The Norman Transcript

News Features

September 22, 2013

Redbud Ridge Vineyard harvest yields friendships

NORMAN — Sharon Minor is one of a large group of friends and strangers who gather every year to help Tom and Jann Knotts harvest their grapes. The Knotts are the proprietors of Redbud Ridge Vineyard & Winery, located in southeast Norman.

Minor was a stranger who happened past the vineyard and decided to stop. By the time she left that day, she had volunteered to help with the next harvest. She’s been helping for six years now and has long since become a friend.

“I’m a veteran now,” she said.

Minor said after the netting is removed from the grapes, the volunteer crew uses clippers to cut the stems on clusters of deep purple grapes. The clusters go into a bucket and periodically someone comes around in a cart pulling a wagon and trades empty buckets for full ones.

On this sunny day, the harvest at Redbud feels more like a community picnic than a work session. The volunteer crew is fed a buffet-style breakfast in the shade of the trees that abut the vineyard.

A few of the harvesters are longtime friends. Others, like Minor, just thought it would be fun to harvest grapes. Tom Knotts said some come once out of curiosity. Many, however, return year after year. Each leaves with a bottle of Redbud, made in Oklahoma, wine.

Grape growing is an avocation that connects growers to the rhythm of the seasons. When the grapes reach vraison — that time when they change from green to red — the vines are covered with netting.

“Mother Nature shows up when you have something sweet,” Knotts said.

Birds, turkey, deer, possum and raccoons are among the wild creatures that would love to feast on the tasty fruit as it ripens on the vine. Critters are not the only concern. This year, the harvest yielded about half a normal crop because of late freezes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News Features
  • March Against Monsanto Protesters rally against agro giant Monsanto

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Rain did not deter protesters at the March Against Monsanto in Bricktown on Saturday evening. A button on one man’s shirt was typical of the attitude of many of the marchers, “I’m one of those people,” it read....

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Moore Med Cent Groundbreaking Community still grieving but looking toward future, new beginnings

    MOORE — One year after an EF-5 tornado devastated a core area of Moore that included the Moore Medical Center, the community gathered on the site of the former hospital to reflect and remember those who were lost....

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple mourns loss of young lives

    When the tornado hit, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands. On May 20, 2013, the couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make it to a 2:30 appointment near ...

    May 20, 2014

  • Interfaith group invites women to join

    Women of a variety of faiths brought prayers and dinner and shared peaceful dialogue recently at a Norman home. Malaka Elyazgi’s prayer sounded like a song tripping off her lips in her native tongue. The translation was equally poetic....

    April 28, 2014

  • DUal-state advance Tough field awaits Southmoore at dual state

    Southmoore’s history at Dual State is a short read. The totality of it is a first-round loss to eventual runner-up Muskogee by one point in last year’s tournament.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Myths about obesity

    The obesity epidemic is among the most critical health issues facing the United States. Although it has generated a lot of attention and calls for solutions, it also has served up a super-sized portion of myths and misunderstandings....

    December 28, 2013

  • How to tame an out-of-control kid

    Edith, a retired Capitol Hill staffer from Washington, was at the end of her rope last year over the mayhem her 5-year-old great-grandson Wayne was causing at preschool. “I was on speed dial” at the school, says Edith, who is raising two ...

    December 28, 2013

  • Experts decry ‘resolution dependency’

    One of the country’s best-known fitness center chains is launching an initiative to wean people from what it calls an over-dependence on New Year’s resolutions....

    December 26, 2013

  • The 12 annoying songs of Christmas

    It’s that time of year, when Christmas songs fill shops, restaurants and your home. While anything on repeat can drive you mad, these 12 tunes are some of the most annoying....

    December 8, 2013

  • Caring for a cut Christmas tree

    Cut Christmas trees must be watered and kept hydrated to last through the holidays and to prevent them from becoming fire hazards. This includes small tabletop trees....

    December 8, 2013