Oklahoma wineries are in the process of relaunching the state's wine industry.
While wine making was an important part of Oklahoma's economy at the turn of
the twentieth century (and especially during the 1920s), after the turn of the
twenty-first century, it had fallen onto hard times. Since then, expanding agriculture
in Oklahoma and modifications to state laws has helped to revive wineries in
Oklahoma. Today, the wine industry in Oklahoma draws support from a strong grape
owner's association, and the state now has about 40 wineries and many combined
acres of vineyards.
Most Oklahoma wineries are located in the northeast of Oklahoma—two such wineries in fall just outside the Ozark Mountain Range, meaning a trip here can mean taking in the mountains as well as the wine. There's another cluster of wineries located in high elevations around the area of Enid. The exclusive Oklahoma wine Vitis Vinifera Varietals is grown at these high altitudes in Oklahoma's western region.
Several varieties of grapes are grown in Oklahoma and this includes native American grapes, Vinifera, and French-American hybrids. In order to maximize profit, Oklahoma wineries are looking to grow the right grapes to match the terrain and this is likely to take some time before the best wines for the climate are determined.
There has been a huge increase in the number of wineries in Oklahoma and more are planned for the coming years. Often wine tourists like to take a tour of several vineyards in Oklahoma during the same day—for example, Grape Ranch, Sparks Vineyard, Nayuka Creek, and Tidal School Winery could all be taken in between sunrise and sunfall, although staying awake after all the wine can become a problem! As a result or this kind of touring, wineries in Oklahoma have come to offer wine from other winemakers to complement their own wines. Hence, wine making in Oklahoma is not necessarily perceived as a competition, and winemakers will often direct you toward other vineyards as you go.
Oklahoma wine producers also buy their fruit from as many local grape growers as possible to encourage local business. Wine grapes are a good alternative crop for Oklahoma farmers since grapes can be cultivated easily on less fertile land that may not be suitable for other kinds of crop cultivation. In recent years, the acreage of wine grapes cultivated in vineyards in Oklahoma has grown steadily, and it's bound to increase further as the Oklahoma Department of Tourism is working to make more opportunities available for everyone to experience Oklahoma wine.
Many of the wineries offer events on top of the standard tour. For example, Tidal School Vineyards happily accommodate for weddings, birthdays, receptions, reunions, meetings, and corporate events. Book one of these in conjunction with one of the Oklahoma hotels and you have a sure-fire success. After all, what could be better than meeting with friends or colleagues and enjoying the fruit of Oklahoma at its best!