice about this new winery that opened in July 2015. It’s an eye-catching space, a refurbished Quonset hut that can host 100 people and literally looks like a wooden wine barrel inside and out. Kirk and Julie Berggren decided to turn land set aside for a pumpkin patch into a winery after discussing it with their daughter, Taylor, who offered to operate the day-to-day business. Their winemaker, Austin Wahaus, produces eight wines made from local grape varietals, as well as a traditional and spiced cider.

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