Rowe Ridge Vineyard & Winery Review
Address: 11255 Leavenworth Road Kansas City,Kansas 66109.
Phone Number: 913-721-9776
Tasting Hours: Thurs-Sun 12:00-5:00
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 11/8/2015
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Prohibition may have been repealed nationally in 1933, but the state of Kansas was a bit slow to catch on, and for years, the state legislature did everything within their power to impede the growth of the alcohol industry in any form, including wine. For that reason, the boutique winery movement got a late start in Kansas, with most of the states only thirty-some operations springing up within the last few decades. Such was the case with Marc and Pam Rowes venture into oenology, Rowe Ridge Vineyard and Winery, established in 2007. However, while they waited 74 years after the repeal of the noble experiment, they couldnt have chosen a worse year. In what is known by locals vintners as the Easter Massacre, three days of uncharacteristic temperatures well below freezing in late April not only killed the buds on the vines, but many of the vines themselves. Such was Marc and Pam Rowes introduction to winemaking.
If you visit Rowe Ridge Vineyard & Winery however, one of the many such small producers located within a stones throw of the Legends shopping center and Kansas Motor Speedway, you wont hear any complaints, nor get the sense that they had such a rocky start. Open by appointment most of the week, the tasting room is located just off the back side of the Rowes private residence, and upon pulling into the drive we were greeted by two friendly dogs and Pam walking the short walk between her home and her labor of love.
Surrounded by grapevines that were, by the time of our November visit, transforming into the beautiful, bright hues of autumn, the humble tasting room is clean and cozy if simple and somewhat utilitarian, complete with a small standing bar and enough café tables to seat a few dozen tasters if called upon to do so.
We found Pam extremely personable, and given that the majority of the time we spend in the tasting room there were no other visitors, she spent most of her time talking to us, answering questions and telling stories about her journey into the world of viticulture. Pam takes classes at the University of Missouri (go Tigers!) and admits that she is still honing the art of winemaking. While she poured us tastings, she mulled some fruit wine behind the counter, and the familiar, enticing smell of mulled wine reminded us in no uncertain terms that winter is coming.
We tried the spectrum of Pams wines, all nine that were available, and found the whites to be better crafted than the reds, at least in our opinion. In particular, the Seyval Blanc 2010 was a nice wine, dry, and one of Pams first since taking over from her husband she told us. We could taste in it a winemaker coming into her own and could see pairing it with fish or a nice aged cheese. In addition, the fruit wines Pam made, including the Apple Pear that she was mulling behind the bar and the Blackberry Bliss, an unfiltered fruit wine that reminded us of ruby dessert wines and which Pam recommended pairing with ice cream, were a pleasant change of pace. The variety of reds were a hodge-podge of vintages and varietals none of which we found especially enjoyable, but everyone has their own tastes, and well leave judgment up to you.
There are many reasons to find yourself in this part of Kansas, just outside of Kansas City to the West. Whether youre drawn to the city by a concert, shopping, a Royals game, or a visit to the National World War I Museum, youre bound to be in striking distance of this part of the city. For the lover of big, bold Cabernet, there isnt much in this part of the world thats made locally. That said, if you have a palate for the local fare Seyval Blanc, Chambourcin, Norton, and the like, a visit to Rowe Ridge Vineyard & Winery may be just the thing to complete your trip to Kansas City.