By Jeff Shultz
Pauls Valley’s first vineyard and wine shop will celebrate its grand opening Friday, Oct. 6, with a variety of events planned to introduce the business to the general public.
Valley Vineyards and Winery is the vision of retired banker Chauncey Klingensmith and Friday’s grand opening will showcase the wines and the beautiful facility Klingensmith has created one mile north of Pauls Valley on the west side of I-35.
Grand Opening activities begin at noon Friday and will last until 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to a free taste of the five varieties of Oklahoma wines Valley Vineyards offers.
“We have Tanager Dry Red, Red Hawk Sweet Red, Chardonnay, Hummingbird Sweet White, White Zinfandel and Mockingbird Blush,” Klingensmith explained.
Along with the alcoholic wines, Valley Vineyards also carries four varieties of non-alcoholic juices as well as wine accessories and gifts.
Valley Vineyards’ facility is also a perfect place for a variety of social events, Klingensmith added.
“We are available for tasting parties, class or family reunions, weddings and wedding receptions and business meetings,” he said.
“We’ve already had a wedding out here and our plans down the road are to have four shops on the west side of the patio and one on the south side where people can hold special events.”
While the beverages that are presently stocked at Valley Vineyards and Winery are actually bottled in other parts of the state, Klingensmith said he hopes to be turning out his own locally-produced products in the very near future.
“We have two different types of grapes that will be planted in the vineyard next to the Interstate. We’ve already planted about an acre of Cabernet on the south end. They’re taking off and have done fairly well,” He noted.
“The Cabernet is a red, fairly dry wine that goes well with meats. On the north end we’ll be planting Riesling grapes next spring. Riesling is a sweeter, white wine that is excellent with desserts or for drinking by itself. But we won’t actually be able to sell grapes from the winery for about three more years.”
According to the Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association, small wineries are important to rural economies. They generate capital investment, create jobs, spur tourism and economic development, advance farmland protection and discourage urban sprawl.
A typical new family winery will provide regular employment for five to ten people, and will have annual sales of $200,000 to $1.5 million, the association reports.
After Valley Vineyards’ grand opening Friday, normal hours of operation will be from noon until 6:30 p.m., Wed. through Sat., and 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sundays.