MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

March 7, 2013

Wine fest features locals

Flying Fez festival set Saturday at Bedouin Shrine Temple

— Sex in the Vineyard usually draws the most attention. But then there’s Romance Getaway, Sweet Temptation, Naked Cowboy and Naked Cowgirl.

They are all names of sweet wines made by Steve Wakefield at the winery he and his wife, Pam, own. Wakefield Country Inn and Winery is 10 miles southwest of Stuart and five miles east of Gerty in the rolling hills. Pam, who is a teacher, manages the bed and breakfast and Steve is the winemaker.

They’ll bring their wines to the 10th annual Bedouin Shrine Flying Fez Wine Festival from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Bedouin Shrine Temple, 201 S. Sixth St. Cost is $20 and it all benefits Muskogee Bedouin Shrine Temple. The temple transports children and one family member to hospitals.

Wine fest organizer Stan Martin called it “the No. 1 wine festival in Oklahoma.” Other wineries participating are Black Sheep of Poteau, Blue Coyote Winery of Adair, Oak Hills of Chelsea, Plain View Winery of Lahoma, Stableridge of Stroud, Summerside Vineyards of Vinita, Whispering Vines of Tulsa, Woods and Waters of Anadarko and Whispering Meadows of McAlester.

“It’s a good thing people come,” Martin said. “We get to keep the doors open to the temple and keep the vans on the road. We never charge a family a single dime. You never stand so tall as when you help a kid.”

Martin, who has been a member for more than 30 years, said the group was called Flying Fez when it started years ago because members were pilots or military. Later, requirements were relaxed and members came from all walks of life.

There are 10 wineries, who pay an entry fee to participate. This will be the Wakefields first time to attend. Steve Wakefield said he’s heard good things about the festival and is looking forward to bringing his wines. He and his wife moved to their home in 1995. They started the bed and breakfast after they were empty-nesters. They grew grapes on the land and started playing with making wine.

“It was hit and miss,” Wakefield said.

They took wine making classes and kept trying. Three years ago, they made it a business. They have attended several wine festivals in the state. It’s a lot of work, he said, but the best way to let people sample his wines.

“We do enjoy meeting people at the B and B and winery,” he said.

A lot of people do “get a kick out of Sex in the Vineyard.”

“All are good tasting wines,” Wakefield said.

Martin said that’s what people love about the wine fest. They get to try them all and buy their favorites. At the Flying Fez Wine Festival, participants receive their own embossed wine glass, which cost the temple $900, Martin said.

“A lot of people come and buy a year supply of wine,” Martin said. “We ask that everyone drink responsibly.”

To complement the wine, a gourmet Italian lunch is being made by a crew led by member Jerry Davidson of Checotah. For $10, you’ll be served spaghetti, ravioli, chicken fettucine, bread, salad and dessert. It is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Funds from past wine fests have been used to remodel the temple kitchen and put a new roof on the building.

“It’s the world’s greatest philantropathy,” Martin said.

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