Owner Chris Girouard founded Girouard Vines in 2007, but the history of our wines dates back almost half a century. In 1960, Chris’ father George Girouard, had a dream of cross-pollinating traditional European grapes with wild Native American grapes to breed a new hardy, great tasting wine-grape. He began growing wine-grapes in the backyard of the Girouard’s Oklahoma City home.
George, a Tulsa native, discovered after several years that many of the traditional wine grape varietals (i.e., of the vinifera species) were difficult to consistently grow in Oklahoma due to their propensity to contract disease due to the extreme climate changes in Oklahoma.
In the early 1970’s, George began to create his own hybrid grapevines in his the backyard of his family home by cross-pollinating traditional premium red wine-grape vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with indigenous grapevines that he and other grape-breeders in the area found growing in the wild.
Thirty-five years and tens of thousands of seedlings later, George Girouard had at least four crosses – new hybrid varietals – with enough promise to warrant commercial testing.
The four varieties from the George Girouard Hybrid Collection that are being grown by Girouard Vines bud late, ripen late, are cold hardy, heat tolerant and have very open clusters, thus making them more fungus resistant.
Additionally, due to Oklahoma’s hot and humid summers, by the time traditional vinifera wine grape varietals are ripe, they often have a very low acid content. By contrast, the four crosses from the George Girouard Hybrid Collection have a very high acid content when ripe, making them well-suited for winemaking in this region and for blending with traditional vinifera wine grape varietals grown in the region, a particularly promising characteristic.
Not many family-owned wineries produce wine from grapes they bred themselves. That’s why we’re so proud of Girouard Vines Brand Wine. In our short history, Girouard Vines has grown into an award-winning winery and tasting room. With every bottle we produce, we honor George’s dream and strive to fulfill his legacy.