Oklahoma Wine Trail

Andy Barth: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining
us here on “Horizon.” I’m Andy Barth; Rob McClendon is away this week. When people think
of Oklahoma agriculture, things like cattle and wheat come to mind. But thanks to a dedicated
group of agriculturalists, wine is hitting the Oklahoma scene in a big way. Today, more
than 50 wineries and vineyards span the state, and many of them have been mapped out into
various wine trails. And hot on that trail is our Alisa Hines.
Alisa Hines: A program being launched by Oklahoma Agritourism in conjunction with TravelOK is
putting Oklahoma vineyards and wineries on the map — literally. And I was able to go
on the trail to a couple of places in search of tasty Oklahoma wine.
Oh look, she’s carding him. Where is your ID?
That’s awesome. You don’t even have an ID [laugh]?
Alisa: Kristin McGee enjoys interacting with visitors of all ages at Clauren Ridge Vineyard
and Winery in Edmond. Kristin: They can see a lot of different stuff.
We have winery tours of our facility, wine tasting, sit outside on the patio.
Alisa: A winery featuring Oklahoma grown grapes. Kristin: We have nine different varietals
right now. We try to actually use all of our own grapes. However, just like every other
winery in the world, if we have to, we do have to supplement what we can. But what we
try to do is keep all Oklahoma grapes. We’ll go out to other Oklahoma growers and try to
get them from them. And if we don’t, if they have a loss, bad harvest, I mean we all know
about Oklahoma weather, then we’ll try to go to California if need be.
Alisa: According to Oklahoma Agritourism’s Jamie Cummings, wineries like Clauren Ridge
are a reflection of a growing industry. Jamie Cummings: The Oklahoma Wine Trail is
a conglomerate of 31 wineries in the state. There’s 10 trails. There’s two to four wineries
per trail. They’re kind of meant to go at a leisurely pace that you kind of set yourself
— it’s a self-guided tour. So you can make it an overnight — maybe stay at a guest ranch
or a bed and breakfast. In the middle of that, you can take your time and see each unique
winery. Alisa: Unique things like Clauren Ridge’s
wine cave. Kristin: We are Oklahoma’s only wine cave.
Now, it’s not a natural wine cave — it is a man-made wine cave, but there’s 18 inches
of concrete all the way around so it stays a constant temperature throughout the entire
year. We keep it anywhere from 60 to 64 — really nice, especially during the summertime if
you’re hot. Also makes one heck of a tornado shelter — just make sure you bring a cork
screw. Alisa: Now, the trail can take you all the
way from rural vineyards [horn honking] to a winery in the middle of town.
Marty Rogers: I mean, it’s fun to work here. I really like working here, you know, doing
tastings and things like that. Marty: This is gonna be the sweetest red we
make. Alisa: Marty Rogers is with Urban Wineworks
and says they’re not quite like other wineries. Marty: It is a little different. People come
in and ask for the tour — our building obviously as you can see is quite small. So you know,
we’re like, “Well, this is our tasting room, and there’s the restrooms and the kitchen
and that’s it.” But our wines are uniquely our own, and you can only get them at our
store. Alisa: And at Urban Wineworks, you can even
enjoy your wine with a little food. Marty: We always run a few dinner specials.
Normally, that’s gonna be a steak, some kind of fish and some kind of chicken dish. We
also serve our tapas menu from 5 o’clock on. Alisa: Now, Jamie says the Oklahoma Wine Trail
came about in hopes of making visitors aware of our burgeoning wine industry.
Jamie: Before 2000, there were four wineries. Now, there’s over 60 registered with the ABLE
Commission so the industry is booming. Most people don’t know that there are wineries
in the state, and so we wanted to, No. 1, get that awareness out there, and so we were
hoping that the wine trail would do that. And then secondfold, we were hoping that it
would be just a grab-and-go map that people could grab and see rural Oklahoma and travel
the state. Alisa: Available at oklahomawinetrails.com,
the map leads you on an adventure into Oklahoma wine country.
Jamie: Most of them are operating vineyards, and so you’re gonna meet the winemaker, and
they’re so passionate about what they do. They’re so excited to meet you and tell you
all about their wines — how they make their wines. And several of them — there’s a little
key on the trail that can, will tell you if there’s an onsite vineyard, and most of ’em
will be more than happy to take you around the vineyard and show you, depending on what
time of year that it is, what’s, what’s going on with their vineyard and how that affects
how they make their wine. And then most of them have their winery operation right there.
Well, they take you back there and let you see it fermenting and all the tastes and smells
that come along with that. It’s a pretty neat experience.
Alisa: So download a map and plan your trip down the Oklahoma Wine Trail.
Alisa: Congratulations on the new wine trail. Jamie: Thank you!
[drinking wine] Alisa: Oh, wow, that’s really good.
Alisa: Now, each stop on the trail is open at least two days a week with regular set
business hours. So check the Oklahoma Wine Trails website to find out the hours before
hitting the trail. Andy: So Alisa, I hear that agritourism has
a special promotion to help launch these wine trails.
Alisa: For a limited time only, they have a passport on the Oklahoma Wine Trails website
that you can download from the Oklahoma Wine Trails website, and as you go to each winery
you can receive a code. Once you’ve received codes for all four wineries on that trail,
then you can go back to the website, enter your code and receive a charm for that trail.
Now, you could actually receive all 10 for a complete set.
Andy: Well, certainly sounds like fun. Thank you so much, Alisa. And when we return, I
visit with a vineyard owner about the barriers behind shipping wine in Oklahoma.

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