In 2011, Ed and Cindy Irvine developed a passion for winemaking and began crafting wines from an array of fruits and vegetables – from homegrown grapes to local pears, peaches, and even tomatoes. What started as a hobby inspired by Ed’s grandfather, who made wine during Prohibition, quickly blossomed into a labor of love shared between the couple.

The decision to start a commercial winery seemed like a natural progression after many years of producing wines and honing their craft. Ed has an entrepreneurial spirit, having started numerous businesses over the years in agriculture, solar lighting, and candle manufacturing. However, to take winemaking to the next level, they knew they needed additional expertise from the next generation.

Enter their son Ed Jr. and his friend Scott Schlageck, both avid home brewers. Scott’s family planted a small vineyard, which provided some of his first practical experience in growing grapes, in addition to taking a viticulture course at Highland Community College in 2008. Their skills complemented the elder Irvines’ perfectly.

A pivotal moment came when they produced beer and wine for Scott’s sister’s wedding, bringing the family together to collaborate on a larger scale. The celebratory beverages they crafted were a resounding success, solidifying their shared dream of starting a winery.

Over the next few years, Ed Jr. immersed himself in the study of molecular biology at the University of Kansas. The sciences are fundamental to understanding the fermentation processes that transform grape sugars into wine. Meanwhile, Scott diligently worked towards earning his winemaker’s certificate through the enology program at the University of California, Davis, one of the top wine education institutions. Obtaining these vital credentials in winemaking and fermentation science was crucial for taking their operation to a commercial level with strict quality standards.

Meanwhile, Ed and Cindy began construction on the winery site. In 2017, they purchased a 40-acre property in the picturesque Kaw River Valley, northeast of Lawrence, Kansas. The Kaw River, known for its meandering course through limestone and shale formations, has a rich geological history dating back millions of years. Its valley, formed by glacial meltwater drainage, provides an ideal setting for viticulture. Construction of the winery began in April 2018, with the planting of fruit trees, berries, and grapes following soon after.

In establishing the business, Ed and Cindy wanted to ensure the whole family was involved. They brought on their other two sons, George and Austin, as resident technology experts handling the website, security, and IT needs. However, George and Austin contribute far beyond just tech – they are part-time helping hands, assisting with planting vines, harvesting, grape processing, serving in the tasting room, bottling, and helping wherever needed in order to keep operations running smoothly.

The first Irvine’s Just Beyond Paradise wines – Apple, Pear, Blackberry, and Tomato – were vinted in the summer through fall of 2019. Although the intended grand opening of spring 2020 was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the family persevered by selling online, offering curbside pickup, and distributing to local liquor stores.

It was not until June 17, 2021, that the family felt it was the right time to have a grand opening celebration. Though, since it was technically about time for their 1st year anniversary they dubbed it their “Grandiversary,” a celebration that also marked their survival through the pandemic. The event was a resounding success, and hosting a big party in June has become an annual tradition. In June 2023, the winery expanded their offerings further by launching an on-site winery kitchen featuring brick oven Neapolitan-style pizzas to pair perfectly with their wines.