Monkey Island Winery was started at Royal Horse Ranch in 2010 and re-opened the fall of 2017. We are fermenting and bottling wine made from purchased juice, along with Cynthiana/Norton from our home vineyards along with Pear, Peach and Blackberry wines from Monkey Island fruit.
Our journey to winemaking began in 2004 with the establishment of “Grand Lake Vineyards”. We planted 50 Cynthiana/Norton vines, 50 Chardonel (a cross of Chardonnay x Sevyal, first cloned made in 1953) and 25 Grafted Cabernet Sauvignon. We planted an additional 500 vines in 2005 followed by 108 Grafted Cabernet Sauvignon at a development named “Cabernet Bay” in 2006 and 2007.
Val has been collecting wines since 1970 in Boston, taught Dining Room Service for “Johnson and Wales Culinary School” in 1980, opened “The Forum”, a high end Italian restaurant in Providence where he wrote the wine list. He increased his wine knowledge in Chicago managing the “Wine Room” at the “95th Restaurant” for 5 years in the John Hancock Building. He hosted, along with Michael Broadbent the pre-auction dinner for Christies Auction House, handling wines going back to the 1800’s. Val has been a Server, General Manager, Head Chef, Wine Contributor for several Chicago papers,
Maitre d’ Hotel and Food & Beverage Director.
During his 23 years living on Grand Lake, he has
worked at the “Shebang” Restaurant, the “Greenery Room” in the “Shangri-La Resort”, “Arrowhead” and “Cherokee Yacht Club”, two private clubs on Duck Creek. Val got his first taste of winery and vineyard work training with Marsha and Gary Butler at “Summerside Vineyards and Winery” in Vinita
and attended several symposiums in Arkansas, Missouri and, of course, Oklahoma. With his wife Nancy, they started Royal Horse Ranch, Monkey Island Trail & Hay Rides and Grand Lake Horse Camp, all
viable businesses on Monkey Island.
“We make good everyday wine for every “Grand” day!”
Established in 2017, Monkey Island Cottages is the newest/neatest place to stay for an overnight visit on Grand Lake. Each Cottage is named for and decorated for a familiar grape. The “Cabernet” Cottage has
overtones of a glass of bright young red Cabernet Sauvignon on the main wall, with accent colors in shades of soft pink. The “Chardonnay” Cottage features an elegant “Golden” entrance wall with traces of yellow on the other walls and ceilings. Our “Merlot” Cottage starts with a deep purple “Nose” as you enter and shades
of lavender compliment the main color.
Each Cottage has Two Full Beds on the main level, with Two Twin Beds up the stairs in the Loft. All are equipped with a Flat Screen “Smart” HDTV, Wi-Fi, Electric Fireplace, a built in Heat & Air Conditioner, K-Cup Coffee Maker, Microwave, Refrigerator, DirecTV and all are “No Smoking” and “Pet and Kid Friendly”!
There are Front and Back Decks where you can enjoy your coffee and watch the sun rise over the vineyard or savor a glass of wine as the sun slowly sets past the trees in the west.
Please give Val a call at 918/257-1166
for additional information about Tastings and Cottage rental.
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