The owners of Tidal School Winery and Vineyard chose a fitting venue for educating the public about their selection of European-style and Oklahoma sweet wines—an 8,000-square-foot historic schoolhouse. Originally built in the 1920s to educate John D. Rockefeller’s workforce, the building now houses a banquet hall and tasting room where visitors can swirl, sip, and see who can spit take the farthest with the vineyard’s wines. Further entertaining the senses, the winery hosts monthly musical events that are free to the public and spotlight Oklahoma-based bands.
Papa Dio's owner and head chef Bill Bonadio is a strong believer in tradition. His restaurant has spanned three generations of Bonadios, who have carefully crafted hearty Italian cuisine served on tables across two dining rooms. Boasting a sprawling list of more than 160 items, the menu runs the epicurean gamut through classic spaghetti and meatballs to Dio's original fried pizzas, while their new "Little Menu" includes items under $10. At the wine bar, tables draped in crisp white linens surround a horseshoe-shaped bar that was made with wood salvaged from an 18th-century home in Louisiana and a horseshoe salvaged from an 18th-century giant horse.
After a lifetime of practice as an ob-gyn and 10 years as an amateur winemaker, Gary Strebel’s vinting hobby hit a bump in the road: His fermenting creations were taking up too much space in the kitchen, and his wife, Sherry, was tired of the mess. After a lengthy licensing process, Gary moved his operation into the barn, first taking his wines to the public in 2007. The now-renovated hundred-year-old barn currently serves as both a winery and gift shop, which frees the Strebels’ kitchen space for the family and frees visitors from having to wedge themselves between the refrigerator and the dishwasher. In addition to its overflowing wine racks, the gift shop also fills its rustic bounds with paraphernalia such as glasses, billfolds, jewelry, scarves and purses, and Cowboy and Sooner memorabilia.
Determined to keep their students interested and engaged, the instructors of Wine and Palette hold classes at myriad locations throughout the city. Each class focuses on a different art piece, be it a painting of a stained-glass window, a multihued owl, or an autumn farm scene. Additionally, each artist brings their own outlook and skills to the class, helping students learn specific brush strokes and how to touch up their daily driver so it looks just like the sheriff’s squad car.
With Western-themed labels and names such as Dustbowl chardonnay and Roadrunner syrah, the wines at Put a Cork in it announce their regional flavors on the bottle and on tasters' tongues. The selection of locally produced wines varies throughout the year, much like the selection of snowflakes on a movie set, although it typically includes about 15 blends and single-varietal bottlings for visitors to sample or purchase. Featuring dry, unctuous reds as well as fruity whites, the winery doesn't overlook any taste buds or sweet teeth.
The staff strives to maintain a relaxed environment by leading informal, yet informative, tastings for small or large groups, as well as hosting occasional live musical performances.
Throughout wedding season, bells in the century-old Spanish chapel at Chapel Creek Winery ring out across the grape fields. Students of Redlands Community College's enology and viticulture program tend to the vines’ more than 46 grape varieties, taking part in each step of the winemaking process. They grow, crush, and reanimate the grapes before fermenting and bottling the wine. Guests visiting the winery can tour the fields, watch the students in action, and stomp on grapes inside wooden barrels.