Oklahoma Wine Current Issues


Oklahoma Winemaker Licensees,

Effective tomorrow, July 1, I will be reassigned as Captain of the Oklahoma City Enforcement Division. Roger Chandler will be assigned to Winery/Wholesale Enforcement. He can be reached at 405-521-3484. After today, please direct all inquires regarding Oklahoma wineries to him.

It has been a pleasure to have worked with the Oklahoma wine industry the past 3 1/2 years. I feel that together, the ABLE Commission and the wine industry have each accomplished much during my tenure. I wish each of you the best of luck.

I would ask that you share this e-mail with the other Oklahoma wineries that you may have contact with.


Captain Dennis McGowen, #4
OK ABLE Commission

AG Opinions
Documents from the Attorney General’s website Regarding the opinions given about the shipment of wine and the definition of a winery.

Read Document
(Word Format)



Pruning Without Pain
Article from the January/February 2005 issue of Practical Winery & Vineyard Magazine.

This is an article about how distributors buy power against winery owners. (PDF)

This is an excellent resource for insect and plant disease published by Oklahoma State University Entomology and Plant Pathology. 


Direct Wine Shipments
Good news came on a ruling by the supreme court. By a 5-4 ruling the ban on direct wine shipments is found to be unconstitutional. 

Read the Ruling

From the Journal Record
Vineyard operators await infusion of new grapevines
(Link opens in a new window)


 Did you know grapes can be harmful to dog?
One of our vineyard owners submitted this article for all of you with doggie pals.

The Wrath of Grapes *PDF
by Charlotte Means, D.V.M.

National Wine Industry Amicus Brief Filed
As Supreme Court Prepares to Consider Constitutional 
Issues Surrounding Direct-to-Consumer Wine Sale Issue

Yesterday, WineAmerica—a national trade association representing 800 wineries in 48 states, joined by 45 allied organizations, including winery and winegrower associations, farm bureaus and wine industry marketing organizations (see attached list)—filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that is certain to have profound implications for the future of the rapidly growing regional and local wine industry throughout the country.

The case, Granholm, et al. v. Eleanor Heald, asks the Court to address the plight of American wineries and consumers unable to conduct business because of archaic, protectionist and discriminatory state laws outlawing the direct shipment of wine.  Under the guise of the 21st Amendment, many states effectively exclude out-of-state wineries from their markets by mandating a requirement for all wine to be commercially distributed through wholesalers that have no incentive to market the products of small wineries.  Such a requirement contradicts the basic tenets of our constitutional framers, embodied in the dormant Commerce Clause, that the several states should be united in a single national market and that states may not erect protectionist barriers to products from out-of-state businesses.

WineAmerica’s amicus brief profiles American wineries and highlights the fact that Michigan’s discriminatory law, allowing in-state wineries to ship directly to consumers but not extending that marketing channel to out-of-state wineries, is a fundamental violation of a key constitutional principle.  It further analyzes Michigan’s alleged policy justifications—the prevention of underage drinking and collection of taxes—and concludes, in accordance with the ruling of the Sixth Circuit, and a recent Federal Trade Commission report, that there are adequate non-discriminatory means for Michigan to achieve its regulatory goals.

Commenting on the brief, WineAmerica President David Sloane said, “Many states, including Michigan , prohibit wineries in other states from shipping their products directly to consumers, while permitting local wineries to engage in such commerce.  This leaves out-of-state wineries at the mercy of cartel-like distributors who prefer to market the top 50 to 100 wine brands promising the largest profits and easiest sales, and excluding wineries with smaller followings and limited production capacities.   By refusing to market the products of small wineries, these distributors are effectively preventing consumers in discriminatory states from buying most of the wine labels in this country.”

“What’s worse,” Sloane continued, “politically powerful wholesaler interests in these states have ruthlessly opposed the establishment of any alternative market mechanism, such as limited direct shipment, to help smaller wineries cope with this problem.  It’s no coincidence that the states with the greatest consumer demand for wine remain closed to direct shipments from out-of-state wineries, including New York (third largest market), Florida (second), Texas (fourth), New Jersey (fifth), Massachusetts (sixth), Ohio (twelfth) and Michigan (eleventh).  Wholesalers have fought at every turn to prevent any diminution of their exclusivity, insisting that every drop of alcohol go through their warehouses, while at the same time refusing to market the products of small wineries.  This untenable discrimination must be brought to an end by the Supreme Court,” Sloane said.

“The local wine industry, encouraged by state laws that enable producers to work outside of normal distribution channels, remains the fastest growing form of agritourism in the U.S. today.  However,” Sloane warned, “unless the Supreme Court makes good on the Constitution’s guaranty of a national marketplace, America ’s wineries and their growth potential will be severely handicapped.”

Find out more in the complete brief
(Adobe Acrobat Reader Format)

Fact Sheet on Local and Regional Wine Industry

Industry Growth

  • Since 1980, the number of U.S. wineries has quadrupled, from 919 to 3,726 in 2004.

  • All 50 states now have wineries, and more than half are in states other than California.

  • Most states have fostered the growth of local wineries by allowing them to have tasting rooms, sell directly to consumers and ship wine to in-state customers.

Structure of Industry

  • Of the 3,700+ wineries in the U.S., all but the top 50 to 100 producers are small, family owned and operated farm enterprises.

  • A typical winery occupies 20 acres and produces 4,000 cases of wine per year, either from its own fruit, or fruit grown by local farmers.

  • More than 70 percent of the nation’s wineries produce fewer than 10,000 cases annually, and more than four-fifths produce fewer than 25,000 cases.

  • According to U.S. Treasury Department data, the 50 largest American wineries account for 87 percent of the wine sold by volume.

Benefits of Local Wine Industries

  • 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.

  • In areas where wineries flourish, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, inns, retail boutiques, farm and other craft businesses also succeed.



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