Oklahoma growers may leave grapes to rot

• From The Oklahoman's NewsOK website:

Harvest is under way at Oklahoma vineyards, but some grapes will be left to rot on the vine because of poor sales, growers said.

Mack Hayes quit watering some of his vines this summer when it became clear he wouldn't sell all his grapes to wineries.

"If you can't move them, there's no need to harvest them," said Hayes, owner of Ozark Grapes in Mayes County.

Andrew Snyder, president of the Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association, said about 50 tons of grapes will go to waste this year because most Oklahoma wineries are buying bulk wine or juice concentrate from out of state to bottle and sell here. That's worth about $312,500 in unproduced wine.

"It's cheaper to buy bulk wine from California and put it in a bottle than it is to grow grapes in Oklahoma and bottle true Oklahoma wine," Snyder said. "There are enough Oklahoma grapes out there. It's just a business model decision that many wineries are making."

[Full story here.]

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