MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 21, 2013

Wine tasting takes wings in butterfly garden

— Gary and Sally Lehman do not agree on wine.

“She likes it cold. I like it room temperature,” Gary Lehman said. “She likes it sweet. I like it dry.”

However, the Fort Gibson couple found a common ground Saturday at the Muskogee Rotary Club’s Party in the Park. The annual wine-tasting event featured nine wineries, two breweries and seven food vendors at Honor Heights Park’s new Papilion and Butterfly Garden.

Rotary Party in the Park co-chair Nita McClellan said the butterfly garden offered twice as much space as past venues.

“And having the flowers blooming just adds to the enjoyment,” she said, referring to the tulip beds tiptoeing in a kaleidoscope of hues and patterns.

McClellan said last year’s Party in the Park drew 700 to 750 visitors. She said she hopes to 1,000 this year.

“We have people coming from Oklahoma City, Drumright, Poteau,” she said. “I talked to a lot of people who said this was their first time at the park.”

The Lehmans said they found plenty of wines to sample this year.

“I’m looking for a dry red wine and she’s looking for a sweet white wine,” Gary Lehman said after taking sips from the Native Spirits Winery booth.

“I tried the blush wine here. It’s real good,” Sally Lehman said.

The event also gave Shelby Clark an opportunity to introduce her daughter, Rebecca Clark, to the variety of wines available. They noted their preferences with a star system, one star for good, two for very good and three for “we’d buy it,” Shelby Clark said.

“She just turned 21, so we’re seeing where her tastes lie,” Shelby Clark said. “We’re discovering semi-sweet wines are where her tastes lie.”

The women said they had sampled about a dozen wines.

“I really want to find out what kind of wines I enjoy so that when we go out to eat, Mom and I can have a wine together,” Rebecca Clark said.

“We like to be familiar with the wines we take into the house so we can serve them to our guests,” Shelby Clark said. “I’m more of a red wine person myself.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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