Grape Stomp, Wine Tasting Highlight First Day of Fair

Kansas State Fair starts up Friday.

Fans of Kansas wine will have their time in the spotlight Friday at the Kansas State Fair, with the Fifth Annual Grape Stomp and the People's Choice Wine Judging.

The stomp begins at 3 p.m. at the Lake Talbott Stage where celebrity stompers try to squash juice from buckets of grapes. At 6:30 p.m., fair visitors get an opportunity to taste wines from more than a dozen Kansas wineries and vote on which ones they like best. The event will be in the Bluestem Building and will also feature a café and outdoor wine and beer garden.

This year's event also highlights the latest in efforts to make Kansas wines more accessible. The 2008 legislature made it legal to sell Kansas wine by the bottle at the State Fair. In 2007, the law was changed to allow wine to be sold by the glass at the Fair. Legislation in 2006 makes it easier for producers and consumers to buy, sell and ship Kansas wines.

The legal changes come as the wine industry, once booming in Kansas, makes a comeback of sorts.

There are currently 15 wineries in the state with more scheduled to open nest year. Kansas wineries make more than 50,000 gallons of wine annually and annual sales exceed $1 million.

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