Staff and wire reports
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Oklahoma’s tourism and agriculture departments are launching separate initiatives hoping to entice visitors to the state this summer through wine and music.
Oklahoma Wine Trails showcases wineries through “trails” — itineraries that will take visitors across the state — while Rhythm & Routes will showcase musical artists and venues. Oklahoma Tourism Department spokeswoman Leslie Blair said people will be able to use the agency’s website to find their favorite artist and develop itineraries based on that person’s life.
The Oklahoma Wine Trails features 10 different itineraries featuring a handful of wineries grouped together by location to showcase the state’s booming wine industry, said agritourism program administrator Jamie Cummings.
Three northwest Oklahoma wineries are featured on the “How Merlot Can You Go?” trail — Plain View Winery, Lahoma; Indian Creek Village Winery, Ringwood; and Plymouth Valley Cellars, near Fairivew.
Information about the area wineries is available at www.plainviewwinery.com, indiancreekvillagewinery.com and www.plymouthvalleycellars.com.
Plain View features a variety of fruit wines and food products. Indian Creek offers meeting facilities, a bed and breakfast, a wedding chapel, group tours and country stays. Plymouth Valley offers picnics and country stays in addition to the winery.
Before 2000, the state had just four wineries. Now it has more than 60, and half of those are featured in the wine trails, Cummings said.
“Oklahoma had a huge winery industry before Prohibition and then the Dust Bowl kind of wiped it all out. The grapes do grow here. Most people are surprised by that,” Cummings said.
Trail visitors can choose a more urban experience around Tulsa or Oklahoma, a trail that follows Route 66 or others that are in more rural areas. Participants will receive stickers at each winery they visit and once they complete a trail they can send in for a wine charm.
“The whole goal with this is to bring attention to what those areas can provide for, like I said, a day trip or even a weekend trip. Just getting on the road and checking out ... how beautiful it can be when you drive across rural Oklahoma,” Cummings said.
Starting July 1, the tourism website will include interviews, photos and other memorabilia for the Rhythm & Routes tour.
“If you look at all the musical stars and the innovations that have come out of Oklahoma, it’s really impressive,” Blair said. “These are people — say, Reba, Vince, Garth, Kristin Chenoweth — people instantly know who you’re talking about. People may not realize they’re from Oklahoma, and so I think it’s important for us to recognize the great, talented individuals and also not just individuals, but venues.”