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KEY Oklahoma City

wineIs this a GRAPE State or what?
By Susen Foster

From early in the 20th century, until Prohibition restrictions and the Dust Bowl took their toll, grape growing and winemaking played a significant role in Oklahoma ’s economy. Fortunately, since the late 1980s, the industry has seen a revival and the current number of licensed wineries is now close to 50. Their products and added-value potential have snagged the attention of wine connoisseurs and tourists alike, making it one of the fastest growing agri-tourism arenas in Oklahoma.

Throughout the ages, a mystical aura has surrounded the ruby and peridot glow from a glass of wine. The flirtatious dance of uncorking an untried bottle of wine, embracing its aromatic bouquet and carefully unwrapping the delicate layers of intimate flavors, remains forever bound to friendship, romance, and elegance.

Visiting a different winery every week is good for the soul. But for many of us, commitments just won’t permit that luxury. The answer? Make a date to visit fashionable 50 Penn Place on November 14 &15, where Oklahoma WineFest, in partnership with and The Muscular Dystrophy Association, will bring Tuscany to Oklahoma City ’s “most notable address” for the entire day.

Oklahoma WineFest ’08 kicks off on Friday evening with “Denim & Diamonds”, a reception benefitting Muscular Dystrophy. For $75, guests will indulge in an ambrosial pairing of delicious food from popular area restaurants and fine wines from local wineries. Live music and a silent auction add to this rustically elegant occasion where one is as likely to make new friends as he is to delight in old ones.

All day Saturday, rain or shine, festival goers will share in a celebration of the grape as Oklahoma WineFest ‘08 showcases the best of Oklahoma hospitality at 50 Penn Place. Peruse an eclectic assemblage of sophisticated shops and galleries, plus unique booths with such offerings as wine & food gift baskets, wine cellar equipment, artistic wine accessories and handmade jewelry. Take in a wine workshop, enjoy live entertainment, and sample the bacchanalian nectar from 25 of our state’s newest celebrities, the wineries of Oklahoma.

The 45 minute workshops include intriguing topics such as “Wine tasting” with Sommelier Ian Clark; “Building a Wine Cellar” by Wine Cellar Innovations; “Food & Wine Pairing” with Kurt Fleischfresser; “Amateur Wine Making” by David Martin; and “How to Grow Grapes in OK” by Andrew Snyder.

Festival tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. Seniors and “Happy Trails” members (see website for details) are only $15. Designated drivers and children are $5 and the workshops are an additional $10 each.

The $75 VIP Pass is all inclusive, providing admission to Saturday’s festival and workshops, a one year membership to the “Happy Trails” club, a souvenir wine glass with holder, and access to the “VIP Cellar” where exceptional limited quantity, award winning Oklahoma wines will be available for tasting.

For reservations, and to find out more about “Happy Trails”, visit

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