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Outlook 2013: Patience is key to Oklahoma wine growth

Oklahoma has more than 60 wineries and 500 to 600 acres of vineyards, showing exponential industry growth in just the past decade, said Gene Clifton, president of the Oklahoma Grape Industry Council.

by Dave Cathey Published: April 28, 2013

And there is no better marketing tool for a winemaker than the endorsement of its local dining community.

The good news is, progress is underway. Perfection can’t be expected, but we must demand progress. And the only way to determine that progress is to sample local wines and give honest, constructive feedback. At the same time, grape-growers need financial support. That means, consumers must be willing participants in the evolution of Oklahoma wine.

And if you’re among the majority of Oklahomans who have never been introduced to good wines and see it as an expensive hobby for rich folks, I have good news: That’s simply not true.

Great wines come in bottle priced around 10 bucks as often if not more often than they do those priced $50 or even $100. Better still, wine-tastings are scheduled practically every week of the year at some venue in the metro.

Our local wineries have been embraced by agritourism and vice versa, as the quality of the wine improves interest in spending time in these beautiful settings, sipping the local product will grow exponentially.

Oklahoma has a bright future in wine-production, but it won’t happen overnight. And it won’t happen without local support. So, visit local wineries with open minds and the courage to give feedback our growers need to grow and flourish.