Bryan and Gina Zesiger opened Z&M Twisted Vines Wines and Winery in Leavenworth, Kansas, a year ago.
The couple purchases their grapes and produce for their wines from farmers across the region. This year, they purchased a quarter of their annual grapes from Joe Laukemper who owns Mound City Development Corporation Vineyard in Holt County, Missouri.
Last month, Bryan Zesiger retired from the military after 25 years of service including time as an Apache pilot. The business also is a member of Homegrown By Heroes, which is a veteran farmers coalition through the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
“We do traditional varietal wine which is specifically grapes but we also do fruit and vegetable wine,” Zesiger said. “We have a very unique selection. We currently produce approximately 19 different wines. The concept is we create wines with a twist.”
He said the couple creates their own wine formulas and the concept for the labeling on the bottles, which are then approved by the federal government.
A unique line of wine they created is blacked-out coffee wine, which is made using coffee from another veteran-owned business called Burr Roasters in Leavenworth. The product line includes cherry, blackberry, pumpkin and fennel coffee wine. They also can twist it up by adding an Italian sweet cream to the coffee-wine line called Ginootsa Bella.
Gina Zesiger said their other two main lines of wine include a farm-to-table selection such as peach, watermelon and cantaloupe wine along with a fire line with jalapenos. The store also offers seasonal wine slushies.
She said their store and wine cellar is located in a renovated building that was built in the 1890s.
At their winery, they offer wine samples and also serve food such as hummus and spinach dip with chips. The food includes an Italian section because of Gina’s Sicilian heritage. They serve Italian meatball subs, an Italian deli sub and a meat and cheese antipasto platter.
The couple plans to continue expanding their lines of wine with the launch of their dessert wine line called Burlesque this month. The newest creation is a raspberry chocolate dessert wine called Burlesque 5.56.
Z&M Twisted Vines Wines and Winery is located at 620 Cherokee St. in Leavenworth, Kansas. They can be contacted by phone at 531-600-8187. They can be found on Facebook or online at www.zmtwistedwines.com.