Dianne Jones, one of the owners of Nuyaka Creek Winery, recently sent me this field trip report. I hope you enjoy it!
Oklahoma Wines in Oklahoma Wine Bottles
The glass industry in Oklahoma has a long history. As a winery trying to revive an industry that was totally destroyed by prohibition, Nuyaka Creek Winery has been eager to have our local glass plant producing wine bottles.
Some of our friends and neighbors are employed at the area glass plants and we had discussed with them how nice it would be to bottle Oklahoma wine in Oklahoma glass bottles. Our hopes have been fulfilled with the recent contract awarded to Anchor Glass in Henryetta, Oklahoma.
Diablo Packaging has contracted for several million (yes, I said million) wine bottles to be produced at the Henyretta plant. Of course, the number purchased by Oklahoma winemakers will be small in comparison to the numbers sold by Diablo Packaging to the rest of the world, we are still proud of this new opportunity that promotes our Oklahoma Economy.
We were invited to tour the plant recently along with Dana Hutton from Natura Winery, Nancy Miller of the Henryetta Freelance and Diane Andrews from KOKL Radio in Okmulgee. Pete and I arrived, a few minutes late, and found everyone waiting. Both Dana and I arrived, in an effort to put our best foot forward, (no pun intended) in our summer sandals. We were informed that we couldn’t tour the plant in open toe shoes. Not wanting to miss out, Dana inquired if the plant manager didn’t have an extra pair of shoes we could borrow. He in fact had two pairs, so Dana and I were fixed up. We traipsed through the plant from one end to the other in shoes a little big for us, but they did the job.
We watched the totally automatic line start with the hot mix and followed it seeing red hot 'stuff' turn in to orangish red bottles then gradually cool to their wine green shade. All on conveyers it automatically proceeded through the plant being inspected totally by computers until it came to one visual inspection by a human. Then they were picked up by automatic arms loading 12 bottles into each cardboard box and continued on by conveyer to be put on pallets, then wrapped in plastic to be shipped out. We went up and down ladders and found out that a glass plant is a 'big' place. Mr. Butch Glover, General Manager, gave us all a wonderful, informative tour and we were very grateful for his hospitality.
We have been giving you Oklahoma wine with Oklahoma produced labels and we soon will have the wine bottled in Oklahoma bottles. Watching one industry spin off new industries or add products to existing businesses right here in Oklahoma helps our economy and enables our children to remain in their home state for their livelihood. -- Dianne Jones, Nuyaka Creek Winery
I think the info above helps to illustrate some of the less obvious economic benefits of developing Oklahoma's local wine and vineyard industry. The story is by no means a fluke. Artists, web designers, musicians, media outlets...just about any business you can name stands to benefit from the growth of this exciting new Oklahoma wine industry.