HUDSON — The basement of the farmhouse built by Stan Christiansen’s great-grandfather has four rooms filled with bottles of wine, all made by the amateur vintner. Christiansen has been told that his wine could hold its own against commercial wines costing as much as $900, and his fans may be onto something. At the 21st Annual Wine Classic, hosted last month by the Greater Kansas City Cellarmasters, Christiansen entered 33 bottles of wine and won medals for all of them.
The wines entered earned Christiansen three gold medals, 24 silvers and six bronzes, all in the amateur division. He won Best Red, Best White, and Best of Class. The ratings come from a committee that tasted and graded over 200 wines during the event, which was held Jan. 25 and 26. Christiansen said 11 of his 24 silver-medal wines were within a half-point of earning gold status.
His best efforts included a sweet chocolate raspberry port, which won a silver medal, a dry Blanc de Noir 2017 that won bronze and a 2013 shiraz cabernet, also a dry wine, which won a gold medal.
“It’s just a hobby I started to do,” said Christiansen, who is better known at the owner of Kansas Trophy Whitetails, a haven for hunters seeking record-winning deer trophies. The hobby started after a chance conversation at a wedding reception more than a decade ago, where he met a doctor who made the wine being served.
Since then, Christiansen has made some 5,000 bottles, all from kits. A kit typically contains more than four gallons of juice, as well as yeast and other ingredients such as oak chips. The juice comes from vineyards that have produced award-winning wines from around the world. A dry 2012 Torrontes Argentine hails from Argentina while a 2009 Shiraz is from South Africa. Both won gold medals.
Christiansen isn’t licensed to sell his wine but he shares it with friends. Making wine is easy, he said. “I can’t even pronounce some of the wines I make, but they’re a hit with everybody.”
The wine that one woman compared favorably to a $900 bottle was a dry 2009 Petit Verdot.