EDMOND, Okla. — The rows of Syrah grapes are just now turning from green to dark purple.
It’s still a month from harvest and Tom Ingmire’s small crew spent this hot morning putting nets over the vines.
Growing grapes in central Oklahoma is a tricky, untested enterprise.
This spring, the threat was a fungus. This summer, it’s every creature from bug to bird that likes the taste of sweet grapes.
“Quite the battle,” chuckles Ingmire. “But we manage. You learn a few tricks.”
Ingmire is an emergency room doctor when he’s not in the fields. But he and his family moved to this acreage 20 years ago with an eye toward growing a few vines.
“We do our best,” he says. “You can’t take too much for granted.”
Now, it’s more than just a hobby.
Clauren Ridge Wineries aims to produce between 40,000 and 50,000 bottles this year, birds notwithstanding.
Ingmire says, “That’s a pretty good step up for us compared to what we’ve been doing.”
Dr. Tom built a tasting room, even a wine cave. He hosts dinners and special events down here while the wine ages.
Tom says, “We’ve had some reasonable success.”
Every vintner worth his grapes sends off bottles for judging in various wine competitions around the world.
This year, he sent off a small sample for the very first International Canned Wine Competition.
It came back with a gold medal.
The winner; something from the Sinfully Sweet line of flavors than involved fruit like peach and watermelon more than Oklahoma crops.
“We’re okay with that,” he says. “I would imagine a lot of people on the other side of the planet are trying to figure out where Oklahoma is at, let alone where Edmond is.”
Tom and crew are still working on the puzzle of growing superior wine grapes.
This year’s Syrahs are coming along fine but a lot could happen between now and harvest around Labor Day.
That’s why it’s nice and relaxing to know that an international gold medal is already in one hand, and a glass of this is in the other, no matter what container it came in.
‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.