Liquid Art Winery & Estate is the result of a dream constructed by David "Dave" & Danielle "Dani" Tegtmeier.
David was raised by a family of farmers in Northeast Kansas. At a young age, David decided to go against the grain and focus on a specialty crop: grapes. David planted his first vineyard in 2006 at his parent's home place; he enjoyed the challenge of growing grapes and thus his interest and passion in wine-making grew.
David and Danielle's paths crossed during their first semester at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas in Fall of 2007. Danielle graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Business Marketing in Spring 2011. David transferred to Fresno State University in California in 2009 and graduated in Fall 2011, completing degrees in Enology and Viticulture, the chemistry of making wine and the cultivation of grapes.
After Danielle's graduation, the couple got married and moved to California. Danielle began her career as a Sales Representative with E&J Gallo Winery while David completed his degrees. In 2012 the couple moved to Yakima, Washington where David became the Production and Operation Manager at a Hard Cidery and Danielle transferred with E&J Gallo Winery in Sales.
In 2013 they moved to Firestone, Colorado where David was the Head Cidermaker and Manager of another Hard Cidery and Danielle continued to be a successful wine and liquor Sales Representative.
Together in 2014, they began building Liquid Art Winery and Estate. The decision to begin the winery in Kansas came after David recognized the similarities between the soil and topography of Manhattan, Kansas to that of the vineyards in Bordeaux, France. This gave David validation that Manhattan was an ideal location for a vineyard. While living in Colorado, the couple discovered the property on Wildcat Creek Road, and after multiple visits and soil profiling, they knew the property was perfect for their venture. For eight months, the couple drove back to Kansas from Colorado almost every weekend.
In September 2014, the couple decided it was time to quit their Colorado jobs, sell their home, and work on Liquid Art Winery full-time. They moved to Manhattan and lived in a camper at the bottom of the drive by the oak tree, surrounded by 157 acres of cedar trees and the vision of what it would soon come to be.
David and a local gentleman spent months on a dozer clearing over 100 acres of cedars. They burned over 40 large brush piles in 2014. They ripped the ground three different ways with a dozer to uproot all the cedar roots and prepare the land for planting. The couple trenched over five miles of underground irrigation for the vineyard.
The 10-acre Estate vineyard required over 1,000 wood posts and 2,500 steel posts to be driven into the rocky ground by hand. Ten miles of drip line irrigation was also installed down every row of vineyard. In May 2015, Liquid Art hosted a planting party where approximately 100 volunteers planted over 7,000 grapevines on the Estate vineyard. To protect the vines from wildlife, almost three miles of black, poly mesh deer fence was installed around the property.
In August 2015, ground work on the building began. To ensure the quality of Liquid Art’s project, David was the general contractor on the job. The couple were on the construction site nearly every day and did as much work themselves on the building as they could.
Liquid Art Winery’s building is comprised of a full-production winery, tasting room and event center. The Event Center opened April 2016, and shortly after opening, hosted its first wedding. The Tasting Room opened in July 2016.
David launched a sister company for vineyard development and management; partnering with local land owners to convert their property to vineyards. Since January 2018, land preparation, irrigation installation, trellis development, and grapevine planting has been completed on ten additional acres of vineyard on Liquid Art's Estate property and approximately 100+ acres on satellite properties across Kansas. Vitis Vinifera grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, are the primary grapes planted. Prior to prohibition, Kansas was the largest grape growing region. It is time Kansas is put back on the map for its quality grapes and make a new name for itself in the wine industry!
Also in January 2018, a new product expansion was brought to life: Dave & Dani Craft Cider, named after the winemaker and his taste tester. Originally, the craft ciders were only served on tap in the Tasting Room. Due to an increase in demand to take the craft cider home and the increase of crop production with the vineyard expansions, a 9,000sf winery production facility expansion was built. This expansion allows for Dave & Dani Craft Cider to be bottled in 12 oz. bottles. Ground work on the expansion began in January and was completed in June 2018. Danielle was selling the ciders into liquor stores hours after the product came off the bottling line. Days later, David and Danielle welcomed their first child, Savannah Grace.
Liquid Art Wine (select varietals) and Dave & Dani Craft Cider are now in product distribution across the state of Kansas in local liquor stores, bars, and restaurants. A dedicated, in-house Sales team represent the brands and maximize self-distribution to bring the products to you! David and Danielle work closely with Kansas State University, particularly the National Strategic Sales Institute program, to provide beverage and sales internships to students.
In October 2018, an unfortunate incident resulted in immediate blindness of both eyes. Although it was a life changing event, David has remained positive and continued to be a leader. Even though his sight was lost, his sense of smell and taste were heightened-- important senses for a Blind Winemaker.
In 2019, David and Danielle continued to focus on their guest experience with great customer service behind their bar, addition of artisan pizzas to their Tasting Room menu, winery-hosted events such as live music and wine release parties, and weddings and other private events in the Event Center. In production, new wine varietals and seasonal ciders were bottled and released. Dave & Dani cider was also newly packaged in kegs to be on tap in bars and restaurants.
Thank you for supporting David, Danielle, and their team as they continue to share the art of grape growing and wine-making in the Midwest.
Cheers, from our family to yours,
Dave & Dani