We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

October 21, 2009


Last week I received a Kansas wine via FedEx and upon opening, my first thought was “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”.  The dreaded words for any locavore, “American Dry Red Wine” were displayed on the front label.  In most cases where wines carry an appellation of “American”, the grapes were grown out of state.  The grapes or finished juice are shipped in and packaged under the wineries label.

A friend of the family kindly purchased and shipped us the Merlot from Smoky Hill Vineyards & Winery, located in Salina, Kansas.  Smoky Hill is the largest grape-producing winery in Kansas, with 20 plus acres under vine.  Estate wines include Seyval Blanc, Chardonnel, Chambourcin, and Norton to only name a few.  Obviously they grow several varieties, so I’m to blame for the mishap.  I simply said “any” wine will do and should have done my homework.

As for the wine, I was not a fan.  Almost port-like on the nose, the Merlot was syrupy and unbalanced on the palate and was mediocre at best.  In fact, if I had tasted blind, I would have guessed Robitussin cough and cold medicine!

I look forward to revisiting Kansas wines in the near future, but next time, I’ll do my homework.  Cheers!

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About Brian Kirby

A locavore who is passionate about local wine and the growing wine industry in the other 46 states.

View all posts by Brian Kirby


  1. Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery | The Other 46 - June 14, 2011

    [...] my prior review of the Smoky Hills Merlot, a wine produced from grapes grown outside of the state (We’re Not in Kansas Anymore). It’s no secret that I’m not a proponent of this practice and would prefer wineries [...]

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