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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!


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!

March 8, 2016

The Volland Store – See, Stay, Play!

Have you been to The Volland Store? We like to point out new and unique places to visit on your way to, and/or from visiting us at the winery. One of those destinations is The Volland Store!.

The Volland Store
The Volland Store


The Volland Store began its storied life in 1913 as the Kratzer Brothers Mercantile. More recently, after sitting for nearly 30 years without a roof, Jerry and Patty Reece have breathed new life into the building to serve as “A Place for Art and Community”.  In addition to changing art exhibits the facility is available for events, weddings, or stay the night in the fully furnished loft apartment!


Our most recent visit was to view the exhibit “The Spirit of Place: Rooted in The Flint Hills” featuring the photos of Tom Parish, and the paintings of Jim Cook. At the time of this writing, a new exhibit has just opened titled: “Kansas Farmers, Ranchers, and You.”


The Gallery at The Volland Store
The Gallery at The Volland Store


Stay Here! - The Loft at The Volland Store
Stay Here! – The Loft at The Volland Store


How to get there: The Volland Store is located at: 24098 Volland Road, Alma, Kansas 66401

Hours of operation are:
Saturday 12 PM – 5 PM and Sunday 12 PM – 5 PM
Open at other times by appointment.  Contact Abby Amick at 620-271-2953



The Volland Store lies midway between Alma and Alta Vista, just a quarter-mile off Old K-10 Highway, on Volland Road.

The Google Maps link can be found here: The Volland Store


From I-70:

I-70 to the Alma/Wamego/K-99 off ramp (Exit 328)
South on K-99 into Alma
Turn left at flashing stoplight onto Missouri Street
Turn right on 3rd Street (at the museum)
3rd Street becomes Old K-10 Highway at the edge of town
Follow Old K-10 8 miles to Volland Road
Turn left; Store is ¼ mile farther, on your right


From Wichita:
I-35 to the Cassoday/K-177 exit (Exit 92)
North on K-177 through Council Grove to K-4
Turn right on K-4 and then left into Alta Vista
Go north through Alta Vista to Skyline/Mill Creek Scenic Drive
(Old K-10 Highway)
North of Alta Vista, stay right at the fork
Follow Old K-10 to Volland Road
Turn right; Store is ¼ mile farther, on your right


For more information and current happenings, visit their website at: http://thevollandstore.com/


Take a trip out in the beautiful Flint Hills, tell them we sent you, and stop by and see us afterward!


Keep your eyes out for our upcoming post about the Flint Hills arched stone cellars we toured here in Wabaunsee County.






March 1, 2016

The Kansas Wine Institute – Growing The Kansas Wine Industry One Vine at a Time!

Last year we officially started The Kansas Wine Institute. For many years it has been clear that we needed quality winemaking and grape growing education to grow our Kansas wine industry. In the last couple of years, we have averaged nearly 20 students a year. We also are currently the only group conducting Kansas specific grape and wine research.


We began our research program last year by conducting the first in the world trial of Lallemand’s LalVigne Aroma product on Vidal Blanc. Most analysis, tasting, and details to follow. We were also supposed to evaluate the Mature product, but our hail damage delayed that evaluation until 2016.


The Kansas Wine Institute and Prairie Fire Winery are currently working on the following:


-Kansas Grape Camp (Grape Education)

-Kansas Wine Camp (Wine Education)


2015 Research Initiatives:

Lallemand LalVigne Aroma

Lallemand LalVigne Mature (Postponed to 2016)


2016 Research Initiatives:

Driptape Comparison Trials

Trellis Trials on: Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin, and Vignoles

Vine Propagation Trials


Stop by and keep in touch to learn more!


The Kansas Wine Institute – Growing The Kansas Wine Industry One Vine at a Time!

Kansas Wine Institute at Prairie Fire Winery
Kansas Wine Institute at Prairie Fire Winery
February 29, 2016

The January JustKS! Farm and Ranch to Table Dinner was Sold Out!

We’re a little late getting around to writing about our January JustKS! Farm and Ranch to Table dinner. It was a sold out affair and we’re happy to report than everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. Our thanks to Chef Luis for working so diligently with us on the menu. We also would be remiss in not thanking the hard work of every Kansas farmer and rancher that produced every product we used. They were all awesome!


Planning and facilitating a menu like this takes quite a bit of coordination. When we go to a grocery store, we are often concerned more with convenience than with the origin of the goods. When you are coordinating a dinner like this, where nearly every ingredient is local, in January, it takes a lot of thought and planning. Essentially, you have to reverse your thought about what you are going to serve from having a certain recipe in mind and then seeking out the ingredients, to seeing what is available and then building a recipe from that.


All of us at Prairie Fire Winery & The Local Depot want to thank each attendee for trusting us that his would be spectacular. Without you, these events wouldn’t happen. We love hosting these events and we are already preparing for our next event. We hope to see you there!

JustKS! January Farm and Ranch to Table Dinner Menu
JustKS! January Farm and Ranch to Table Dinner Menu


JustKS! Incredible Group of Diners!
JustKS! Incredible Group of Diners!


Kansas Beef is Always The Best Choice!
Kansas Beef is Always The Best Choice!
February 15, 2016

Brix Talk – Vine Status & Winter Pruning Demos.

Brix Talk – Vine Status & Winter Pruning Demos.

Prairie Fire Vines
Prairie Fire Vines

This weekend 2/21 & 2/22:


Have you seen the weather forecast? Our winemaker & viticulturist will be hosting 4 walks in the vineyard this weekend.


How are the vines doing? How can I plant some? What has the weather done? What do you do at this time of year? Whatever the question, bring it along and we’ll be happy to answer them. You’ll also see what we will be doing this spring and just how much of the vines we prune prior to spring. Whether you are interested in planting some vines, curious about vineyards, or just want to see the 2016 vintage come to fruition, please join us on Saturday at 11am, 1pm, or 3pm. Sunday at 2pm.


There is no charge for this event, but we do ask you to register through Eventbrite (for free). You can find the event registration here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/brix-talk-vine-status-winter-pruning-demonstration-tickets-21648785099


As the only UC Davis trained winery owner in Kansas, and Founder of the Kansas Wine Institute, Bob will be hosting these types of educational walks and tastings throughout the year. Join us this weekend!

December 28, 2015

It’s a Major Award! (And not Frah-Jee-Lay…)

We are fortunate to have many opportunities to work with, and support many deserving local organizations and groups.  Our products and customers have grown to reach 6 continents. Nothing makes us happier than being able to support groups and causes close to home.

“Live Globally, Act Locally” remains one of our core beliefs.

We are truly honored to be have been recognized for our support of the Flint Hills Junior Shooters by Daisy Outdoor Products. Every boy (Especially Ralphie) wanted a Red Ryder BB gun. Being presented with a 75th Anniversary Edition Red Ryder that was engraved with our logo and names is truly an honor. Thank you!

Flint Hills Junior Shooters Presentation to Prairie Fire
Flint Hills Junior Shooters Presentation to Prairie Fire
Prairie Fire Winery
Prairie Fire Winery
Thank You From The Flint Hills Junior Shooters and Daisy Outdoor Products
Thank You From The Flint Hills Junior Shooters and Daisy Outdoor Products


December 10, 2015

Join us for the JustKS! Farm and Ranch to Table Dinner!

Join us for the JustKS! Farm and Ranch to Table Dinner!

As many of you know, The Local Depot & Prairie Fire Winery are dedicated to all things locally grown. You’ve probably heard Bob talk about (maybe too many times) how we literally grow everything that goes on a plate or in a glass here in Kansas. We’ve teamed up with Chef Luis Guillen to bring our local food sources and our award-winning Kansas wine together in one unforgetable meal.

Our dinner will be 5 Kansas courses paired with 5 Kansas wines. This will be an intimate dinner limited to 30 guests maximum. You will be amazed by everything we grow and have available here year round. Greens in January? Yup, we grow them year round.

The cost of the JustKS! dinner ticket includes all gratuities, sales taxes, alcohol taxes, Eventbrite fees, ticketing, and processing fees. (The ticket cost of $97.08 is comprised of about $70 for food and wine with the remainder covering all taxes and fees.)

Join us for a wonderful dinner carefully constructed using the finest locally grown and raised ingredients. We look forward to seeing you soon!  

Ticket information can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/justks-farm-and-ranch-to-table-dinner-by-the-local-depot-prairie-fire-winery-tickets-19922516784


Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

Attendees must be over the age of 21 in order to consume wine or any alcohol.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?

On street parking is available right outside the restaurant. The restaurant is located down one flight of stairs.

What can/can’t I bring to the event?

Bring your smiles, enthusiasm, camera, and your appetite!

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Contact Prairie Fire Winery at 785-636-5533, or info@prairiefirewinery.com

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

Yes, but please update us with the name of the guest to whom it was transferred.

Can I update my registration information?


Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Please do.

What is the refund policy?

All ticket sales are final, but they are transferable.

The name on the registration/ticket doesn’t match the attendee. Is that okay?

Please update us with any name changes or conflicts in advance to ensure a smooth experience for all of the guests.