WASHINGTON, D.C. — Oklahoma may not be the first state that comes to mind when “wine country” is mentioned, but it certainly has its own version in the nation’s heartland.
Like most states, it has a long history starting in the 1800’s, then dying under Prohibition, but eventually reviving, in this case since the mid 1990s. But growth is still impeded by unfavorable liquor laws, lack of a wine “culture,” and a challenging environment for growing grapes.
Still, they persist! Surprisingly, Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape, followed by Merlot, Shiraz, and Riesling. The classic European (vitis vinifera) varieties account for nearly 80% of all plantings, with hybrids at 15% and American at 7%. The southwest corner of the state is especially conducive to grape growing, but there are wineries clustered all along the iconic Route 66 which crosses the state.
Oklahoma State University has a viticulture and enology extension program, supplemented by information from VESTA–the Viticulture & Enology Scientific and Technical Alliance.
Like all 50 states, Oklahoma enjoys significant economic benefits from the American wine industry.
American Wine Industry Economic Impact in Oklahoma:
- $977.8 Million Total Impact
- 60 Wine Producers
- 129 Vineyard Acres
- 8,383 Jobs
- $297.9 Million Wages
- 50,172 Tourist Visits
- $20.6 Million Tourist Expenditures
- $102.1 Million Total Taxes
- $57.3 Million Federal Taxes
- $44.8 Million State and Local Taxes
— Jim Trezise, President, WineAmerica
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