Favorite

Grape expectations 

HOUSE: Why go to California?
  • HOUSE: Why go to California?

Arkansans will soon be able to bet money in an official state lottery while drinking wine made from an official state grape. This was never possible before.

The 2009 state legislature — a “do-everything” legislature, one might say — not only established procedures for operation of the state lottery that voters authorized last fall, and which is expected to come on-line later this year, but  also designated the Cynthiana grape as Arkansas's official grape (Act 547 of 2009).

Rep. Beverly Pyle of Cedarville was the chief sponsor of the bill that became Act 547. She acted at the request of a constituent, Audrey House, the owner of Chateau aux Arc vineyards and winery in Altus. Chateau aux Arc (pronounced “Ozark”) is one of several wineries in the area.

House said she sought the legislation to draw attention not only to the Cynthiana grape, but to the Arkansas wine industry. “A lot of Arkansans don't realize we have a treasure in our own back yard,” House said. “You don't have to go to California to visit wine country.” She also said she wanted to get her feet wet in Arkansas government and politics for possible future legislative efforts, such as changing the Arkansas laws governing the shipment of wine.

Another grower and vintner in the Altus area, Michael Post of Mount Bethel Winery, said the Cynthiana is native to Arkansas and Missouri and is “considered by many to be the best native American grape for dry, red, dinner wine.”

The Cynthiana is disease-resistant, Post said, and in the 19th century, the Cynthiana root was used to save European grape crops. That same quality is attracting much notice today, with many nurseries around the country asking for Cynthiana plants and wood. Post fills their requests. He figures that more name recognition for Cynthiana is to his benefit. He has acres of the grape.

“A lot of people want to grow grapes organically,” Post said. “You can grow Cynthiana with very little herbicide or fungicide.”

Cynthiana wine is not yet widely available in Little Rock, at least not that we could find, but the drive up I-40 to the wine country is pleasant. Aux Arc, Bethel and several other wineries offer free tours and wine tastings.   

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • The ballad of Fred and Yoko

    How one of the world's foremost Beatles collectors died homeless on the streets of Little Rock.
    • Mar 31, 2016
  • Separate and unequal

    Sue Cowan Morris won the battle to equalize pay of black and white teachers. It cost her her job.
    • Jun 11, 2015
  • LR Confidential 2015

    In exchange for anonymity, local workers get real with the Arkansas Times about what they see and do on the job.
    • Jun 25, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Cover Stories

  • Plant of the year

    The legalization of medical marijuana was Arkansas's most significant news of 2016.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Profile of a plant

    What science does and doesn't tell us about the health benefits of cannabis.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • Other lights

    Honorable mentions for 2016 Arkansan of the Year, with plenty of solid contenders for the crown.
    • Jan 19, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation