Stone Bluff Cellars Winery to open March 20

Ponca City Now - February 23, 2015 12:38 pm

Stone Bluff Cellars Winery will open to the public from 4 to 7 p.m. March 20 , beginning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony sponsored by the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce at 4 p.m.

Free samples and farm tours will be available until 7 p.m. TS Fork, the premier Oklahoma “Farm to Fork” restaurant located at 100 W. Grand, Tonkawa, will cater the opening event, featuring signature foods from local farms. The menu includes certified Hereford beef and Shropshire smoked leg of lamb from Silvertop Farm & Vineyards and specialty artisan cheeses from Milk Jug Dairy.

On Saturday, March 21 , Stone Bluff Cellars and Silvertop Farm & Vineyards will host the St. Kateri Blessing of the Vines at 5 p.m., which is free and open to the public. The Blessing event will be held at the new “Stone Bluff Island” venue and will honor the first Native American saint named in 2012 by the Catholic Church.

At 6 p.m., Stone Bluff Cellars and Silvertop Farm & Vineyards will sponsor a gourmet buffet dinner catered by TS Fork and featuring Silvertop signature beef and lamb, Milk Jug Dairy artisan cheeses, and various Oklahoma foods, wine and beer.

The evening events will include live entertainment, and silent and live auctions. A raffle drawing with choice of either two 2015 OSU Football Club Suite season tickets including Pistol Pete parking pass or a 2015 John Deere gator from P&K Equipment in Blackwell will highlight the evening.

All net proceeds will benefit the OSU Foundation Boone Pickens Match Program. Raffle tickets are $100 and dinner tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased at the Cherokee Strip Company, 409 East Grand Ave. in downtown Ponca City or by calling Amanda Carter at 580-304-9129 for phone orders. Dinner and raffle tickets are limited.

Stone Bluff Cellars is located at 6235 West Fountain Road and next door to Silvertop Farm & Vineyards, which is located at 6151 West Fountain Road.

Both venues are located in the Salt Fork River Valley that also includes the 101 Ranch Historical Landmark site and the historic Big V Ranch. Stone Bluff Cellars will be open for wine tastings and wine sales from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, beginning at the end of March.

The Cherokee Strip Company in the old Paris Furniture building in downtown Ponca City oversees all marketing, event and wedding venues, rentals and tour operations for Stone Bluff Cellars Winery and Silvertop Farm & Vineyards.

Four venues will be available beginning in June, including the Aqua Shed Party Barn, Stone Bluff Island, Hughes Homestead and the Rock House. For further information, contact Bruce Carter, General Manager, Cherokee Strip Company, at 580-304-1875 about venues, rentals and tours at Stone Bluff Cellars and Silvertop Farm & Vineyards.

Stone Bluff Cellars Winery

Stone Bluff Cellars was founded by Bob & Sandy McBratney near Haskell, Okla. They established its vineyards in 1997 and licensed its winery in 1999. Silvertop Farm & Vineyards recently acquired Stone Bluff Cellars and relocated it to a new Salt Fork River Valley home.

“We are very excited to acquire the Stone Bluff Cellars label and all of the McBratneys’ award-winning recipes," co-owner Mary Steichen said. "Bob and Sandy McBratney were founding members of the rebirth of the Oklahoma wine industry in the 1990s and have been dedicated winemakers in Oklahoma for almost 20 years. We are honored to carry forward their legacy established with the Stone Bluff Cellars label.”

Co-owner Tom Steichen said t he purchase of Stone Bluff Cellars was a perfect match for Silvertop Farm and Vineyards.

"Stone Bluff Cellars had three primary grapes in their vineyard that they used for winemaking – Chardonel, Vignoles, and Cynthiana," Tom Steichen said . "Silvertop already had Vignoles, which is a French-American grape variety like Riesling, and Cynthiana, which is considered the “Cabernet Sauvignon of the Ozarks,” planted in the Silvertop vineyard in 2008. We also planted or transplanted two acres of Chardonel in 2014 to complete the match to the Stone Bluff Cellars offerings.”

Generally wine and table grapes in the Kay County region are either American or French-American hybrid grapes for cold hardiness that withstands the cold northern Oklahoma winters, he said. Silvertop Farm & Vineyards also has one acre of Triaminette, a French-American hybrid for Gertwurztraminer, and three varieties of table grapes designated for the matriarch of the family, Ruth Steichen.

“My mother told me to plant her a few rows of table grapes since she is not really a wine drinker,” Mary Steichen said. “Double A Vineyards of New York recommended a diverse grouping of red, white and blue grapes for the table grapes in addition to providing all the wine grapes for both sides of the Silvertop Vineyards.”

“ The Stone Bluff Cellars operations require special skills that are different than our regular farm operations. We are thrilled to have Dan Gray, an experienced OSU food science graduate and cousin, managing our Stone Bluff Cellars operation and winemaking processes and Aubrey Griffith overseeing the Silvertop vineyard operations, which now total eight acres of grapes,” Mary Steichen said.

“While eight acres doesn’t sound like a lot of acreage, it will require a lot of dedicated attentiveness to bring the vineyard to full production. In addition, we are adding two new red grape varieties this year, Noiret and Chambourcin, to provide more options for blending and hopefully to help produce over 30 tons of grapes at full production levels,” she said.


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