Waters Edge Winery might be a familiar name for a few. Or perhaps it conjures a scene in which dark-green bottles adorn with bright, colorful labels tip into full, rounded glasses. A group of spirited people, as they cheer in toast, are also enjoying an expanse of beach front somewhere. Or so you might imagine if this is what the name inspires in your mind’s eye. Alas, you’re not in California, because this is Oklahoma City. Therefore a seafront is just not in the cards for you. However at 712 N. Broadway Ave. you’ll find a new kind of wine bar opening up in OKC. It’s nestled among the other shops on North Broadway’s historic Automobile Alley.
So the keyword here is: Speak Easy.
And when you step inside this location, it has that kind of ambiance in places. Especially along the walls in the upstairs corridor, which leads into the private event space. This is where you’ll find the real view. But the hallway, not pictured, should be noted for its own sexy vibe. The lighting glows in that long dimly-lit space. It suggests: possibilities, expectations, and something of an anticipation.
I met one of the co-owners at Waters Edge Winery, Sarah Edwards, to take a tour before their grand-opening next month on September 18th. The other owners are Adam Edwards and Roger Cude. This event coincides with Automobile Alley’s monthly third Thursdays Shop Hop event too.
I discovered as we walked past the bottling room, where groups of 10 and under can bottle their own wine blends and choose customized labels, that this enterprise differs when compared to places like Urban Wineworks (in the Plaza District, and is keen to use Oklahoma grapes) because their grapes come from all over the world. This opens up the palate, as it were, to many more varieties of wine than one expects. You can check those out on their website and of course take a look at prices. Although Edwards said they’re keeping the price points between $14.00-35.00 a bottle. They’ll also do tapas and other kinds of appetizers on site. And of course, this is a wine bar, so expect membership packages and locker space for your bottles of wine.
Once fully operational, this will be the place to find all the wine-happy folks circulating. One can imagine “wine and pallet”-style painting parties, public and private events, and nights of live music. Edwards said they’ll also have classes geared towards cultivating other tastes as well. For instance, a class on how to roll a cigar is in the works. Other points of interest: how to order a satisfying bottle of wine at a restaurant for your extra-special date night. Sometimes it’s a display of confidence in little details that can help seal the deal.
Speaking of deals, this location is about a year’s worth of work in the undertaking. Edwards said the plan had been to open much, much earlier. But things have a way of taking longer than expected. And to be fair, they’re new to the industry. Edwards and her husband were pharmaceutical reps doing very well for themselves when her husband Adam won a trip to Napa Valley.
One week later they’d fallen in love with the life.
“We were like, ‘Wow’,” said Edwards, “But it’s not just drinking it. We actually like to dig into where the grapes are coming from, and who they are coming from, and the farmers that put in all the time.”
But it’s not a cheap, nor risk-free industry. Edwards said they know of friends in California who’ve lost stores of their wine during an earthquake. Nature, or in the case of Oklahoma, frack happens. So I had to ask if there were any panic points in leaving a stable company job for an entrepreneurial one.
“It’s scary enough to be an entrepreneur,” she said, “but then there are a lot of people who see it as a snooty industry and that’s one of the biggest things we want to do away with, because we don’t want people to think wine is a snobby drink. It’s really not, it’s in the Earth just as much as beer is. We want it to be fun, and it’s as Roger says ‘Honestly, it’s just grape juice.’ ”
The other part of this venture, perhaps not as visible as the wine bar’s brand, is that the owners intend to support local arts through commercial opportunities. Whether those opportunities arrive in the form of events where musicians can play for parties, or local filmmakers are asked to shoot videos announcing the company’s arrival and a new wine (see example below), or artists are hired to design a new wine label, whatever the case, there are connections to be made.