Winery owners and winemakers nationwide will be in town Tuesday for wine tasting at the Jim Thorpe Association and Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. Proceeds from the event benefit the organization’s Bright Path programs, which affords competitive sports opportunities for kids and provides drug prevention education.

As the major sponsor, Premium Brands will provide all the wines with the exception of one: the Switzer Family Vineyards Cabernet.

A marriage of sports and wine, the event suits Barry Switzer, the former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys football coach, whose family owns a Napa Valley vineyard.

“The program encourages good health, a positive attitude, teamwork and discipline. We’re very happy to be a part of helping these programs that do so much for kids in Oklahoma,” said Rick Naifeh, owner of Premium Brands.

Naifeh said involving Switzer was a natural choice.

“Everyone knows who Coach is,” Naifeh said. “It’s a sports museum, and the proceeds benefit athletic programs for Oklahoma kids.”

Eighteen other wineries will be represented, including some of Napa’s finest, like Michael Keenan and Steven Honig. Bill Stoller of Oregon’s Stoller Vineyards and Chehalem wineries will pour his outstanding Pinot Noir. Oklahoma native Ridge Watson will pour his Joullian wines from Monterey, Calif.

The event features some of the best wines available in the state and food from 13 of the metro’s best restaurants and private clubs.

For wine connoisseurs, this will be the first chance for many Oklahomans to taste the new Alpha Omega wines. Arriving in-state recently, the wines are the result of a joint venture between two stars of the wine world: winemaker Jean Hoefliger and the world-renowned palate of Michel Rolland.

Keenan’s wines are very popular in Oklahoma. A frequent visitor to the market, he even produced a special meritage for Ranch Steakhouse, 3000 W. Britton, called Stallion. His and many of the other wines are available at steakhouses around the metro, including Mahogany Prime Steakhouse, 3241 W. Memorial.

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