Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring in Oklahoma & Grapes On the Vine!

It is springtime in Oklahoma and vineyards across the state are showing signs of new growth: new grape leaves, new baby grapes, and more acres devoted to growing Oklahoma grapes.

The number of acres in Oklahoma producing grapes has quadrupled in less than 10 years. Oklahoma now has over 600 acres devoted to growing grapes, according to the information presented at  the Oklahoma State Capitol this month by the Viticulture and Enology Program of Oklahoma State University.  

One of the oldest vineyards in the state, has grown to include 20 acres, Richard Kennedy said, the owner of  Tres Suenos Vineyards and Winery.  

Tres Suenos, or three dreams in Spanish, was established over 10 years ago near Luther, Oklahoma.  It was the culmination of 3 partners' dreams, including the present owner Richard Kennedy.
“The Oklahoma wine industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the state,” Kennedy said.

Tres Suenos includes the vineyard, a winery and a lovely 4,000 square feet tasting room large enough to accommodate many celebrations, including weddings.  The winery offers free tastings and winery tours. 

Shipping laws and grocery store sales of wine need to be changed in Oklahoma in order for the wine industry to be competitive with other states and for the industry to be sustainable, Kennedy said. 
The state legislatures can further develop state tourism by the support of  better roads for access to the vineyards and the support of the bed and breakfast industry.

"If Oklahomans want to have the wine industry in Oklahoma, they need to talk to their state legislatures about changing the current laws," Kennedy said.

As the winemaker for Tres Suenos, Kennedy makes wines from his own grapes as well as grapes from other Oklahoma producers.

"If you want to purchase wines made from Oklahoma grapes, be certain you look for a label stating that it is produced in Oklahoma,"  Kennedy said. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tidal School Vineyards

One of Oklahoma’s vineyards and wineries held a free wine tasting and artist show Saturday, April 17, in a building built in the 1920’s by John D. Rockefeller, according to the Tidal School Vineyards web site.

 Gary and Brenda Schroeder, owners of the Tidal School Vineyards, purchased the property in 2001, planted the grapes and then restored the old school building, said Stephanie Summers, an employee of Tidal School. Summers explained the vineyards had their first harvest in 2005 and the winery uses grapes from their own vineyard, as well as grapes from other vineyards to create several specialty blended wines.

Many of their wines have won awards at wine competitions and are available at the winery and at retail establishments in Oklahoma. One of their blended wines includes the Oklahoma Sunset, Summers said, a wine named after the beautiful Oklahoma sunsets which the color of the wine resembles. 

Tidal School Vineyards frequently hosts special events throughout the year, according to their web site.  A vocal talent competition, the Tidal Idol will be held on May 1, Summers said, and will begin at 6 p.m. with a $10 entry fee, which includes light hors d'oeuvres.  A band will be playing prior to the idol competition, Summers said, and winery tours and free wine tasting will also be available during the day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Canadian River Vineyard and Winery

Gene Clifton, owner, operator and partner of Canadian River Vineyards and Winery, has brought his experience in the California wine industry to encourage the fruition of a growing wine industry in Oklahoma.  Clifton established his vineyard and winery, just 15 minutes south of Norman, about 10 years ago and works with state legislatures and other vineyard owners to champion Oklahoma wines.
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