When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and when life gives you grapes, you make wine. That’s the conclusion the Berggren family drew when they bought a property with seven acres of grape vines.
The family purchased property at 13875 S. Gardner Road almost 18 months ago with a plan to re-locate the popular fall attraction, the KC Pumpkin Patch. The pumpkin patch was launched in 2003 on 191st Street near Interstate 35. However, their Berggren family’s lease on that property was too costly to renew once the intermodal opened.
In search of other locations for KC Pumpkin Patch, the Berggrens settled on land just north of Gardner.
They didn’t plan to skip a beat. The KC Pumpkin Patch on 191st Street closed in 2013, but things weren’t ready to open at the new location in 2014.
“We had to move everything from the Gardner property, and we just weren’t able to get (the new location) up to the standards we wanted it to be,” Taylor Berggren said. “We didn’t want it to have a thrown-together feel. This year, we will be open.”
The patch won’t open until Sept. 26. In the meantime, however, the Berggren family is opening a winery, KC Wine Co. The wine company is a separate company, owned by the same family and located on the same property as the Pumpkin Patch.
The grand opening is set for noon on June 20.
“The new property has seven acres of grapes on it,” Taylor said. “Instead of tearing them out, we decided hey, we’ll make wine.”
There was a small learning curve.
“We have only known pumpkins and grapes were a different thing,” Taylor explained.
Fortunately, Taylor, the daughter of Kirk and Julie Berggren, had a childhood friend well-versed in grapes and wine.
Austin Wayhaus, 26, is the youngest vintner in Kansas. When the Berggrens first purchased the property, Wayhaus showed them how to prune the grapes.
In order to make wine, however, the family needed an irrigation system. The property’s previous owners had purchased one that had yet to be set up. So that was the next step – getting water from the pond, which separates the patch and the winery, to the grapevines.
Once that was completed, the Berggrens decided to bring Wayhaus on board as the vintner.
With four different types of grapes – Norton, Chamborcin, Seyval and Brianna grapes – Wayhaus had several varieties to create the KC Wine Co. product line. On Saturday, wine enthusiast can try KC Wine Co.’s four white and four red wines.
The wines will be available for sale at KC Wine Co. year around. It will be open Thursdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m.
Wayhaus will be busy in the fall as well.
“Austin is in the midst of making some hard cider,” Taylor said. “We’re going to try to serve that over at the Pumpkin Patch.”
The patch itself will open Sept. 26 – Oct. 31 with weekend hours. On Saturdays, the patch will open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays, the patch will be open from noon to 6 p.m.
This Saturday, June 20, guests can sample the KC Wine Co. wines as well as enjoy a few activities like yard Jenga and Bocce ball.
“We’re going to pour for people and let them have a taste to find out what they like,” Taylor said.