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Starting Your Own Winery

Throughout the country we are seeing a reemergence of local wine industry development. All 50 of the U.S. States now have a locally produced wine to offer visitors a taste of their region. Wine grapes make a great small acreage crop and any region's tourism benefits from adding a winery! Of course, it isn't easy to just leap into the wine industry. Government regulations and fees are constantly expanding, but at least local tourism industries like this won't be off-shored anytime soon! 

Here in Oklahoma, there are many challenges to producing great local wines.  Just defending your vineyard from deer can be a big challenge in many parts of the country for those wanting to start a winery. We hope these tips and resources will help you get started living the dream!

Outlook for Oklahoma Wineries

Wineries are a burgeoning industry in Oklahoma that will boost tourist dollars and the farming income of Oklahoma. Currently, Oklahoma produces less than 3% of the wine consumed in our state. Less than 5% of the grapes used to produce this wine are grown in Oklahoma.  The Oklahoma Wine News Blog is an excellent resource for learning who the players are in the emerging Oklahoma industry.

Farmers who have been having a difficult time finding ways to make money on their farms will now have a viable customer in our new winery industry. Diversification in agriculture will be greatly enhanced by farmers adding a few acres of grapes to their farming operations and participating in agri-tourism events. 

Wine Grapes Needs

Grapes require sandy soil on slopes and basically want some irrigation, airy conditions to keep them from mold and some spraying to keep away the pests.

Integrated Pest Control in Viticulture
by R. Cavalloro

While establishing the vines, they require some intensive care but when properly  pruned and tended they will produce abundant grapes for decades.

Vineyard Profit Potential

. The attraction of growing grapes is the volume of grapes per acre and the price per ton. On just a small amount of acreage, say five acres, a farmer can produce from 5-12 tons per acre depending on the variety. Those grapes will sell from $600.00 to $1200.00 a ton.

Learn to Run Your Own Winery

The following list of wine industry knowledge resources, books and magazines should get you well on your way to starting your own winery.  While there are many books on winemaking and vineyard management on the market, finding winery marketing resources can be quite difficult.  We hope these resources help you make your dream a reality!

The Backyard Vintner -

Vital information on topics such as planting, trellising, and proper pruning techniques for grapes; which grape varieties will grow best in every climate or region; and the wines that can be made from each variety.  Vineyard tend to take at least five years to become Replica omega productive, so it pays to start your grapes growing ASAP!

Understanding Wine Technology - The perfect book for simplifying the complex science that goes into winemaking.  Includes one of the best published reviews of filtration methods, and an excellent overview of wine additives. 
The book was written for classroom use and it provides a quick with concise and relatable explanations.

The Grape Grower: A Guide to Organic Viticulture   - covers growing grapes very thoroughly. 
It is focused on an organic approach to growing wine grapes, but it does not omit content for non-organic growers.

Wine, Food, and Tourism Marketing (Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, Vol. 14, Numbers 3/4 2003) - Wine, Food, and Tourism Marketing is an overview of contemporary practices and trends in food and wine tourism marketing. International in scope, the book draws on studies from Canada, England, France, New Zealand, South Africa, and Scotland for analyses of contemporary practices and trends that help you develop, implement, and maintain strategic competitive advantages.

The book looks at case studies of business operations, seasonality, destination image, and the development of business networks. 

Modern Winemaking - Modern Winemaking has quite a bit of useful information, and it's well-written and informative. However, this is not a book for beginning home winemakers. If you're looking for more advanced info on wine chemistry than can be found in the introductory books then give this book a try. 

Successful Wine Marketing - Successful Wine Marketing explains the principles, logistics, and strategies of wine marketing and sales, helping any winery or distributor understand the market, find a niche, and develop a successful plan. 

Full of descriptions, tips, and real world examples from both wine and business experts, this book distills the lessons and practical knowledge that come out of the highly regarded University of California at Davis short course, given each summer in conjunction with the Office international de la vigne et du vin (OIV). 


"When the water of a place is bad it is safest to drink none that has not been filtered through either the berry of a grape, or else a tub of malt. These are the most reliable filters yet invented." -- Samuel Butler, Samuel Butler’s Notebooks

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