Visit Redbud Ridge Vineyard & Winery near Norman, Okla.
By Susen Foster
Though winemaking played a significant role in Oklahoma's economy early in the 20th century, prohibition restrictions and the Dust Bowl took their toll on the industry. In the 1980s, a new breed of farmers once again looked to Oklahoma's fertile red dirt and the fruit of the vine for profit. Today there are many licensed wineries across the state.
Redbud Ridge Vineyard & Winery located at 7301 E. Highway 9, just a few miles east of the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman, Okla., is one of the most popular in my opinion. And I think it is because of the friendly, common-man atmosphere.
Don't misunderstand; yes, it is true you can hop in the car at a moment's notice and show up in shorts and T-shirt. But Redbud Ridge is also a destination for a romantic drive or a family gathering. This setting will satisfy the imagination as well as the palate.
Tom Knotts, owner, is proud to tell visitors, "Grapes and wine were always a part of our life. My dad, Max Knotts, was introduced to the beauty of wine while serving in Europe during WWII. It was his efforts to develop a vineyard for his own winemaking that helped spark life back into the dormant grape growing industry in Oklahoma."
Firmly believing that there is nothing more relaxing than a good steak and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, he began preparing for the day when he could share his wine with the world.
That day arrived a few years ago and since then he has hosted many thousand people who having heard of his wines or seen the sign on Highway 9 made a point of dropping by to see what Tom Knotts, former Landscape Architect at the University of Oklahoma, not far from the winery, has made of his dream.
Most wineries have a pleasant setting, some more elegant than others. But Redbud Ridge Vineyard & Winery has gone past the nice and into a truly lovely environment. Nestled amongst trees with pathways of stone and a variety of sitting areas, the tasting room makes one feel welcome. And Tom, who can usually be found there, has a way with words; not only witty but informative and fun.
Though his retirement hobby doesn't leave him much time to enjoy his own steak and glass of wine, he is just as happy to provide his full bodied Big Red Steak Wine to those who do.
Redbud Ridge wines are basically dinner wines that can be paired with food of varying intensities from a ribeye fresh off the grill with the Big Red Steak Wine to salmon, ham and turkey with dark rose' blend of Cab, Merlot, and Zinfandel called 3 Roses.
The winery also bottles a palate tempting Oklahoma Riesling with a little GewÃºrztraminer in it. It spices up an already smooth Alsation-style Riesling; great with turkey or the other white meat. As a true wine enthusiast would say, "The bottlenotes from the-daily-sip should help you expand your palate."
Redbud Ridge Vineyard & Winery where the fragrance of the woods and the aroma of aging reds are part of its appeal, is only a short drive south of Oklahoma City off Interstate 35 at Exit 108A (Hwy. 9) and is open Thursday thru Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 405-321-WINE (9463) or visit www.redbudridgewinery.com.
Editor's note: Susen Foster is the owner of Pecan Cottage Bed & Breakfast in Pauls Valley, Okla. She is the author of numerous travel books. Susen can be reached at www.greatersuccess.com or call 580-622-5408.