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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.

October 28, 2015

Kansas Chambourcin Pomace Pickled Cubanel Peppers (Pepperoni Cubanel Sotto Vinaccia)

After we press out our red wines each fall, we are left with quite a bit of grape skins, or seeds, also referred to as pomace. These normally make there way immediately to the compost pile to be returned to our soil. At the end of harvest last year, we discover a post a friend of ours had posted of a family recipe he believed might not be well known outside of the tiny village where parents grew up. Their village is close to Calcinelli in the province of Pesaro (Province of Pesaro & Urbino) in the Marche region of Italy. The recipe calls for the use of Cubanel peppers and left over grape pomace, either white or red.

After searching the web during the fall of 2014, we couldn’t find a recipe that matched this in any way. Neither could we find any Cubanel peppers available for purchase. Given that, we set out on a plan to prepare these for 2015. We are very fortunate to have many friends that grow many things, and Jeff became very interested in this project and agreed to grow the Cubanel peppers. We surmized that since they are best green, and turn red when fully ripe, that they would need to be planted late in order to meet our needs. He reported that this worked well as he planted them right after he harvested his onions, in the same bed.

We begin with the perfectly grown Cubanel peppers:

Kansas Cubanel Peppers
Kansas Cubanel Peppers

Then, over a thick base of pomace, we begin to add peppers, paying attention that none of the peppers touch each other:


Gently cover the peppers ensuring they do not move together:


A little more:


Prepare another level and repeat:


We then weighed the peppers down with a cover and some bricks. The original recipe calls for a piece of plywood, but we found that a cover from a 20 gallon food safe container fit well inside these 44 gallon ones. Once we covered them, we added water to cover the pomace. Daniel says they take about a month to be ready and he enjoys them most with olive oil and a little salt on a baguette. (He had us at baguette!)

We did load a few that were a little more ripe on the top layers to see how they would progress, and perhaps that will give us an excuse to dig into them a little early. Hopefully we might just have to have a tasting of these shortly before Thanksgiving. Check back to future updates! We hope that this becomes another of our harvest traditions for years to come.


Special thanks to:

-Jeff Ogle for planting, tend, and growing these awesome Cubanel peppers. It took a year of planning to do this, and we’ll find out shortly how they will come out.

-Daniel Pambianchi for sharing this recipe. When we told him we were making this, and that Jeff had grown these peppers specifically for this, he seemed pretty pleased. As with wine, and most family recipes, the most joy seems to come from sharing with others. Daniel’s original post can be found here: http://www.techniquesinhomewinemaking.com/blog/pepperoni-sotto-vinaccia-grape-pomace-pickled-peppers/

September 29, 2015

Topeka Capital Journal visits The Local Depot

Business Watch: Winery opens Topeka tasting room, local food store

Posted: September 26, 2015 – 2:25pm

By Megan Hart


Prairie Fire Winery has opened a store selling their vintages and other Kansas products in Topeka.

The Local Depot, in Brookwood shopping center, sells 17 Prairie Fire wines, with most available to taste. Much of the space, however, is devoted to nonalcoholic products from other Kansas companies, with options including Topeka-made Cashmere Popcorn, cheese, sausage, salsa, “artisanal” ketchups, jellies, seasoning and dip mixes, lavender lotions, barbecue sauce, coffee and tea blends, pickles and mixes for muffins and breads, including some with Wizard of Oz-themed names like Lost in the Poppy Fields muffin mix and Blue Gingham Dress blueberry pancake mix.

Owner Bob DesRuisseaux said he anticipates the store eventually will outgrow its current location. It takes time to create retail partnerships with small producers, he said, but everyone benefits when they can because the producer has a way to reach more customers, the customers get local products they want and the Local Depot can offer people a one-stop location for their wine and party food needs.

“We can bring it all together,” he said. “Here in Kansas, we literally grow and make everything that can go on a plate or in a glass.”

DesRuisseaux said many of the customers at their main winery in Paxico come from Topeka, but he doesn’t anticipate a second location will cut into business there. People typically go to the main location if they want to have a relaxing trip, he said, while they will stop at the Topeka one to pick up something to have with dinner.

“Our customers have really pulled us into this market,” he said.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit TheLocalDepot.com or call (785) 246-6500.