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August 15, 2016

Vignoles Harvest! – Volunteer Picking Party!

 

Our Vignoles is netted and ready for harvest!
Our Vignoles are netted and ready for harvest!

Vignoles Harvest is here!

Come experience the best day to be in a vineyard… Harvest!

Become a part of the making of Authentic Kansas Grown wine. We will be harvesting this Saturday, August 20th, beginning at 8:15 AM.  Following will be a harvest lunch and sangria made by our own Chef Julie. Many hands make light work, and we try to keep the picking to less than two hours.-You must sign up in advance. Get your free ticket here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vignoles-harvest-volunteer-picking-party-tickets-27129798959

– The current weather forecast is amazing, but please dress appropriately. Our vines are planted in amazing soil. Plan to get dirty!

-If anyone wants to come early at 7 AM and help lift the nets, please email: bob@prairiefirewinery.com

– If you have a pair of pruners you prefer to use, please feel free to bring them. We will sanitize them for you prior to use to prevent disease transmission.

– Sunscreen, hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc. are always a good idea. (You might also bring a change of shoes and clothes in case the ground and vines are wet so you will be more comfortable during lunch.)

– You be will first to sample our recently bottled 2015 Estate Vignoles and have the first option to purchase prior to its future release. (Just don’t tell Julie, you know she can be possessive of her Vignoles… Shhhh!)

August 8, 2016

How Do You Know When to Harvest Kansas Wine?

Our Kansas grown grapes that make Authentic Kansas Wine love our soils and slopes here in The Flint Hills!

 

Harvest… Is… Coming!…

 

Wine is grown, not made. We’re proud of the hard work we put into our vineyard everyday. Each grape varietal ripens at a different time, so the logical question would be: How do you know when they are ripe? Below, we’ll outline our sampling and testing process to determine ripeness.

 

Thank you for buying Kansas Grown!

First, we start out old school. We begin by tasting the grapes. If the flavor we want isn't in the grape yet, it won't be in the wine. We also look at the ripeness of the seeds. Initially they are green. As they ripen they turn brown. The ultimate test is by chewing the seed. A crunchy, toasty seed is a ripe seed. (Side note: Note that the pulp or flesh of the grape is clear. This is the same on red or white grapes. For reds, we must work to extract the color from the skins during fermentation.)
First, we start out old school. We begin by tasting the grapes. If the flavor we want isn’t in the grape yet, it won’t be in the wine. We also look at the ripeness of the seeds. Initially they are green. As they ripen they turn brown. The ultimate test is by chewing the seed. A crunchy, toasty seed is a ripe seed. (Side note: Note that the pulp or flesh of the grape is clear. This is the same on red or white grapes. For reds, we must work to extract the color from the skins during fermentation.)
First, we need a random sampling of the grapes. Different areas of the vineyard ripen at different rates, so it is important that we collect samples distributed across the vineyard.
Next, we need a random sampling of the grapes. Different areas of the vineyard ripen at different rates, so it is important that we collect samples distributed across the vineyard.

 

After the sample are collected, we return to the winery. We used the instrument laying on the grapes to measure the Brix level of the grapes. The Brix level is the % of soluble solids (sugar mostly) in the grapes. It does soby measuring the difference in the refraction of the grape juice versus plain water.
After the samples are collected, we return to the winery and get a little more scientific. We use the instrument laying on the grapes (a refractometer) to measure the Brix level of the grapes. The Brix level is the % of soluble solids (sugar mostly) in the grapes. It does so by measuring the difference in the refraction of the grape juice versus plain water.

 

In order to obtain a consistent sample, we crush the sample into one uniform batch. A one gallon Ziploc bag works great for this. (Feel free to use your feet after getting as much air out as possible!)
In order to obtain a consistent sample, we crush the sample into one uniform test batch. A 2.5 gallon Ziploc bag works great for this. (Feel free to use your feet after getting as much air out as possible!)
Everyday our pH meter must be calibrated before use.
Our pH meter must be calibrated everyday before use.
After putting fresh grape juice on the lense, this it what you see when you look into the end of the refractometer into the light.
After putting fresh grape juice on the lens, this it what you see when you look into the end of the refractometer into the light. As this photo was taken with a cell phone, it’s a little hard to see, but the bottom of the blue is the Brix level, the % of soluble solids, or sugar in the must. (This is showing approximately 24.3%, or 24.3 degrees Brix.)
This is the pH for the Marquette we are testing. Combined with the Brix level, these grapes are ready to harvest!
This is the pH for the Marquette we are testing. Combined with the Brix level, these grapes are ready to harvest!

Harvest is a magical time in the vineyard.

As always, we invite you out daily to see Authentic Kansas Wine being grown here in The Flint Hills.

Cheers!

June 20, 2016

PRAIRIE FIRE WINERY RECEIVES 5 MEDALS FROM THE 2016 AMENTI DEL VINO INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

PRAIRIE FIRE WINERY RECEIVES 5 MEDALS FROM THE 2016 AMENTI DEL VINO INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 For more information contact:
June 20, 2016                                                                        Prairie Fire Winery, 785-636-5533

 

PRAIRIE FIRE WINERY RECEIVES 5 MEDALS FROM THE 2016 AMENTI DEL VINO INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

 

Prairie Fire Winery received a Gold medal, a Silver medal, and 3 Bronze medals in the 23rd Annual Amenti del Vino International Wine Competition held in Mystic, CT.

 

The competition was held May 28th and included wines from across the nation and as far away as Italy. American Wine Society Certified wine judges from throughout the United States awarded a Gold medal to Prairie Fire Winery’s 2014 Frontenac, a Silver medal to its 2013 Vidal Blanc Doux Sparkling Wine, and Bronze medals to the 2013 Chambourcin, 2014 Storm Chaser Red, and 2013 Vidal Blanc Brut Sparkling Wine.

 

“We were honored to have been invited to enter, and even more honored for our Kansas wines to receive the recognition we did,” said Winemaker Bob DesRuisseaux. “The terroir and slope of The Flint Hills is exceptional for wine grapes. We are honored to introduce our customers daily to our Kansas grown and made wines. In each glass you can truly Taste The Flint Hills.”

 

A “growing legend”, Prairie Fire Winery continues to expand its Flint Hills vineyard each year, and assist in the startup of several other area vineyards annually.

 

“Grape growing and winemaking aren’t new in Kansas,” said DesRuisseaux. “Grapes are native to the area, and immigrants were planting about 250 acres of grapes every year throughout the 1800’s. They say what is old is new again, and this is simply a return to our area’s roots. We’re delighted to introduce travelers from all over to what Kansas has to offer.”

 

About Prairie Fire Winery
Prairie Fire Winery grows 13 varieties of grapes and produces award-winning Kansas wines at its vineyard in the beautiful Flint Hills of Wabaunsee County. We also produce the first and only Methode Champenoise (Traditional Method) sparkling wine in Kansas history. Offering over 25 wines from dry to sweet, we have something for everyone. Learn more at: www.prairiefirewinery.com

April 19, 2016

Growing New Kansas Vineyards One Vine at a Time! (Part II)

Kansas vine cuttings from Prairie Fire Winery's Vineyard. Approximately 5 weeks old.
Kansas vine cuttings from Prairie Fire Winery’s Vineyard. Approximately 5 weeks old.

They are alive!

This is an overview of approximately 432 cuttings. At present, we are experiencing a higher than estimated success rate. Here’s hoping that it continues!

They know their job…

As with all of the grapes we plant, they love our soil so much they immediately want to put grapes on. Most won’t set having a young root system. We will remove the rest to ensure the health of the young vines.

Close up of Kansas Vine Cuttings taken approximately February 28th from Prairie Fire Wineries Vineyard.
Close up of Kansas Vine Cuttings taken approximately February 28th from Prairie Fire Wineries Vineyard.
Kansas Vine Cuttings at Prairie Fire Winery, Vineyard, & Nursery
Kansas Vine Cuttings at Prairie Fire Winery, Vineyard, & Nursery

More healthy vines.

Another close up of the cuttings. So far they are healthy and happy.

Keep watching for more progress!

April 17, 2016

Here We Grow Again! How? By Planting Quickly!

April 16, 2016

Killdeer on Bacchus Ranch.

Killdeer are one of our favorite spring birds. If you have been close to one, you know they are truly brave and spunky little birds. Of interest is that they are precocial. Their young is born fluffy and running, so you will never find babies in the nest. A true challenge for any momma bird!

Killdeer on nest on Bacchus Ranch
Killdeer on nest on Bacchus Ranch
Killdeer eggs in nest at Prairie Fire Winery
Killdeer eggs in nest at Prairie Fire Winery

 

March 29, 2016

Growing New Kansas Vineyards One Vine at a Time! (Part I)

We grow Kansas vines. Now we also grow Kansas Vineyards!

We’ve begun propagating our strongest Kansas vines to expand the number and acres of Kansas vineyards. Vineyards normally order in vines from out of state. Wouldn’t it make sense to  propagate our strongest and best producing vines that have proven themselves in this weather and our soils? We thought so! We’re doing just that. This post is the first of several outlining our process.  Stay tuned to learn more!

Prairie Fire Winery Chambourcin Cuttings

Chambourcin Cuttings

It all begins with pruning our vineyard. These are Chambourcin cuttings obtained from our normal winter pruning. We tie them into quantities of 36, which matches the propagation trays we use.

Plant Bands

These are the biodegradable plant bands we use to root the cutting. They are 2″ x 2″. The cuttings are planted in the ground in the band with the holes allowing for easy root migration.

Plant Bands for Cuttings
The awesome Prairie Fire tray and plant band assembly team!

Tray and Plant Band Assembly

The trays and plant bands are shipped separately and unassembled. It takes a great team to put them all together!

Finished Tray

Pictured is a completely assembled tray containing 36 plant bands ready to be filled with our soil mix.

Trays full of plant bands.
Our soil mixture

Soil Mixture

We use the bed of our John Deere Gator to mix our soil. The height of the bed makes a good working height for filling the trays. Our mix is a combination of soil, compost, and peat moss. Our focusing is a combination of water retention, good drainage, and nutrients while creating an easy root growth medium.

Full Trays

A full tray is ready to be filed with cuttings.

Tray and plant bands ready for cuttings.
Cuttings soaking in water.

Soaking Cuttings

Prior to planting the cuttings, they are soaked in water until they sink. 12 hours prior to planting, a mild fungicide is added to the water to ensure the exterior bark is free of any fungus.

Rooting Hormone

In order to preserve the original container, we pour a little rooting hormone into a clean container. The base end (basal end)  of the cutting must be the lower end. The polarity of the vine is very important to growing the cutting.

Applying rooting hormone to cutting
Cutting ready to be placed in plant band

Final Inspection

Before setting the cutting a final inspection of the cutting is made ot be certain the distal end is upwards and the basal end is downward. (Inspecting the upward angle of the bud notch is key.)

Ready to go!

The cutting is planted and ready to go. As you can see there is an indentation around the cutting. We “dust” the tray with our soil mix to level them all off after all of the bands are filled with cuttings.

Tray with first plant band filled.
Full tray with tag.

Full Tray

After the trays were filled and dusted off, we attach a waterproof Tyvek tag. Since these will be watered frequently, a non waterproof tab will not survive very long!

Chambourcin

This is what our initial planting of 1,728 Chambourcin cuttings looks like. Now just waiting for bud swell.

Our initial 1,728 Chambourcin cuttings
6,773 cuttings. Not a bad first experiment!

Full House

What started as a small experiment quickly grew to 6,773 cuttings of 8 different cultivars. The buds are beginning to swell, and bud break is occurring on several cultivars as of this writing. Stay tuned for more details to come!

March 28, 2016

Haulin’ Pollen at Prairie Fire Winery!

March 28, 2016

Bee Hive Inspection at Prairie Fire Winery

March 28, 2016

Sunrise Pruning Kansas Wine!