Best Arizona Wine: A-Z Guide to Arizona Wines by Variety and Region!

Let’s be honest, you probably don’t think  Arizona when you think about wine.

It may be to your surprise, but today there are a number of great wines that are being produced in the state of Arizona.

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Yes, even in the desert you can still get delicious wines.

Arizona’s Best Wines:

Dos Cabeza’s Aguileon

Aguileon is one of the signature blends from the Dos Cabeza Winery. The grapes that are used are grown in Willcox. Willcox is one of the viticulture regions that is in southeast Arizona. This is the region where most of the wine grapes are grown. This wine is award-winning. The 2015 vintage has been hailed as being one of the best bottles that you can find. This vintage was curated with Graciano grapes and Tempranillo grapes. These are grapes that are primarily grown in the warmer regions of Spain. The blend was created by rounding these grapes out with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Franc.

Burning Tree Cellar’s Trademarked 2017 Chardonnay

The Trademarked 2017 Chardonnay from Burning Tree Cellars is the best white wine that you will find in Arizona. This white wine did have a tie (which you will read about next) when they were choosing the best wines at recent wine competitions. This is a white that is perfect to enjoy with meals or when you just need to relax.

Rolling View Vineyard’s Bodega Pierce Malvasia Bianca

The Rolling View Vineyard’s Bodega Pierce Malvasia Bianca is a delicious white that tied with the previously mentioned wine for first place in a recent contest of Arizona wines. It has been touted as tasting like a dry muscat. This wine has a very full body and a higher level of acidity. It is a delicious wine that fades with a soapy finish. You will not be disappointed if you are looking for a good white and pick up a bottle of Bodega Pierce.

Bodega Pierce Rolling View Vineyard Malvasia Bianca | Vivino

Notes of lemon-lime and apple form the opening salvo, along with tropical fruit such as starfuit, pineapple and banana. As the wine opens up, these notes begin intermingling with flint, chamomile, and white tea, and the slightest hint of gardenia and lavender.

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Burning Tree Cellar’s Colibri Rose

The Colibri Rose from Burning Tree Cellar and was the award-winning best rose. In addition to this, it has won additional awards and has been noted as one of the best roses that you can find. While many might not think that a rose from Arizona is a great wine, there are many who will disagree with you as it is known as one of the best wines.  It is a rose that you are not going to be disappointed with.

Arizona’s Top Wineries

One of the most exciting things that you can do is visit Arizona’s wine scene. There are a number of areas in which you can visit. The Verde Valley is known as an artsy area and is located just a few miles north of Phoenix. Sonoita/Elgin and Wilcox are other regions that are closer to Tucson.

There are a lot of amazing wines being produced at these wineries. While the varieties will be familiar with you, the character is going to be unique and special. There is a new wine movement happening in Arizona and you are sure to love it if you give it a chance.

Verde Valley Wine Trail

The Verde Valley Wine Trail is an area where you can visit a number of different wineries in a short period of time. The best part is that you can go online and see all of the details for the wineries, their tasting rooms, what type of restaurants are in the area, and any wine-related attractions in the area. Here we will share out top choices:

Chateau Tumbleweed

Chateau Tumbleweed is a special small winery that delivers big taste. Their wines are all made in small batches. One of the best choices that we cannot get enough of is the 2013 Dr Ron Bot. This syrah blend is a delicious wine that leaves you with a nice spiciness that you are not always going to be able to find at a small winery.

Page Springs Cellars

Page Springs Cellars has a special advantage to creating a wine with winemaker Eric Glomski calling this winery home. This winery is located on the banks of the beautiful Oak Creek. There you can try some of the amazing Rhone-centric wines. There are a number of additional opportunities that make it possible to have an amazing day at Page Springs Cellars. There are yoga classes and massages that you can book prior to your arrival or see about the availability of when you arrive.

Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room

Did you know that Maynard James Keenan became a winemaker? The alt-rock legend formerly of A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, and Tool became a winemaker and has become the top of the Arizona wine industry. If you love historic buildings than you will certainly love the 1901 hotel that the tasting room is housed in. One of our favourites is the 2013 Caduceus Nagual del Marzo which is a Sangiovese blend that leans towards an Italian wine. This is one of the best grapes that grow in Arizona. If you are a fan, you will appreciate the 2013 Kitsune which is a 100% Sangiovese wine. Keenan has signed all of the bottles of these!

Four Eight Wineworks

There are many great wines from the up-and-coming winemaker at Four Eight Wineworks. This winery was also founded by Maynard James Keenan. This winery is also located in a historic building, it is within the Clarkdale Bank Building. The tasting room is perfect to relax in. They have comfortable leather chairs. If you are looking for a relaxing wine, we recommend Kindred.

Sonoita and Elgin

This is another one of the most popular wine regions in Arizona. It is a great region and you are sure to love the wine that you pick up that was produced there.

Callaghan Vineyards

Callaghan Vineyards is the first winery that helped to get Arizona wines on the map. The owner Kent Callaghan has perfected the art of growing grapes that are typically native to Spain in his Buena Suerte Vineyard. The two types of grapes that he has done the best with are Tempranillos and Grenaches. They have a beautiful stuccoed tasting room that is one of the most beautiful places to sit and enjoy a good bottle of vino.

Vineyard Café Sonoita

The Vineyard Café Sonoita is one of the best places to go if you want a chef-created meal and delicious wines and beers that are native to Arizona. Chef Jon Bollin was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and is utilizing this training to be able to use the ingredients that he grew up with to make meals that are being praised for their creativity and bold flavours.

Arizona Hops and Vines

One of the best things about Arizona Hops and Vines is that it has all of the serious wines. The other great thing is that it is owned by two women who love to be creative with their winemaking. One of the things that they love to do is to serve the Moscato with Cheetos. They love to give their wines fun names, one of which was Drag Queen which is a hopped wine.

Rune

One of the most exciting wineries is Rune. This is a one of a kind winery, where James Callahan uses his wisdom from being cellars around the world. His favourite is the Wild Syrah which has a number of native and unique flavours. It uses wild yeast, grassland vistas, and a unique off the grid tasting space.

Willcox Area

Downtown Sampler

One of the most exciting ways to taste wine is at Downtown Sampler. This exciting winery is located in Willcox’s historic centre. The 1917 bank was transformed to bring together different tasting rooms that are all together.

Wilcox Bench

Three-quarters of Arizona’s grapes are grown in the Wilcox Bench area. The area is described as a high desert rise south of town. There are three tasting rooms that are welcoming to visitors. They have 20 different varieties of grapes. The winemaker is Michael Pierce who works as the director of Yavapai College which is the home to Arizona’s Southwest wine centre. The Viognier is bright and pithy and is made under the Viognier label.

Where is Arizona wine country?

The Arizona wine country is located close to Tucson. In fact, the best areas to see Arizona wine country are around an hour’s drive from the city. The best areas to visit are Sonoita and Elgin. The drive is beautiful, and you can enjoy the rolling countryside that is in between.

How many wineries are in Arizona?

Most people do not realize that there are a lot of wineries in Arizona. Today there are actually more than one hundred and ten vineyards, wineries and cellars throughout Arizona. There are even locations for enjoying wine in some of the major cities like Phoenix and Tucson.

Can you grow wine grapes in Arizona?

Most people do not realize that grapevines need to have at least half of a day of direct sunlight to grow well and produce. In the Phoenix area, the oven-like heat of the summer afternoon is the right time for the grapes to grow. The only thing that you need to be aware of is that the grapes need adequate water. The best thing about European grapes is that they can withstand low temperatures without frost damage. This means that the cold Phoenix nights are not a problem.

How do you grow grapes in Arizona?

1. There are some things that you have to be able to do if you want to grow grapes in Arizona.
2. Break up the soil and make sure that it is tilled enough that it will be easy to plant.
Plant the grapes in a full sun location that has been well-drained. (You can test the draining by digging a hole that is 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Fill the hole with water and then watch it drain. Then fill the hole a second time with water and let it drain from the hole. See how long it takes before the water is gone. If the water is gone within 48 hours then the soil will be perfect for growing grapes.)
3. All grapes should be planted in soil that has been unamended. Basically, this means that you just dig a hole that is large enough for the roots, you remove caliche and stones from the hole. Simply loosen the soil, plant the roots, and fill in around the roots.

Are grape vines deciduous?

Grapevines are a deciduous plant. They are wood perennial plants. They have an annual cycle that is similar to that of other deciduous plants.

Do grapevines grow back every year?

Many people do not realize that grapes produce the most fruit when they are growing on shoots that are a part of one-year-old canes. What this means is that if you have too many canes that are old and you do not prune, you are going to yield fewer grapes. If your goal is to produce a high yield of grapes you will have to take some steps to achieve that. You need to prune your vines each and every year. If you do this and protect the vines properly in the winter, you are going to have a great yield of grapes each year.

Conclusion

While Arizona wines might not be the first choice that you think about, they are one of the top wine markets in the United States today. They are rapidly rising in both popularity and quality and are competitive in flavour with the European wines from where their grapes originate.

There is a wide range of different types of wines, many delicious bottles, and a wide variety of wineries for you to enjoy. The tasting rooms also offer the beauty of Arizona with a unique perspective for wine enjoyment, and the vineyards are beautiful and have high-quality grapes to sample and enjoy.

Further read: 

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