Sneak Attack on Oklahoma Wine Industry

Yesterday, a sneaky attempt by hired lobbyists to kill the Oklahoma Grape and Wine industry was launched.

Senate Joint Resolution 41 (SJR41) was amended in the Business and Labor Committee of the Senate to strike Constitutional language permitting Oklahoma Wine Makers to sell their products directly to Oklahoma restaurants and retail liquor stores. Striking the previously approved constitutional language could lead to the death of the Oklahoma grape and wine industry that has grown from 3 wineries in 2000 to more than 31 today due largely to the opportunities recently afforded the industry by Oklahoma’s voters.

For the last few years, liquor distributors in Oklahoma and around the country have been fighting like mad to bring an end to the young Wine industries developing in their states. These large distributors seek to destroy any market they cannot control. California wineries have grown large enough to afford protection from these anti-free-trade, corporate lobby efforts. Oklahoma wine makers and grape growers are likely to need some help getting the voice of reason heard by our legislators.

SJR41 was authored by Senator Harry Coates, who is an avid supporter of the Oklahoma grape and wine industry, appeared in the Senate’s Business and Labor Committee yesterday in an amended version where it was passed.

Don't let these backdoor tactics succeed! Contact your reps. Demand that the Oklahoma Senate again amend SJR41 to return it to the original language and get the consumer shipping issue to a vote of the people. Free the Grapes!

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Tulsa Opera at Tidal School Vineyards Saturday

Tulsa Opera is Back at Tidal School Vineyards!
Saturday March 4, 2006 3:00pm

Before MTV and DVDs, folks had parties in their homes and enjoyed an evening of live music!

Join Tidal School Winery for a delightful concert that celebrates the beauty and enchantment of live music. You will love this concert, even if you have never attended an opera; it is truly for everyone! Bring a friend or three, have a glass of wine & enjoy! Tickets are only $10.00 and includes hors d’oeuvres and a magical musical experience to remember.

Order online at their website or contact the winery at 1-866-258-1903 for more information.

Tidal School Vineyards
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Art and All That Jazz March 11, 2006

Natura's First Winery Art Show & Live Jazz Event

On Saturday March 11th, Natura Winery near Beggs, Oklahoma will host their first annual Art Show and Sale show from 5pm – 9pm.

This will be an evening to relax and enjoy some great art, great music by Debbie Carder, and of course great wine. After you have finished viewing the art, you are encouraged to grab a chair and spend a little time listening to some terrific music and enjoying the company of friends, new and old.

$15 admission per person includes: art show, music by Debbie Carder, light appetizers, wine tasting and complimentary wine glass.

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Hochatown Winery - Girls Gone Wine

New Oklahoma Winery Opening in March 2006

A new Oklahoma winery is scheduled to open in March of 2006. The winery is called Girls Gone Wine and is located at Hochatown, near Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

I haven't gotten a chance to visit the new winery yet, but I am always looking for another reason to visit the Broken Bow area. Long known for great camping, trout fishing and Oklahoma kayaking, a winery should be a great addition to the tourism attractions Southeastern Oklahoma has to offer.

Girls Gone Wine
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Oklahoma Winery Weddings

Weddings Offer Big Potential for Oklahoma Wineries

For an event that lasts five hours, winery weddings are a big and growing business.

Local wineries are seeing more and more success from teaming up with area businesses like: caterers, limousine services, gown designers, tuxedo rental shops, entertainers, printers, jewelers, photographers, florists and other vendors to host weddings. If you are wondering just how big this opportunity is check this out: in single year, more than 2 million American couples spend $80 billion on their nuptials...and that doesn't even count the same-sex couples!

That is a heck of a lot of champagne and crab puffs!

Why Wed at a Winery?

Loads of people are getting married at wineries these days and not just wine snobs. Some brides are simply looking for an attractive outdoor location for their wedding or reception site. Others may be looking for an alternative to churches due two family conflict or other reasons.

Also, don't forget that many Oklahoma families want a country theme to their weddings, often with horses! Since most tack rooms don't have bathrooms and the rodeo arena is too dusty... vineyards offer a great alternative.

Whatever the reason, an Oklahoma winery wedding provides both privacy and a romantic atmosphere, on neutral ground, for one of life's most special events. It is no surprise that Oklahoma wineries like Tidal School Vineyards are getting lots of requests.

What's In It For The Wineries?

Weddings offer Oklahoma wineries many chances to showcase their wines. Consider the reception, the rehearsal dinner or gifts to the bridal party to commemorate the event. They may also be interested in a custom label or specially decorated bottle. Wine is commonly given as a gift at weddings, along with such wine related gift shop items as stemware. Most importantly for winemakers, weddings attract a large number of people from the local area and far beyond.

How Can A Small Winery Be More Successful at Hosting Weddings?

Below is a list of tips for Oklahoma winemakers interested in pursuing the wedding market. Also, if you are planning your own winery wedding this list should point out some best practices that will identify the most experienced hosts.

  • Provide some webpages with the common formulas that help couples estimate the amount of wine their event will require.
  • Offer custom wine labels with the couple's names and wedding date.
  • Attend local bridal fairs (such as those listed in the Oklahoma Wineries Calendar) and offer wedding planning as a free or for-a-fee service.
  • Host your own bridal fair to enable couples and their families to meet your staff and vendors.
  • Encourage brides to register in your gift shop and offer special deals on gifts for the Bridesmaids and Best Man.
  • Create a winery wedding planning guide to send to your customers. Include a list of accommodations, clergy, restaurants, transportation services, florists, musicians and local wedding planners.

If you have more ideas on this subject, leave a comment on the blog. I would love to hear from you.

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Mardi Gras at Summerside Vineyards Feb 25

The hurricane may have curtailed Mardi Gras celebrations in some places….but not at Summerside Vineyards in Vinita.

Join the winemakers this February 25, 2006 for a bowl of Mardi Gras Gumbo and a basket of bread for $6.50. Phone: 888-508-9463. Website: http://www.summersidevineyards.com/


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Murder Mystery at Drumright Winery

Murder Mystery Theatre is Back at Tidal School Vineyards!

Friday February 17, 2006 from 6pm to 9pm

Whodunit Theater returns to Tidal School winery in Drumright, for a wild production of Murder at Mardi Gras!

The menu for the evening of dinner theater will be: Real Creole Barbeque Shrimp, Gumbo, Jumpin' Jambalaya, Red Beans & Rice, & French Quarter Beignets. Tickets are on sale on the web for this fun and interactive yet tasteful evening of murder most foul!

Tidal School Vineyards - Drumright, Oklahoma

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April is Made in Oklahoma Month

Help celebrate Made-in-Oklahoma Month this April by entering the Recipe Roundup with your favorite recipe using Oklahoma products including Oklahoma Wine, Grape Juice, or Grapes.

Entries received via mail must be postmarked between Feb 25 and May 10th and received by May 15th, 2006. Download The Printable PDF Here

Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association


Oklahoma Wine Insiders Media Blitz

Not to be outdone by Don's big media blitz in the Oklahoman, our very own Oklahoma Wine News Blog got mentioned by by Paul Gregutt in a Special to the Seattle Times http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/foodwine/2002790776_winecol08.html.

Tragically, no link was included, but we are happy just for a mention of ourselves and our good friend Charlie Mount's Do-it-yourself wine bottle lamps. As they say, any Press is Good Press!

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Don Neil of StableRidge Vineyards in The Oklahoman

Oklahoma Wineries in the News

Tom Lindley has a fine article in The Oklahoman today about new winery development in Stroud, Oklahoma and the overall growth of wineries and vineyards all over Lincoln County. Here's a brief quote:

At last count, the county was home to 55 vineyards and four wineries. It takes five years to bring a vineyard to full harvest, but judging by the interest in grapes all across Oklahoma, growers don’t want to wait until tomorrow to get started.

With its climate, slope of the land, wind flow and drainage, Oklahoma always has been well suited for growing grapes. - Tom Lindley
The article goes on to quote Don and Annetta Neal from StableRidge Vineyard on Route 66 in Stroud, Oklahoma and mentions that there are now more than 500 acres of wine grapes planted in the state. Visit the Oklahoman's website for the whole article or pick up the paper today!

Popping the Cork on State’s Vineyards by Tom Lindley in The Oklahoman

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Flying Fez Event Gathers Even More Oklahoma Wineries

3rd Annual Flying Fez Wine Tasting Feb. 18, 2006

The Flying Fez at Bedouin Shrine is having it's 3rd annual Flying Fez Wine Tasting Festival on Feb. 18 2006 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm at Bedouin Shrine in Muskogee Oklahoma 201 South 6th street.

Tickets are only $5.00 and parking is free, no minors please.

Wine Tasting from These Fine Oklahoma Wineries: Cabin Creek Winery, Canadian River Vineyard and Winery, Grape Ranch, Moonfeather Winery, Nuyaka Creek Winery, Oak Hills Winery, Redland Juice Company, Sparks Vineyard & Winery, Summerside Vineyards, Stone Bluff Cellars, Tres Suenos Vineyard and Winery and Woods and Waters Winery.

Enjoy Italian cuisine by Napoli's Italian Restaurant and live music by Mike Dunn. Proceeds go to the Bedouin Shrine Flying Fez unit and are not tax deductible.

This event just keeps getting bigger! For more info contact: Richard Radloff at 918-348-0376 or the Bedouin Shrine at 918-682-2761 . Tell them Oklahoma Wine News sent you!

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Canadian River Winery at OKC Zoo Feb 14

In addition to their Grape Pruning class on Feb 4th and their upcoming Valentines Open House, Canadian River Winery will also be bringing their great taste to the OKC Zoo this month for Romancing the Zoo!

DATE: February 14, 2006
TIME: 6:30 – 9:30 PM
COST: $65 per couple for ZooFriend members; $75 per couple for non-members
CONTACT: Education Department, (405) 425-0218 or education@okczoo.com

Take your mate on a wild date! Bring your special someone to the Zoo for a unique experience on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, February 14. The evening includes, a wine tasting from Canadian River Winery, heavy hors d’oeuvres and dessert. The Canadian River Winery will also have a selection of wines available for purchase. Plus, guests will be entertained and intrigued during the 'Zoo'lywed program.

Dress up or dress down – go wild with your style! Participants must be 21 years of age or older. Reservations are required. Call the Zoo's Education Department at (405) 425-0218 for prices or to make your reservation.

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Oklahoma Wineries Brochure from Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association

In addition to OGGWMA's Oklahoma Wineries page, they now have a printable brochure for you (Caution: this a 4.8 MB download, so be patient) with general locations, winery hours and more for over 30 Oklahoma wineries!

Stop by their site and check it out along with welcoming their newly elected OGGWMA officers for 2006.

Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association Website

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