BRISTOW — Nuyaka Creek Winery is one of the only Oklahoma wine producers that has made sparkling wine — the drink du jour on holidays like New Year's Eve.
Their sparkling blackberry vintage, produced in the traditional French method, is currently sold out, but the husband and wife duo that run the winery hope to have more in production by next year.
“Normally, we try to do it around the holidays but we were too busy this year,” said vintner Pete Jones, who owns Nuyaka Creek with his wife, Dianne.
The winery produces more than two dozen varieties and their specialty is an elderberry wine often consumed for medicinal and immune-boosting purposes.
Making sparkling wine is similar to still wine except for an extra step in the fermentation process. A blend of base wine, yeast and sugar are added, then sealed and fermented a second time in the bottle, which captures carbon dioxide released in the process, making bubbles, according to the Wine Institute in California.
Special, heavy glass Champagne bottles with wired-on corks are used to withstand the pressure inside without cracking.
Sparkling wine and Champagne ranges in style from very dry, dry, and slightly sweet to sweet. Many are identified as Blanc de blancs (wines made from chardonnay grapes), Blanc de noirs (produced from black grapes) or rose/pink sparkling wine, which has a small amount of red wine added in, the Wine Institute says.
Whether from the Champagne region of France, a true Champagne, or a sparkling wine from New Mexico or California, it's tradition to drink bubbly to welcome the New Year.
Byron's Liquor Warehouse, 2322 N Broadway, expects to sell 3,000-4,000 bottles of sparkling wine and Champagne for New Year's, with brisk sales right up to close Monday, said wine manager Nathan Robinson.
Prices vary widely
Some of the store's most popular choices cost $11-15, like La Marca Prosecco, Gruet sparkling wines and Martini & Rossi Asti. For those with more discerning tastes, Byron's stocks Dom Perignon for $257 a bottle and Armand de Brignac, or “Ace of Spades,” a true Champagne that will set you back more than $300 a bottle.
“That's some of the most expensive stuff you can get in the state,” Robinson said.
But for most New Year's Eve partiers, a less expensive bottle is preferred, not just for the cost but because those varieties tend to be sweeter and those who drink occasionally have a less developed palate, he explained.