Wine Makers Reaching Consumers at Oklahoma State FairTue, 16 Sep 2014 16:58:16 CDT
Oklahoma's wine industry is getting a lot of exposure at the Oklahoma State Fair. Wineries from around the state are showcasing their wines in the Creative Arts Building. One of those exhibiting is Karen Stobaugh owner of Whispering Meadows Vineyards and Winery in McAlester. She said her family's winery has been exhibiting at the state fair since 2007.
"It's definitely been a great experience," Stobaugh said. "It gives Oklahoma wines wonderful exposure, it brings our product to a lot of different people that we can't always see when we are just are at the winery."
Radio Oklahoma Network's Leslie Smith caught up with Stobaugh at the Oklahoma State Fair. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.
Whispering Meadows Vineyards produces 17 different varietals representing a mix of both of dry and sweet wines. Stobaugh said at the state fair they are seeing more consumers gravitating toward sweet wines.
"A lot of your beginning drinkers and the new consumers tend to gravitate toward a sweeter start, then their palate seems to move over to drier as they progress," Stobaugh said.
As fairgoers walk through the booths of wineries they will find different takes on wine with different flavors, as well as frozen wines. Stobaugh said wine slushes are a growing trend in the wine industry.
"It's our take on say a frozen margarita or sangria, ...we actually produce all of ours with wine, rather than tequila or other spirits. We typically use wine in everything that we do and it's like an adult smoothie," Stobaugh said.
Oklahoma's wine and grape growing industry continues to grow. Today there are over 60 wineries throughout the state. Stobaugh said wineries have become popular tourist destinations. At their winery in McCallester they have had visitors from all 50 states.
Oklahoma's wine and grape growing industry was recently valued at $98.5 million (all private investment) and employs about 840 people full-time with a $23 million payroll. State and federal taxes, paid by the Oklahoma Grape and Wine Industry, are about $11 million per year. For the state's wine industry to continue to grow, the state will address state laws and regulations. Stobaugh said Oklahoma wineries will be pushing for changes to allow for interstate shipment of wines and also for the ability to have satellite tasting rooms.
Learn more about Oklahoma's wine and grape growing industry by visiting the Creative Arts Building at the Oklahoma State Fair through Sunday, September 21st.
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