Thursday, April 15, 2010

Summerside Winery

Local Winery Can't Find It's Roots

Ten years ago, a winery in Oklahoma would have only been a figment of Marsha Butler’s imagination. Known for their strict command on alcohol, Oklahoma liquor laws prevented any Oklahoman from starting their own winery until they were repealed in 2000. “We were so tired of our desk jobs, and we saw that the law had been repealed, so we decided to jump on the opportunity to open a winery,” said Butler. But now, more liquor laws may stand in their way of becoming a success.

The Butlers count their blessings, however. In 2004, a law was repealed that prevented Oklahoma liquor vendors from shipping their liquor outside the state. The Butlers previously skirted around this by taking their liquor to out-of-state festivals, in hopes that it would bring customers to their winery for more. “When you’re first introducing your brand, festivals just seem like the best solution,” said Shirley.

Butler said she feels the next hurdle will be getting wine into grocery stores. “People from others states laugh at us,” she said, “They just go ‘Well, that’s Oklahoma for you.’ ” The Butlers actively fight the prohibition of liquor in Oklahoma, and they ask that those on their side visit to help lift the strict shipping laws. Butler hopes lifting these laws will bring the cultural sigh of relief Oklahoma desperately needs.

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