Bob DesRuisseaux and his wife, Julie, love being able to grow grapes in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Together, they own and operate Prairie Fire Winery, located right off I-70 in Paxico. When they started farming in 2005, the couple knew planning ahead was the first step to becoming successful in the wine business.
“With the wine industry, you always have to think a couple of years out,” Bob says. “You have to have time to grow the grapes, create the product and then market it.”
They created their first vintage in 2011 and have grown to 17 different variations of wine including the popular Storm Chaser, described as being “reminiscent of the unpredictable weather in our area of the world.”
Prairie Fire Winery features other fun names for its wine blends, including Bare Mare, Cowabunga Blush, Prairie Punch and Purple Grin. The DesRuisseauxs love Kansas and the Flint Hills, and feel fortunate to have their operation here.
“Kansas is great for growing grapes,” Bob says. “In the Flint Hills especially, the soil is outstanding and we get rainfall in the growing season. It just makes sense to have the vineyard here.”
Most of Prairie Fire Winery’s business is from their Paxico location and The Local Depot, a store in Topeka that features Kansas-made products.
“While we have some liquor stores who sell our products in Manhattan, Topeka and Junction City, our main clientele comes to us through the vineyard or our Topeka store,” Bob says. “We set up The Local Depot as a tasting room for our
wine and it’s grown to include jams, jellies, coffee and tea blends, pickles and much more.”
Bob says even his customers in Topeka aren’t really aware of his winery in Paxico, but he encourages them to make the short drive to see the beautiful views of the Flint Hills while sipping on a glass of wine.
“We’re just a 15-minute drive from Topeka,” Bob says, “But when you reach the Flint Hills, you’re in a whole different world.”
Call: (785) 636-5533