A POLITICAL QUAGMIRE WITHIN THE OKLAHOMA WINE INDUSTRY

Jeffery M. Widener

Abstract


The history of viticulture and vinification in Oklahoma began in the early 1890's. As time passed and Oklahoma achieved statehood in 1907, the stipulations laid down within the newly constructed state constitution forbade wineries from selling their products to anyone. In 1918, the United States (U.S.) created a prohibition on alcohol that would permeate all alcohol-related industries. In 1933, Prohibition ended nationally and many alcohol-related industries reopened. It was not until 1959, however, that Oklahoma repealed prohibition. Stagnated for the next forty years because they still could not sell their products right from the source, the grape growers and wine makers stepped forward in 1999 to urge Oklahoma legislators to change the Oklahoma statutes and allow wineries to sell/ship their products directly. ln 2000, the Oklahoma populace voted to change the Oklahoma statutes. Roadblocks, however, continue to arise and hamper the growth of the industry in the state.

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