The wine scene in Arizona is relatively new despite having a long history of regional winemaking that dates back to the Spanish missionaries in the 1700s, spanning only the last few decades. As anyone knows, when it comes to wine, age is an important factor. This is one reason many Arizona wines remain a well-kept secret; the industry hasn’t had time to establish the kind of status and notoriety that sends thousands and thousands of wine lovers to Napa Valley each year. But that doesn’t mean you should discount the quality and variety of wine grown and aged at local vineyards across the state.
The Arizona Wine Growers Association says there are 45 licensed wineries in the state which only makes sense as parts of the state have ideal conditions for growing grapes. Several of those wine producers are on Fill Your Plate. There are currently three primary vineyard regions in the state, Verde Valley in the North, Sonoita and Elgin in the South, and the greater Wilcox area in the southeast. The mixture of the dry hot climate of the desert and the cooler, more moderate temperatures at night found at the right elevation make for good grapes.
As we headed into April, we also headed into spring wine season where wineries and vineyards are rolling out the red carpet and welcoming wine lovers to festivals, open houses, and tastings. For those who love wine, a trip to Arizona wine country can open your eyes to some of the fantastic wines made right here at home. Check out some of these great events happening around the state in the next few weeks.
- The 34th Blessing of the Sonoita Vineyard event will feature the blessing itself, winery tours, and wine tasting. The event is planned for April 28th in Elgin beginning at 10AM.
- The 11th Annual Wine, WoMEN, & Jazz FUNdraiser is schedule to take place at the Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, April 28th from 4-6:30PM. Join the fun and help raise money for the Arizona Women’s Partnership charities while partaking in delicious food, fine wine, and great music.
- The Prescott Fine Art and Wine Festival will celebrate its 26th year on Mother’s Day, May 12-13 beginning at 9AM. There is no cost to join the celebration which will feature wine, music, and shopping.
You can also enjoy a bottle of wonderful Arizona wine in the comfort of your own home. Arizona Farm Bureau members Pillsbury Wine Company and Dos Cabezas Wineworks offer a selection of local wines that can be found in many retailers throughout the state.
- 7 Things to Eat on a Stick (fillyourplate.org)
- 8 Great Ways to Celebrate National Tortilla Chip Day (fillyourplate.org)
- 2012 Food Trends to Fill Your Plate (fillyourplate.org)