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Oklahoma Wine Industry Grape Growing Opportunities!

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Building a Local Wine Industry in Oklahoma

"The Greatest Fine Art of the future will be the making of a
comfortable living from a small piece of land." - Abraham Lincoln

Compared with most agricultural alternatives, vineyards are a widely preferred land use. Home vineyard planting can lead to increased property values for Oklahoma residents. Even modestly priced grape land is worth several times more than land used for cattle grazing and vineyards can add much more to the local economy. 

Wine grape production typically leads to more jobs in the area and better amenities for local residents as restaurants, recreational and retail businesses are established for the tasting room tourists. Some states such as Ohio and Missouri are even offering cash incentives and tax breaks for vineyard establishment.

Many of the most desirable rural areas in the world are built around vineyards and wineries. Property values in Napa and Sonoma Counties in California and premier wine-growing areas in France will confirm the fact that many people will pay a major premium to live in areas with reputations as wine-growing areas. In France, many vineyards as small as an acre or two, are passed down through generations or, in the event of a rare sale, may sell for more than $1 million per acre.

The wine industry contributes an estimated $10.9 billion in economic activity to California each year. 

Arbor Week in Oklahoma is the last week in March. Will you be planting something for the future?


bulletThe earliest written account of viticulture you will find is in the Old Testament of the Bible. Noah planted a vineyard and made wine.
bulletWine is a prominent feature of both the culture and economy of Europe.
bulletIn the U.S., the popularity and profitability of wine has led to a big increase in the acreage devoted to grape growing.
bulletWine market research predicts that, over the next 15 years, the U.S. premium wine market will grow from 203 million to 369 million cases.
bulletOklahoma farmers...you should not ignore this opportunity! Visit us at our 2013 Spring Wine Festival to learn more!

The 5 Critical Elements for Oklahoma Vineyards

1. Growing Season - A growing season of sufficient length is critical for your success. The growing season is set by the number of days between the last 28F day in spring and the first fall occurrence. The season at a particular site must be long enough to allow both the fruit and the vegetative parts of the vine to mature.  Oklahoma Climate Zone Map

2. Sunshine - There must be adequate sunlight hours to ensure a sufficient supply of carbohydrates are produced by photosynthesis to mature the fruit and vine and to maintain future productive potential. 

You will need a trellis system to manage vine growth and to make your vineyard operations more efficient. It permits positioning of foliage and fruit for air movement, spray penetration, limited exposure of grape bunches to sun, prevention of sunburn of bunches and future mechanization of operations.

3. Soil - The supply and the availability of essential mineral elements in the rooting zone must not be inadequate nor excessive. Mineral elements which are not essential may also be problematic if they are toxic to grapevines or your customers! (See also: Soils for Fine Wines )

Vines require a well structured soil 350 to 600 mm deep. The soil must be well drained, but it also needs adequate water-holding capacity to support root growth and development throughout the growing season. Very deep or fertile soils are not ideal as they may promote too much vigor. Shallow soils are not desirable as vines do not thrive. Your soil acidity and fertility should be tested and adjusted during land preparation and before the vines are planted.

4. Water - There must be a steady and sufficient supply of water to allow the vine to function properly. However, soil water must not be in excess or your grapevine roots will suffer. Look for gently sloping land with sandy soil to ensure good drainage...grapes hate wet feet.

5. Choice of Grapes - Choose a diverse array of grape varieties, so that you can harvest throughout the season. Grafted wine grape vines are not recommended for use in Oklahoma.  Two of the most popular wine grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but many folks prefer the vigor of a hybrid wine grape like Chambourcin. 

The Five Factors Influencing Vineyard Profitability 

1. Crop yield - Your crop yield will be measured as the number of tons of grapes grown per acre.  Wine grape crop yields vary according to many factors.  Pruning and trellising are two of the largest factors impacting wine grape yields. Canopy Management practices are a topic of much research and study for the finest vineyard managers.

67 page PDF document outlining how to create a trellis system for grape vines. Includes details on various grape trellising systems, what materials are need and how to get started.

This is a link to the pruning section of a larger grape growing PDF document.

The main page for the above mentioned document.

This PDF document one has some great illustrations.

2. Grape price - influenced by grape quality, variety and your local market. There are now 19 Oklahoma wineries with more on the way! Prices over $1000 per ton a being reported for premium vinifera grapes grown in Oklahoma!

3. Expenses - the variable costs of growing the crop and the fixed costs of vineyard ownership. Typically, labor will account for at least 30% of your vineyard's expenses. Harvest time usually poses the most critical labor demand as your fruit must be removed within a relatively short period. 

4. Capital costs - Your capital costs will primarily be the acquisition cost of land, irrigation and equipment. 

5. Gearing - Your gearing is the level of debt used to finance assets and working capital. Be careful not to overextend yourself or under-invest.

Expected Wine Grape Yields

A vine yields its first crop after three years, and is fully productive after five. You can expect to harvest grapes for 25-40 years after they have been established. Wines produced from even older growth grape vines are becoming increasingly popular in California.

Grapes can be grown quite successfully Oklahoma, outdoorsmen will have noticed the large amount of grapevines that grow wild in our state. Properly managed grapevines also add a valuable  landscape feature to home plantings. To learn from some other Oklahoma vineyard owners, join the Lincoln County Grape Growers Association!


Grape Growing Information - Books, Magazines, Detailed Grape Pruning Information and websites.


Pruners - Grapevines are usually pruned when the vines are completely dormant between late fall and early spring, depending on your local climate. 



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Profit Potential for Oklahoma Wine Grapes 

Established vines should yield between 2 to 5 tons per acre annually.  Wine grapes typically sell for $500 to $1500 per ton.  So, 10 acres making 5 tons per acre at $1000 per ton can net you a cool $50,000 per year!  The range of values for potential profits on even the smallest tracts of land are obviously quite large.  This makes it the perfect crop for a small family farm.

Here, at the Nuyaka Creek Winery we are eager to encourage, inform and assist local farmers in taking advantage of the fantastic opportunities created by the growing Oklahoma wine industry.  We are currently looking for more sources for Oklahoma fruit and wine grapes.  We even buy native fruit varieties like elderberry, blackberries, summer grapes, etc.  

Contact us today!

Nuyaka Creek Winery
35230 South 177th West Ave. 
Bristow, Oklahoma 74010
For appointments or directions call 
(918) 756-7568


Grape Varieties for Oklahoma - From OSU

Most Nurseries Ship Grapes in the Spring or Fall Only:  

*Muscadine grapes. = has female flowers only. The other varieties listed have both male and female flowers.
Variety Ripening Season Color Principal Use Winter Hardiness
Baco Noir middle blue wine fair
Cabernet Sauvignon late red wine good
Canadice early red table good
late red wine good
Cayuga White middle white wine good
Challenger middle red table fair
Chambourcin late blue wine poor
Chancellor early middle red wine good
Chardonnay middle white wine good
Chenin Blanc late green wine fair
Concord Seedless late middle blue table, juice good
Cynthiana very late blue wine good
De Chaunac middle blue wine good
Einset middle red table fair
Marechal Foch very early blue wine very good
Mars (Seedless) early blue table medium
Niagara late middle white wine, juice good
Riesling middle white wine fair
Reliance early red table good
Sauvignon Blanc middle green wine fair
Saturn middle red table fair
Vanessa middle red table good
Venus very early blue table fair
Villard Noir late middle blue wine fair
Vidal Blanc late white wine good
Vignoles late white wine good
Carlos* middle bronze table, wine fair
Cowart* late blue wine, table fair
Dixie Red* middle red table, wine fair
Scuppernong*() late bronze table, wine fair


Visit our Wine Industry Magazines Page

There are several magazines focused on viticulture and winemaking, a few to which every grape grower, winery manager or aspiring winery owner should be sure to subscribe.  We have tried to list the best ones on the page linked above for your convenience.  Visit some Oklahoma wineries to learn more about the opportunities viticulture offers for the Sooner State.  You can find out about all their events at Oklahoma Wine News.

Every great winery needs a great winery dog.  Learn how to train your dog for mutual success.

The Oklahoma Wine Industry Needs You!  

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Email:  Dianne@NuyakaCreek.com 

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