“Wylde” wines of Kansas

DSCN0024The sky’s the limit…

Welcome back to the long and winding road. I’m deep in the American SW right now, and I have to say that I’m a bit parched. After being in cool and damp environments throughout the summer, the heat is most definitely kicking my you-know-what. It’s sort of like putting a frozen piece of meat in the oven — it might take a while to thaw out, but eventually, it’s gonna sizzle.

More on that later, though. For now let’s get back to the heartland. Driving through Kansas can be a monster to drive through, full of… nothing. But the weather was fine, the roads clear, and I decided to turn over another one of those pesky rocks. Kansas wine? Why not. I pulled into the parking lot of Wyldewood Cellars winery with an open mind and just pretended the surrounding corn fields were actually vineyards glistening with fully ripened grapes.

DSCN0146All alone in the heartland.

Wyldewood cellars specializes in (drumroll)…. Elderberry wine! Now before you laugh yourself to death, you should know that elderberries have a long and proud history of both medicinal and culinary uses. Got the flu? Have an Elderberry, you’ll feel better. Aches, pains, fever, they all get whooped by these little shrub berries. And the flowers are used as well. In fact the first wine I tried was a light, dry white made from fermented elderflowers and lemon. Sounds weird, huh? It was great! Simple, yet clean and fresh, and who can argue with lemon?

My most patient and excellent host, Megan, educated me on the x’s and o’s of elderberries and even attended to the boo-boo on my pinky (awwww). She explained to me how Kansas and Missouri were once prolific wine producers prior to prohibition. And when I was saying goodbye, she told me that she wanted my job, to which I sheepishly replied “…Ummm, I really don’t have one.”

*    *    *


I’m glad, inspired even, to see families producing wine (they do make a full line-up of vinifera wines as well) in places that you wouldn’t expect to see viticulture. Good for them, and really, good for us. The world of wine, no matter how complex and varied it actually is, can get very predictable and homogenous. It’s a big, big country we live in, with lots of land and people to cater to new and fun wines.

Here’s to thinking — and sipping — outside of the box. And the grape. May our travels and taste buds never get too comfortable.

With good cheer,



~ by Jared on September 28, 2009.

2 Responses to ““Wylde” wines of Kansas”

  1. Jared,
    What a fantastic trip (including Kansas). Let us know when you arrive back – – I have some great wine to welcome you home (as I’m sure others do). We ought to have a big party when you arrive!!!
    David Leatherwood

  2. Hi David,
    Yes it has been fantastic (at times) and I really enjoy the “unknown” places like Kansas. Thanks so much for the kind words and the greetings of wine! No parties for me though- I’m too shy 🙂


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