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Meet the vendor: Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery

Meet the vendor: Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery
Posted on 06/21/2018
Michelle Meyer and Kathy Bryant of Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery(Photo: Michelle Meyer and Kathy Bryant of Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery)

Did you know that the oldest operating winery in Kansas sells its award-winning wines at the Lenexa Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays?

Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery, located in Basehor, Kansas, is a family business founded by father and daughter Les and Michelle Meyer. They started out with the goal of growing grapes to make wine for themselves, planting the first 400 vines in 1986. Before long, the grape yield was more than they could consume, and the vineyard began to evolve.

By 1994, they had established Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery and opened their doors to the public. (The Holy-Field name comes from the days when the vineyard’s 158th Street address was called Holyfield Road.) Today, the Meyers carefully tend 17 acres of grapes, harvesting them by hand to produce roughly 7,000 gallons of wine per year.

We asked Michelle Meyer a few questions:

What surprises people to know about winemaking?
A lot of people do not associate the Midwest with being a wine region, and they think grapes can’t be grown in Kansas. In reality, the Meyers are growing hardy French hybrids that can withstand the cold winter weather. 

“People don’t understand that grapes are perennials,” says Michelle. Once you plant a vineyard, it’s going to be around for a while if you take care of it.” 

Making wine is very different from making a beverage like Coca-Cola, which depends on delivering identical flavor in every can. “Wine is not about sameness,” says Michelle.

Whatever is in the bottle represents that unique growing season. You can’t follow a recipe and replicate it the next year. Instead, what vintners aim for is a stylistic similarity from year to year. The Holy-Field staff is constantly checking the sugar solids and pH level to make sure they end up with wines that are in balance.

What’s the most rewarding part of the wine business?
Michelle says that harvest season is always rewarding. At Holy-Field, it takes six to eight weeks to pick the grapes, depending on when they ripen. This generally happens from late August through early October. 

Michelle enjoys watching people experience Holy-Field’s community grape-picking events, where they can touch the grapes and eat right off the vine. It’s become an annual tradition for many volunteers.

All the grapes are handpicked, crushed, pressed and put in the tank in the same day, which is no small feat. 

Holy-Field wines have also been distinguished with numerous domestic and international winemaking awards and medals. It’s gratifying to be recognized for such high quality.

What’s your favorite grape right now?
“Whatever’s opened,” says Michelle with a smile.

What would you do with your free time?
Michelle loves to travel, and she is always on the hunt for local wines. During a trip to Belize in February, she encountered a man who scavenges fruit to make pineapple wine.

Can people visit the vineyard?
Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery is open to the public seven days a week year-round. There’s a beautiful view of the vineyard from the wine deck. Visitors who return to the vineyard throughout the season say they like to see how the grapes change from week to week.

The winery also hosts a variety of events, including Murder-Mystery Dinner Theatre shows, a summer music series and Oktoberfest. 

Where can people get this wine?
The majority of Holy-Field’s wines are sold from their tasting room on-site. We are excited that they also take the time to be at the Lenexa Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays to bring their fine wines straight to us. Be sure to stop by the Holy-Field vendor booth and say hello to Michelle Meyer and Kathy Bryant!

In addition to selling wine, they offer a variety of products, including:
  • Lieutenant Blender’s Wine Freezers, which make portable, re-sealable slushies that are especially refreshing on a hot summer day.
  • Portable acrylic wine glass tumblers.
  • Stainless steel BevHats to keep insects out of your wine glass.
  • Oenophilia wine glass bottle stoppers.

 


Published June 21, 2018