Kansas college hopes to grow wine industry within state

Posted: Updated:

A community college in Kansas hopes to promote the winery industry in the state by providing space and resources for small wineries getting started in the business.

Highland Community College at Wamego opened a wine incubator called 456 Wineries last month. Director Scott Kohl said Highland received a federal grant in 2016 to start it.

Kohl said 456 Wineries is a part of the school’s viticulture or grape-growing program and enology or wine-making program.

Kohl notes the idea is that businesses move in, pay rent, work on their craft, and then move out to start their own winery.

The facility has a tasting room and space for six winemakers, The Manhattan Mercury reported. It also has a laboratory, where things like sugar and acid levels can be tested.

Each bay has three large tanks and two smaller ones, which Kohl said translates to about 500 cases of wine.

Highland staff are on hand to offer advice and help but businesses are independent from the incubator. Kohl said wineries must bring their own grapes and bottles, but they rent the space and equipment.

“They’re their own business,” Kohl said. “We advise and help as much as we can, but it’s their own business.”

Highland occupies one of the spaces, and Bodine Wine Co. occupies another.

Bob and Joe Bodine, owners of Bodine Wine Co., worked on a family farm in Osage County and were looking to diversify their crop. They became interested in wine making and took classes at Highland to learn more about it. Bob said having the resources is helpful as their business gets rolling.

“That’s pretty invaluable,” Bob said. “It takes away a lot of the risk and fear.”

Kohl said he hopes those new, small wineries working closely together will help them grow. He added that having more wineries in the state could also increase tourism.

“We’re looking to help the wine industry statewide,” Kohl said.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Man shot to death outside of motel

      A man is killed in a shooting outside a Wichita motel and police have arrested a suspect. Police were called around 11:45 p.m. Monday to the Countryside Inn after a man was shot inside of a vehicle. Captain Wendell Nicholson, with the Wichita Police Department, said a man in his 30's was found shot one time near a vehicle. He died at the scene. Nicholson said a review of surveillance cameras found a suspect approached the man in a vehicle, opened fire once and ran to another mote...

    • MISSING IN KANSAS: Landon Woodyard

      A south-central Kansas mom is asking for the community’s help with finding her son. There is concern for his health. 

    • Cameron Douglas, Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas attend the ceremony honoring Michael Douglas with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 06, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (CNN)

      Hollywood icon Kirk Douglas celebrates his 103rd birthday

      The family of acting legend Kirk Douglas paying their respects to the screen icon as he celebrates his 103rd birthday.

    • Fernando Martinez (GoFundMe)

      Family identifies 2-year-old boy struck, killed by vehicle near Bentley

      Family members have identified a 2-year-old boy who died after he was struck by a vehicle at a home in northern Sedgwick County.

    • MGN Online

      Sheriff: Speed a factor in crash that killed 3 in Butler County

      Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet said a northbound car was driving at a high rate of speed, crossed the center line and struck another car head-on.

    • Roberta Patterson (Barton Co. Sheriff's Office)

      67-year-old Great Bend woman arrested for "substantial" amount of meth in home

      A Barton County meth bust has led to the arrest of a 67-year-old woman.  The Barton County Sheriff's office says deputies conducted a search warrant at 5400 24th Street in Great Bend at around 3:30 p.m. on December 6th. Deputies entered the house without conflict and found a "substantial quantity of methamphetamine" along with other drug paraphernalia.  67-year-old Roberta Patterson was arrested and booked into the Barton County Jail on charges of posse...
    • AP photo

      Inmate stabbed multiple times at El Dorado prison

      Authorities say a cell house at the El Dorado Correctional Facility has been locked down after an inmate was stabbed. 

    • K.U. researcher charged with theft

       Authorities allege a University of Kansas researcher received illegal discounts and avoided paying sales taxes for nearly two years. 

    • KAKE NEWS INVESTIGATES: Surprise medical bills

      Surprise medical bills can stick patients with hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in costs, even if they are insured.

    • Walmart apologizes for Christmas sweater with apparent drug reference

      Walmart is saying sorry for making available a Christmas sweater with an apparent drug reference.