October is a great month to take a leisurely trip though southern Oklahoma Wine Country. Enjoy this easy day trip and savor some of Oklahoma’s own.
1. Legends Vineyard & Winery - A vineyard covered knoll in the rolling hills north of the Washita River Valley, broad vistas of Italy’s grape country painted on tasting room walls, grape clusters etched on terra cotta tiles, huge urns overflowing with water, create an oasis of bacchanalian pleasure. And Legend’s wines, like their Cappuccetto Rosso - a Tuscan style blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - are truly legendary. Hosts, Bob & Debbie Sirpless, also have a flair for special events and one that always draws a full house is The Rat Pack dinner show with Frank Zinnatra, Dean Martini & Sammy Chardonavis Jr. which encores October 18. Make your reservations early.
2. Valley Vineyards & Winery - The winery and vineyards are visible from the interstate and signage on barns and byways help guide visitors to the welcoming front door. Sunlight bounces off sparkling wine bottles and colorful stained glass in the high-ceilinged, many-windowed tasting room where guests can sip Valley’s fine wines and visit with friends. There is plenty of room for meetings or luncheons; and outdoors, Chauncey and Joanna Klingensmith, built a large patio and brick firepit to accommodate weddings, art shows and intimate concerts. The next event, a multi-medium fine art fair and workshop, is October 24 through 26. Renowned guitarist Edgar Cruz will perform 2 to 4pm on Sunday.
3. K & J Vineyards (aka Redland Juice Company) - Wine grapes picked at their peak and not allowed to ferment, produce luscious juices bursting with subtle flavors as distinguishable as those of fine wines. Enjoy a taste of K & J’s Golden Muscat – moderately sweet with a delicate Muscat flavor; Chardonnay - fresh and sweet with a crisp finish; Merlot – a sweet red with berry/cherry flavors; or a refreshingly light Riesling. Learn from owners, Jill Stichler & Kathy Bates, about this unique facet of the grape growing world. The pond side setting is beautiful. Tastings are by appointment, but it is worth the phone call.
4. Canadian River Vineyards & Winery - Though this is the only truly commercial winery on the tour, there is nothing snooty about it. It is a working winery in the midst of the vineyard where tasting wine gives guests a real sense of what winemaking is all about. Owners Bill and Gene are often around, but don’t expect them to be waiting for you. They are usually out in the field and their children or grandchildren will probably be the ones in the tasting room educating you on wonderful Canadian River wines. Family pride is well placed. They not only have a large selection, but their reputation precedes them when it comes to quality.
5. Redbud Ridge Vineyard & Winery - Winemaker Tom Knotts learned the intricacies of winemaking from his Dad and at college in Texas. Upon retirement from OU, he decided to share these skills with the public. He has little time to enjoy them himself, but believes a steak and a bottle of his full bodied Big Red Steak Wine (Sooner fans unite!!) are the key to a good day. Redbud Ridge also bottles a palate tempting Oklahoma Riesling and Three Roses, a uniquely dark and delicious rosé. The winery is nestled in a grove of oaks where the fragrance of the woods and of aging reds are part of its appeal.
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