By: Deanna Rebro | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: February 2010
Event coordinator Rick Radloff and wife, Barbara, celebrate the largest wine festival in the state.
Ever wish you could swirl a glass of wine like the professionals and tell its life story? Ever wish you knew why they did those things and what they are even talking about?
Enjoy a day of education, fun and celebration of Oklahoma’s wine industry at the Flying Fez Wine Festival, February 27 at the Bedouin Shrine Temple in Muskogee. This annual event, now in its seventh year, is not just a showcase for Oklahoma wineries; it is a wine experience in itself.
Fourteen of Oklahoma’s finest wineries will come together for what has become the largest wine festival in the state. All types of wines, including many award winners that rival those from Napa Valley, will be on hand to taste. Dry wine. Dessert wine. Hot mulled wine. Iced wine smoothies. Even jalapeño pepper and mango wine. It’s all presented in a warm, friendly and casual Oklahoma-style setting.
The Flying Fez Wine Festival attracts people from ages 21 to 90, from as far away as New York, Nevada, California, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas. They all come together to learn, sample and enjoy old favorites and new wines. Many take advantage of festival discounts and buy their wine supply for the whole year.
Wine was once a thriving industry in Oklahoma in the 1920s. The Dust Bowl and Prohibition in the 1930s wiped out the industry, but it is now making a strong rebound. Event coordinator Rick Radloff and his wife, Barbara, have created an event that put Oklahoma back on the map for its wine production. The Flying Fez Wine Festival has been featured on television’s “Discover Oklahoma” and was recognized in “Southern Living” magazine.
“This is an opportunity to really get to know wine,” explains Rick. “You not only sample the wines, but you can talk with the owners and winemakers. They’re more than happy to answer questions and share their vast knowledge.”
Guests can learn and enjoy at their own pace. There is no need to move in groups, as is customary at many other wine tasting events.
Barbara recalls that one of the most-heard comments through the years has been an appreciation for the tips on wine pairings. Just like adding cream to coffee changes its texture and taste, food – when interacting with wine – will affect its flavor. In fact, different ingredients and preparation methods will bring out different taste sensations with the same bottle of wine. By talking with the winemakers, guests can learn what works best with typical dishes, cheeses and international cuisine.
Of course, the day would not be complete without wonderful food to go with the wine. Sponsor restaurant, The Canebrake, will prepare and serve meals all day. Easy-listening live music from Mike Dunn and friends, and continuous spring fashion shows from Dillard’s of Muskogee, will make it a full day of relaxing entertainment.
The festival is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 27. Advance tickets can be purchased at the web store for $10 per person plus $3 shipping. Tickets at the door are $10, cash only. Discounts are available for groups of 25 or more. All food is extra.
The Bedouin Shrine Temple is located at 201 S. 6th St. in Muskogee. There is plenty of free parking. Tour buses can be accommodated. The Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott is offering a discounted rate for festival attendees.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.