Wine was once such an expensive commodity that the rich conspicuously spilled it on their golden capes instead of wasting it invisibly in their stomachs. Afford enough wine to braggadociously spill it with today's Groupon: for $10, you get a wine tasting for two and a tour of the Chapel Creek Winery in El Reno, plus a bottle of wine and wine glass to take home (up to a $26 total value). The winery is open for tours from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.
Operated by Redlands Community College as a research vineyard for students, Chapel Creek Winery sprawls across 110 acres of fertile soil tended by the Darlington Agriculture Education and Research Center. Andrew Snyder, a professor of viticulture and enology, guides the 30-minute tour around the grounds of the historic Old Spanish–style chapel, introducing you to 46 different kinds of grape, then moving on before the grapes can ask if you want to see their vacation photos. Once the tour is over, head back to the fruit-smashing villa for five samples of Chapel Creek's most intoxicating grape juices (a $6 value). As a token of fermentation, guests can choose a bottle of chardonnay, meritage, riesling, Brinton's Blend, or Reno City red wine (up to a $15 value per bottle) to bring home and raise as their own, only to eventually consume its insides and dispose of its fragile shell. Chapel Creek will also give you a complimentary wine glass (a $5 value), which makes for a more practical "drinking horn" than the traditional stoppered sousaphone.
Unlike tequila shots and shotgunned root beer floats, wine is a slow sip, making it a more enjoyable libation. Plus, wine can help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and progression of disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. If you have a group of eight or more, call ahead so that Chapel Creek Winery can hide most of the wine before it's stored in your belly casks.
Chapel Creek Winery
Chapel Creek winery, located in the historic 109-year-old Southern Hotel adjacent to the Canadian County historical museum, offers informative wine tasting experiences to elucidate the finer points of viniculture. Guests visiting the winery can watching wine-makers in action as they produce reds and whites, and then sample the fruits of their labor during tastings. An on-site gift shop lets guests take home some of the goodies, while a 20-minute trolley ride through historic, downtown Reno gives visitors a little taste of the city at large.
5005 Darlington Rd.
El Reno, Oklahoma 73036