OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)--With offerings such as Dust Bowl Red, Oklahoma Gold and Oklahoma Nouveau, Oklahoma's fledgling wine industry is benefiting from a new law allowing wineries to sell directly to liquor stores and restaurants.
The number of commercially licensed wineries in the state jumped from two last year to 10 after passage by voters in November of a law that allows wine producers to bypass wholesalers.
"This should be economically beneficial for the state over the long run," said Tommy Marvell, assistant director of the state liquor commission.
Surrounding states all have more wineries than Oklahoma. The Wine Tours Project lists 33 wineries for Texas, 31 in Missouri, 18 in Colorado and 16 in New Mexico.
Stone Bluff Cellars Winery near Tulsa is among the wineries in Oklahoma reaping benefits from the new law.
The winery produced 600 cases of wine last year in its first year of operation. Most of the wine was sold to people who visited the winery. This year, it plans to produce 1,500 cases and sell to restaurants and liquor stores throughout the state. General Manager Brendan McBratney says the winery has sold nearly everything it has produced.
With five acres devoted to grapes, the winery purchases grapes and juice to supplement what it grows.
"We do the mixing, taste trials, all the chemistry involved, and the bottling and labeling here," McBratney said.
Slaughterville-based Canadian River Vineyards and Winery, which opened in May, planted its grapes just a few years ago.
"It is amazing to me to put a stick in the ground and three years later you have a bottle of wine," said Gene Clifton, one of the three owners of the winery.
The winery will harvest two tons of white grapes, which will produce 150 gallons of wine, or 750 bottles, that will be ready to drink in October.