WineCommune CEO Michael Stajer's New Blog

New Blog On The Technology Side of the Wine Biz

Michael Stajer, CEO of WineCommune, writes about wine and technology in his informative new wine blog. His blog is more than just the usual collection of personal tasting notes from wines that you cannot find at your local liquor store. Here's a short tidbit to wet your tastebuds:

...This all reminded me of a couple of wine schemes that were floating around in 2000/2001. One idea was to tag a bottle of wine at the time of production with a heat sensitive label. If the wine was exposed to too high of temperature for too long of time, the label would indicate the abuse.

Protecting consumers from wine spoiled due to extreme temps has come up before on Oklahoma Wine News. If you are interested in learning more check out the: Full article from Michael Stajer's wine and technology blog.

New Oklahoma Winery Website - Canadian River Vineyards

Canadian River Winery, Near Norman, Launches New Website

If you have been looking for Canadian River Winery, the search just got easier. The new website for this Oklahoma winery already contains the bare minimum of info for a winery site: a map to the winery, a list of the wines that are available and tasting room visitors hours. Look for more in depth information as the site matures.

Canadian River Winery is located 15 minutes south of Norman, Oklahoma on State Highway 77 at Slaughterville Road. They currently produce: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Taryn Blanc, Riesling, White Zinfandel, Noble Blush, Rio Rojo, Rio Blanc, and Sangria Nouveau wines.

Canadian River Winery and Vineyards - Taste Oklahoma Wines Sooner Rather Than Later.


Mid-America Wine and Grape Conference Feb. 5-7

Viticulture Training Conference in Missouri

The Midwest's largest conference on grape growing and wine making will be held Feb. 5-7 at Tan-Tar-A Resort, Osage Beach. This annual conference offers a wealth of educational seminars for winery personnel and grape growers. Speakers from Australia, Germany, New York, California and Michigan will kickoff the conference with discussions of the latest information on rootstock selection and performance.

Other technical sessions and discussions will follow offering information on all aspects of wine appreciation, wine production and grape growing. Don Restivo, vice-president of Riedel Crystal, will share their newest addition to the wine glassware market. His presentation will include a wine tasting and a complimentary four-pack of the new O-series of Riedel wine glasses. Participants will also enjoy a Gold Medal Wine Reception and the Grand Banquet, a six-course gourmet meal featuring local foods paired with Missouri's finest wines.

This conference is sponsored by the Missouri Vintners Association, the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Grape and Wine Program and the Midwest Viticulture and Enology Center. Full registration is $391 per person and excludes lodging. For more information regarding the conference or the Grape and Wine Program, call 1-800-392-WINE or visit www.missouriwine.org.

State Investment in Local Wine Industry Makes a Difference

Wine Industry Investment North Carolina vs. Virginia

Oklahoma isn't the only state struggling to develop a local wine tourism economy. North Carolina vintners hope that viticulture may provide a desperately needed replacement for agricultural revenues that used to come from growing tobacco.

North Carolina considers themselves to be 12th in U.S. wine production with about 1,500 acres planted with vines. The total value of wine produced in the 41 wineries across the state was $30 million in 2003. Grapes grown in 2003 brought in $3,314 per acre, more than double the 1998 value, according to the state grape council.

Virginia invests $500,000 annually in its local wine industry. It also permits the wineries to display their products in state-run liquor stores, as well as providing free roadside signs to help tourists find the wineries. As a result, Virginia has 90 wineries, more than twice as many as North Carolina, and their wine production is valued at $95 million. Through winery tours and tastings, wine country packages and promotions, the Virginia wine industry now attracts more than 500,000 visitors annually.

North Carolina invests $350,000 annually on wineries, and the businesses must pay the state Department of Transportation to erect roadside signs. In fact, one local winery owner reported paying the N.C. Department Of Transportation around $40,000 to erect their signs!

Got an opinion on this issue? Drop us a comment!


Local Industry Associations Efforts to Improve State Wine Tourism

With more than 90 wineries in the state, Pennsylvania's wine industry is growing fast! The state's 14,000 acres of grapes and wealth of passionate winemakers have helped it climb to 8th in the nation for the production of wine. Of course, the efforts of their local industry associations and legislatures have been critical in developing this favorable environment for wine tourism growth.

Taking a cue from New York and other wine-producing states, Pennsylvania wineries have organized themselves under a common marketing banner. They want to become tourist destinations. They have put together travel itineraries for visitors, outlining routes between wineries and listing all points of interest between. They are holding festivals, concerts and lectures. They are making wine a thing to do, not just to drink.

Tourism is an industry that almost always requires cooperation between a number of different business sectors and government entities. Local industry associations can be key drivers of this type of joint efforts.

For the last two-and-a-half years, Pennsylvania has been able to advertise its wines. Wine stores have been admitted into supermarkets and other convenient shopping areas. State store employees now receive training in wine and its evaluation.

The stores now have temperature-controlled wine rooms, and the liquor warehouses are similarly controlled. Wine competitions have sprung up throughout the state, including Philadelphia's own Star Wine Festival, which last year brought 75 of the world's best sommeliers to the Ritz-Carlton to judge more than 2,000 wines. Medalists in the Star competition receive placement in special wine racks at the state's 48 Premium Collection stores. At least 16 new supermarket and Premium Collection stores are planned this year.

Oklahoma wine industry organizations currently include both OGGWMA and the Lincoln County Grape Growers Association. If you are interested in boosting the industry, join up today. Many hands make light work!

Check out the source of the above quotes by reading the full article from the Philadelphia Business Journal: Pennsylvania wineries organize, boost marketing


Disease Resistant Grapes for Vineyards

Oklahoma Wine Lovers, Start your Vineyards!

Grapes can be hard to grow in much of North America. Too often, grape growers are forced to rely on harsh chemical treatments to hold off damaging diseases and pests.

One of the less labor intensive solutions for disease problems on grapes is to plant resistant varieties. That's what sets apart the grape vines in the Henry Fields Low Spray Grape Collection (You get one vine each of the America, Mars Seedless and Steuben Grapes) and the Disease Resistant Wine Grape Trio (Get one each of America, Cynthiana and Cayuga wine grapes).

Each of these super hybrids comes resistant to highly common problems like downy mildew, black rot and powdery mildew. That genetic toughness doesn't mean less flavor though. Plant these vines this spring, and for seasons to come you can harvest big, juicy grapes bursting with flavor!

Less spraying = More harvest. It's a win-win for you and Mother Nature! Order now to have your collection(s) delivered in time for spring planting.

disease resistant wine grapes for plantngLow Spray Grape Collection

Vineyard Management Tip:

Did you know that grapevines can be susceptible to injury from 2,4-D dicamba, and similar broadleaf herbicides? Depending on where you live (for instance, in farm country), you may want to select a growing site protected by a windbreak of large trees, a fence, or natural topography. If your neighbors control their yard weeds with broadleaf herbicides, ask them to do so in the fall only. Fall applications provide the best broadleaf weed control and are less likely to injure your grapevines.

You can learn more about grape growing in Oklahoma from Nuyaka Creek Winery's Grape Grower webpage at www.nuyakacreek.com/GrapeGrowers.htm


Ponca City Iris Festival Saturday April 30, 2005

Festival Theme is Made-in-Oklahoma

I am happy to report that the Ponca City Iris Festival will NOT be held the same weekend as the Nuyaka Creek Spring WineFest. I enjoy the Iris festival, but it often is scheduled at the same time as one of the two annual wine events held at my parent's winery.

The Ponca City Iris Festival will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2005. The festival includes music, arts & crafts, food, and don't forget the wine and cheese tasting! This year the Iris Festival theme will be: Made in Oklahoma products, good food & wine, art & music, and lawn & gardening.

Don't miss the annual Chocolate Festival and baking contest, the annual Iris Show and garden tours, experience several breathtaking works of art and live concerts throughout the day.

The festival will be housed on the newly renovated City Hall Complex located Downtown at 516 E. Grand Ave. The newly revised grounds feature a beautiful fountain and plaza standing beside the proud 1918 Spanish colonial style building.

A big thanks goes out to Charlie from VinoGlo Wine Lamps for letting me know about this upcoming event. Stop by and see Charlie's wine bottle lamps at the Ponca City festival or in the gift shows of many Oklahoma wineries. I hope to see you there!


Tony Adams To Address Oklahoma Society for Association Executives

Tony Adams of Turkey Creek Winery and Vineyards (and past president of OGGWMA) will be addressing the Oklahoma Society for Association Executives February 4, 2005 in Oklahoma City at it's monthly luncheon. This group of Executive Directors represent the majority of trade and professional associations in Oklahoma and is a major step in getting the news about Oklahoma wines into the main stream.

Tony has been asked to supply a bottle of Oklahoma wine for each table (15) and talk about the wines that are vinted in Oklahoma. Also, he will be addressing events and opportunities that Oklahoma associations can take advantage of with their Board of Directors and members. There will be approximately 120 associations represented that cover a wide range of organizations.

Big thanks go out to Stan Sweeney from the Oklahoma Society for Association Executives for the tip!

Turkey Creek Vineyards


New Showcase for Oklahoma Wineries Jan 29, 2005

All Oklahoma wine growers are invited to come to the Oklahoma Wine tasting at the Elgin Discount Liquor Store in Elgin, Oklahoma.

It will be held January 29 from 1-4 PM. This is the first wine tasting held at this location. The vodka tasting we held went well! Bring your wine for all to try.

They know this is short notice, but they ask that you call and let them know if you our interested.

Elgin Discount Liquor Store is located 16 miles East of Lawton, OK
exit 53 H. E. Bailey 1/8 of a mile East. They are growing, having doubled the size of the and they want to showcase Oklahoma wineries. For more information contact: Gary at 580-492-6431 or email him at: MrGary007@aol.com
Oklahoma Wine News


Two Oklahoma Grape Grower Training Events in February

Learn Vineyard Management in Oklahoma

Don't miss these great Viticulture education opportunities in 2005

Canadian River Winery Pruning Class
Near Norman, Oklahoma
Saturday Feb 5, 2005 at 10:00AM
$25.00 Single or Couple

Classroom instruction plus in the field training. Bring your own hand pruners and learn the most basic part of managing your vineyard.
Please call for reservations: 405-872-5565 or
Email: crwinery@aol.com

Summerside Vineyards Pruning Seminar
Vinita, Oklahoma
Saturday, February 26 at 11:30
Price: $30 (includes $5 donation to OGGWMA Education Fund)
Phone: 888-508-9463
E-Mail: wine@summersidevineyards.com

Jazz and Blues in Vinita for Valentines Day

Jazz and Oklahoma Wines
Jazz and blues singer Rebecca Ungerman, will entertain Summerside Vineyards visitors at two Valentines Day shows to held at the winery on Feb 11th and 12th.

The dinner buffet and show is $45 per person, and reservations are required.

Please call 888-508-WINE (9463) or e-mail wine@summersidevineyards.com.


Winter Wine Tourists - Check Your Schedules!

Wine Tourism Tip: Check the Web Before Visiting the Winery

This is the season when many wineries change to their Winter Operating Hours. It is always a good idea to call on the phone or visit a winery's website before stopping by, but it is even more important during the winter.

Just this week, I noticed that four Oklahoma wineries were changing the days and/or hours that they are open. StableRidge Vineyards, Tidal School Vineyards, Cabin Creek and Sparks Vineyard and Winery have all decided to switch to their winter operations schedule.

This points to one more reason that wineries trying to operate without websites are really missing the boat. Everyday, people are searching the web for wineries to visit and new wines to taste. Since web advertising is by far the cheapest kind out there, I can't help but wonder why so many are ignoring the opportunities that the web has to offer.

NOTE: I don't just say this because my wife has a small business providing web presence for Oklahoma wineries. It should be obvios to just about anyone that almost all Oklahoma wineries share the following characteristics:

  • Their names are virtually unknown in the marketplace.

  • Their locations are secluded and usually require a map to find.

  • Their wine lists and tasting notes are usually too lengthy for T.V. or Radio usage.

  • They need to provide easily accessable and reproducable content for the Press to use.

  • Wineries benefit from developing a loyal community of interested regular visitors.

  • The events and wine tastings they attend and/or conduct need to be communicated, often at the last minute.

Anyone interested in a list of Oklahoma winery websites should visit this blog and check out the list in the lefthand column. If you have recently created an Oklahoma winery website that I missed, drop me an email to webmaster@NuyakaCreek.com and I will get the list updated ASAP.

While you are here, give my new Technorati-powered site search a try. I recently noticed that the old one, supplied by FreeFind, was not accurately searching my Archives. Sadly, if it doesn't search the archives, it is little better than the built-in Find-On-Page function of the browser.

Vine By Design - Promoting for Oklahoma Wineries


Muskogee Wine Event Press Release

Bedouin Shrine Temple Press Release
MUSKOGEE, OK - The Bedouin Shrine Flying Fez is proud to announce our 2nd annual wine tasting festival .

The event will be held Saturday February 12th , 2005 from 2pm-8pm at the Bedouin Shrine Temple located at 210 S. 6th St. in Muskogee , OK . Admission will be $5.00 for tasters and $2.50 for non tasters .

The event will feature seven Oklahoma wineries . Attending this year's event will be Nuyaka Creek Winery , Sparks Vineyard & Winery, Canadian River Vineyards & Winery, Tres Suenos Vineyards & Winery and two brand new wineries , The Grape Ranch and StableRidge Vineyards. The Redland Juice Company will have a selection of non-alcoholic beverages as well.

Each winery will have their products available for tasting as well as for purchase . An Italian meal will be offered for an additional fee by Taste of Italy restaurant in Muskogee . Live music by Mike Dunn and Brad Venable and hourly door prizes will round out this event .

Proceeds will go to the Bedouin Shrine Flying Fez unit to aid in the purchase of an airplane for transport of seriously burned children and is not tax deductable . If you have any questions please call the event coordinator Richard Radloff at 918-682-2761 or 918-348-0376 .

A Nice Overview of Some Oklahoma Wineries

The article is has been out for a while, but I just had to drop a link to a JesettersMagazine.com piece on Oklahoma wineries. It describes many of the folks that I had the pleasure of meeting last year and they even quote Dad.

What do a petroleum engineer, an ophthalmologist and an architect/design consultant have in common? They're just three of the far-sighted entrepreneurs who have brought the wine industry to Oklahoma. From one end of the Sooner State to the other, you'll find an increasing number of vineyards and wineries serving up a diverse menu of wines ranging from traditional European varieties to American hybrids. In fact, the wine industry is so promising that Oklahoma State University added a grape management course to its curriculum earlier this year. -- John Bartels

Here's a link to the full article: Oklahoma Uncorks - by John Bartels, from JetsettersMagazine.com

Two Food and Wine Events at Tidal School Vineyards

Tidal School Vineyards has announced two new food and wine events in 2005.

Barbeque & Blues! Saturday, January 22, 6:00pm to 9:00pm will offer: Wine Tasting, Live Music and a Barbeque Rib Dinner for $18.50 per person.

In February, look for Valentines and All That Jazz! The Feb. 12 event features: Wine Tasting, Live Music and a Prime Rib Dinner for $25.00 per person.

Both events require reservations, so plan ahead for a gourmet experience that can't be beat, close by in Drumright, Oklahoma!

Tidal School Vineyards in Drumright


Natura Winery Casino Night Feb 5, 2005

Okmulgee County's own Natura Winery will be hosting Casino Night, February 5th at 7pm.
Event Prices: Couple - $50 or Single - $30
Call for reservations: 918-756-9463

While you are there be sure to take time to try some of the new wines from this years' vineyard harvest at Natura:

  • Blue Heron - Chenin Blanc with a blend of Muscat Canelli grapes. A dry white wine with a floral nose and a buttery, lush taste.

  • Oklahoma Sauvignon Blanc - Wild, tart, meadow grass flavor, with an intense finish!

  • Oklahoma Muscat Canelli - A nice fresh, aromatic wine. Outrageous floral and citrus flavor!

While you are in the neighborhood (Natura Winery is about ten minutes away), stop by and see my Dad at Nuyaka Creek Winery. There is still just a little bit of of his Sparkling Blackberry Wine left over from the holidays, but it won't last long!
Oklahoma Wine News - Your Source for Winery Events and Wine Industry News


Hot Thesbian Action at Oklahoma Winery

Take your sweetheart somewhere different for Valentine's Day!

Luther, Oklahoma winery Tres SueƱos will be hosting their first Mystery Dinner Theatre! An original play with heavy audience interaction written by Oklahoma Playwright, Earline Cottet will be presented. At the end of the evening, you will get the opportunity to vote on who you think 'dun it' and why. It's worth a trip up to Luther just to see their new tasting room. The owner, Richard Kennedy, has done a wonderful job creating a venue for parties and weddings in addition to traditional cellar door type activities.

Dinner begins at 6:30 with the play beginning at 7:00. Dinner meal provided by Zios Italian Restaurant. Comedy murder mystery performed by Whodunit Dining Room. Reservations must be made by 6:00 p.m. February 11.

Call 277-7089 for reservations. $24.95 includes meal, drink, and play! Check out Whodunit's website for more info: www.whodunit.net

New Wines from StableRidge Vineyards and Winery

Hip new Oklahoma winery StableRidge Vineyards in Stroud has released two new wines for your tasting pleasure. Stop by their Route 66 winery soon and try out Beau Blanc and Jeremiah's Red (made from Merlot grapes and blackberries).

Also look for these new Oklahoma wines to be released in the Spring of 2005: Pinot Grigio (Dry), Pinot Grigio (Semi-Sweet), Muscat Blanc, Shiraz, and Chenin Blanc.

StableRidge Vineyards Winery & Inn - Route 66 Stroud Oklahoma

Danger or Opportunity from Freezing Wine?

Mike, from Oklahoma wine blog OkieDoke, asked in a comment about the freezing point of wine and the associated risks of transporting it in the winter months. Personally, I do most of my large wine purchases in the winter, to avoid the much riskier Oklahoma heat.

The freezing point of wine mostly depends on its percent of alcohol. But it is typically around 15 degrees Fahrenheit and even lower for fortified wines. Even at that temp, it would take quite a while for the wine to freeze. Chances are good that freezing and thawing won't damage the wine itself, although it might cause the cork to lose it's seal.

Some people even put their half-finished bottles in the refrigerator freezer to preserve them. One article I read even claims this improves the wine! I know I can't wait to do my own testing on that claim! If anyone out there has tried this, drop my a comment. Here's a link to that article:
Freezing Wine To Preserve and Improve Flavor


Getting Your Wine Home Safely

Keep Your Wine Cool or Taste the Consequences

Wine is a delicate beverage. Like many food products it is constantly evolving and reacting to the external environment. Therefore, it is no surprise that the quality of a wine can be greatly affected, damaged or even ruined should it be improperly transported or stored. In order to create the best environment for a wine to properly age, the temperature, humidity, light and stability (lack of vibrations) of the storage location must be monitored.

Maintaining a consistent temperature is particularly difficult if you are traveling. When carrying wine on a plane flight, do not put the wine in your checked luggage as there is no atmospheric control where the suitcases are stored. Also, the baggage compartment's below freezing temperatures and pressure may damage the wine. If you are touring wine country by car, especially in warm climates or seasons, try to keep the wine out of the trunk. Otherwise, during the day, the wine will heat up considerably, and as night falls so will the temperature. Think about keeping a large cooler in your trunk for those weekend jaunts, or bringing the wine into your hotel room at night.

Ask any winery operator and they will tell you stories of customers angrily contacting the winery because the wine they bought tasted different once they got it home. Usually, further investigation shows the wine took a long car trip locked up in the trunk. When visiting Oklahoma wineries, heat is probably the biggest threat to the quality your wines. Also, if the wine was not properly cared for during shipping to a retail liquor store, it may have been allowed to get to hot while in transit. This demonstrates one more excellent reason to buy wines directly from the source.

Biodynamic Agriculture - Vineyard Voodoo

One of the web's favorite wine blogs from California is Huge Johnson's World of Wine. This week he has posted an excellent article on the kind of BS you DO NOT want to add to your vineyard...biodynamic BS that is!

Biodynamic agriculture, for those unaware, is a type of organic farming in which great attention is paid to the cycles of the moon, stars, and the state of your livestock. -- H. Johnson's wine blog

To get the full story visit Mr. Johnson's blog: Biodynamics: the Santeria of Viticulture

Stone Bluff Cellars Attending Oklahoma Wedding Show

Brides-to-be should consider checking out the Oklahoma Wedding Show from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM on Jan. 8, 2005. The event is held in Tulsa at the Doubletree Hotel at Warren Place. Stone Bluff Cellars will be there presenting their Oklahoma wines, you can find a link to their website on our blog page. Let us know if you stop by their booth for a taste!

Attendees can also register for a wonderful prize from one of the sponsors at Tulsa Celebrations, but the deadline to register is Wednesday, January 5th!

Babs - The Conversation Station: WINE AND 2005

Babs over at The Conversation Station blog, has started a thread on wine tasting reccomendations.
Got an Oklahoma wine you enjoy regularly? Stop by her blog and leave her comment!

Babs - The Conversation Station: WINE AND 2005


Elderberry Research Feb. 21–23, 2005 in Springfield, MO

The University of Missouri’s Southwest Research Center near Mt. Vernon has been studying the elderberry since 1991. The United States Department of Agriculture has pitched in grant money to the AFCDP to help fund the study which focuses on determining which elderberry cultivar grows best in southwest Missouri.

The Alternative Fruit Crops Development Program (AFCDP) is a collaborative program among several institutions, including Southwest Missouri State University, University of Missouri, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Poteau, OK.

In a recent Joplin Independent article Andrew Thomas from the University of Missouri describes the research.

'The focus of our study is to learn how to grow elderberries to get the optimum yield,' said Thomas. 'We are also looking to see if pruning is a better option or if brush hogging it to the ground every year and then letting it grow up in stages produces a higher yield. This is probably the largest elderberry research project going on in the country right now. We believe the elderberry has good potential as a commercial fruit crop in Missouri, but many basic questions related to its culture remain unanswered.'

The article goes on to discuss the history of using elderberry for its medical benefits, the factors that make it excellent for winemaking and the Wichita, Kansas winery that is using 130,000 pounds of elderberries a year to produce wine.

I know of several Oklahoma farmers who are testing elderberry cultivation of their farms. I can tell you that Nuyaka Creek Winery is planting elderberry widely, buying as much as possible and still looking for more local producers of Oklahoma elderberries. It is a very labor intensive wine to create, but the demand for it growing fast.

The elderberry is an exciting alternative crop for Oklahoma. Elderberry jellies, syrups, desserts, and food colorings are growing in popularity because they are rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. Elder flowers are edible and the bark, leaves, flowers, and elderberry fruit all have medicinal properties and have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments.

You can hear about the progress of the Elderberry research project at the 25th Annual Missouri Small Fruit and Vegetable Conference, Feb. 21–23, 2005 in Springfield.

More information (including a schedule and registration information) can be found online. You may also contact Patrick Byers, SMSU Department of Fruit Science at (417) 417-926-4105 or Pamela Mayer at (417) 926-4105 to register or for information on registration fees.

Check out the full article from the Joplin Independent: Joplin Independent: Elderberries are topic of Missouri conference by David L. Burton civic communication specialist for the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension.