Arizona Wines – Really?

Did you know they made wine in Arizona? You might assume so since they make wine in every state in the US. But did you know they make very good wine in Arizona from grapes they grow there? Well, they do and Nancy and I are are headed down to two wine areas south of Tucson to taste their wines.  Willcox and Sonoita are located at about 4100 and 4880 feet in elevation, and the areas are cooler than much of the state. Some of the vineyards are up as high as 5000 feet.

We have been there once before and found out quite a bit about making wine in Arizona. On this trip we are going to spend a little more time and do more research and more in depth tasting than before.

The winemakers there have a lot of challenges to overcome. Winters are cold and we have seen pictures of snow covered vineyards. Early frost, monsoon rains and hail in the summer occur periodically. Having to be able to change your harvest schedule at the last minute can be nerve-racking. Watching the clouds form and hoping it is just rain and not hail, well, you get the picture. Yet with all of this they make some very nice wines that are uniquely Arizona. You aren’t going to find many California style wines and I applaud them for finding their own style.

You’ll find many different varieties, French, Spanish, Italian and others. There is a lot of experimentation going on to see what works best in the various soils. They have been seriously making wine there since about 1973.

Well, enough for now. This is just a teaser for our series of articles on southern Arizona wineries. Stay tuned for the rest!

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