Arizona wines get all the attention at 9th Annual Grand Wine Festival

Arizona’s largest Arizona wine only event grows even larger this year as the Arizona Wine Growers Association’s Grand Wine Festival spills on to 6th Street from the Heritage Square festival. This, the 9th year of showcasing Arizona wines takes place on Saturday & Sunday January 27th and 28th and grows by 15,000 square feet when 6th Street is closed off this year.

Arizona wines poured

Over 30 Arizona wineries will travel to downtown Phoenix from Elgin, Sonoita and the southern part of our state along with wineries up I-17 in Jerome, Page Springs and the Verde Valley. Dos Cabezas, LDV Winery and Burning Tree Cellars are just a few of the wineries pouring their wines at the 2 day festival while.

Winners of the AZ Central Arizona Wine Competition will be announced at the Grand Wine Gala on Friday evening which is already sold out.

In addition to tasting wine at the festival, attendees will have live music to  enjoy as well as food trucks and other local vendors to visit with.

“We already have a record number of both wineries in attendance and wines being poured at this year’s festival, but now having the extra space will allow for record-breaking attendance numbers as well,” said Brian Predmore, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.

Arizona wines
Kurt Dunham owner/winemaker of LDV Winery

Purchase tickets

The festival will start both days at 11 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. on Saturday and until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $15 for 6 tasting samples or $20 for 10 samples can be purchased at their website.

 

 

Fall into the Festival at the Farm to taste Arizona wines

Arizona Winegrowers Assoc logo
Fall is in the air and the harvest is over it’s time to celebrate with the Arizona Wine Growers Association’s annual Festival at the Farm wine tasting that showcases what Arizona wineries are up to this past year. The events on Sat. November 15th will once again be held at the historic Farm at South Mountain from 12 noon- 5 p.m.

Grapes in the Lawrence Dunham vineyards
Grapes in the Lawrence Dunham vineyards
Festival goers will get to experience over 32 local wineries including Callaghan Vineyards, Passion Cellars, Burning Tree Cellars just to name a few and will get to taste current releases poured by many of the owners and winemakers who can answer questions and tell you their story.

Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 and include a commemorative glass. www.azwinefestivalatthefarm.com www.arizonawine.org

Cool weather & Arizona wines as “Wine in the Pines” comes to Pinetop in June.

Arizona Winegrowers Assoc logo

Cool weather and Arizona wines make for the perfect pairing as the Arizona Winegrowers Association www.arizonawine.org will be hosting the 1st Annual “Wine in the Pines” Festival with the Grand Tasting at Charlie Clark’s Orchards in Pinetop-Lakeside on June 15 & 16. Set amongst apple and cottonwood trees, The Grand Tasting will take place on both Sat. and Sun. from noon – 5 p.m. and attendees can taste the wines of 18 Arizona wineries. Wines will also be available for purchase. Guest can purchase tickets for $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Tickets will be valid for both days and include 10 drink tickets and a commemorative glass. A perfect way to escape the summer heat by sipping on award-winning wines in a cool atmosphere. There will also be several off site opportunities to sample the wines leading up to the tasting. Below is a list of winemakers that will be in attendance.

– Robert Carlson, Carlson Creek Vineyards
– Mark Beres, Flying Leap Vineyards
– Gavin & Iryln Gallifant, Gallifant Cellars
– Ann Gardner, Hannah’s Hill
– Curt Dunham, Lawrence Dunham Vineyards
– Sam Pillsbury, Pillsbury Wine Company
– Jim & Marie Petroff, Pleasant Valley Winery
– Dan & Barb Pierce, Saeculum Cellars
– Lori Reynolds, Sonoita Vineyards
– Corey Whalin, Su Vino Winery
– Karyl Wilhelm, Wilhelm Family Vineyards
– Mark & Rhona Jorve, Zarpara Vineyards

Guests must be at least 21 years old to attend and tickets can be purchased at https://wineinthepines.chirrpy.com/

Arizona Wine Industry Elects New Leadership

New committee members look to grow Arizona’s wine industry

The Arizona Wine Growers Association elected its new officers at its quarterly membership meeting held Feb. 5, 2013, in Willcox, Arizona at Aridus Wine Company. Incorporated in 1983, the Arizona Wine Growers Association serves grape growers and winemakers in Arizona, allying its members for representation, promotion and education. The association strives to advance with integrity the sustainable growth and production of authentic Arizona-grown wines.

The newly elected leadership for the association’s Executive Committee is:

President: Peggy Fiandaca, Lawrence Dunham Vineyards
Willcox Regional Vice President: James Callahan, Aridus Wine Company
Sonoita Regional Vice President: Kent Callaghan, Callaghan Vineyards
Verde Valley Regional Vice President: Barbara Predmore, Alcantara Vineyards
Urban Vice President: Cory Whalin, SuVino Winery
Treasurer: Robert Carlson III, Carlson Creek Vineyards
Secretary: Casey Rooney, City of Cottonwood Economic Development

  (As pictured from left to right: Casey Rooney, Barbara Predmore, Robert Carlson III, James Callahan, Peggy Fiandaca, and Kent Callaghan. Cory Whalin not pictured.)
(As pictured from left to right: Casey Rooney, Barbara Predmore, Robert Carlson III,
James Callahan, Peggy Fiandaca, and Kent Callaghan. Cory Whalin not pictured.)

“I am humbled to be elected by the membership to a second term as President and very excited to work with this talented group of wine industry professionals as we continue to move the Arizona wine industry forward,” said Peggy Fiandaca, President and owner of Lawrence Dunham Vineyards. “The growth of the statewide wine industry has been tremendous, and Arizona wines are sought after and continue to impress wine critics.”

Outgoing executive committee members – Fran Lightly (Sonoita Vineyards), Rob Hammelman (Sand-Reckoner Vineyards), and John McLoughlin (Bitter Creek Winery) were also recognized for their dedicated service to the organization over the past two years. The quarterly membership meeting was hosted by Scott and Joan Dahmer of Aridus Wine Company, Arizona’s newest custom crush facility.

Arizona has over 60 licensed and bonded wineries – up from nine in 2004 — and more are being developed. Most of Arizona’s vineyards can be found in northern Arizona’s Verde Valley, in Sonoita and Elgin in southern Arizona and in the greater Willcox region in southeastern Arizona. Arizona wines have been highly regarded by Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator. Arizona wines have been served at the White House on many occasions and at many James Beard House dinners. For more information about the Arizona Wine Growers Association and upcoming events, visit www.ArizonaWine.org.

Arizona Wine Growers Association’s 2012 Festival at The Farm

Having sold Arizona wine as a retailer or as a wholesaler of the last 18 years it’s been good to see the industry come all this way from a gimmicky tourist souvenir to a world-class, well-respected industry where there is a passion and camaraderie. With that Governor Jan Brewer proclaimed Nov. 11th – 18th Arizona Wine Week and the Arizona Winegrowers Assoc. www.arizonawine.org held it’s 4th annual Festival at The Farm on Sat. the 17th.

Preceded by the evening before with a “Celebration of Arizona Wine Growers” event which was an opportunity for 150 guests to mix and mingle with wine makers from across Arizona. Guests had the opportunity to sample appetizers prepared using local produce by Quiessence executive chef Greg LaPrad and his team, that included Nantucket Scallop Crudo paired with 2011 Arizona Stronghold’s Tazi white blend, Chicken Liver Pate topped with Crisp Sage with 2011 Page Springs Cellars La Flor Rose and gnocchi tossed with Rainbow Valley Farmers cheese, wild mushrooms and Rosemary Fennel Sausage with Arizona Stronghold’s “Nachise” Red wine. Assorted deserts that included Lavender Marshmallows and were paired with Carlson Creek’s “Sweet Adeline” Riesling. All the wines paired well with the food presented and tasted good when tasted by themselves. The wines served on this beautiful night were winners from the 2012 Arizona Grower’s Cup and Winemakers Medal Competitions of which all the award winners were announced later in the evening by host Richard Ruelas of the Arizona Republic and poured during the Saturday festival.

Crudo of Nantucket Scallops w/ Arizona Basil and Meyer Lemon
Chicken Liver Pate w/ Crisp Sage

On Saturday we returned for a gorgeous afternoon for tasting wines from more than 30 of the states 63 licensed and bonded wineries representing all the states growing regions including the Verde Valley up north, Sonoita and Elgin to the south and Willcox in southeastern Arizona. “Whether they are a novice or an aficionado, this is a can’t miss event for wine lovers to meet the folks behind the rising Arizona wine movement,” said Peggy Fiandaca, president of the Arizona Wine Growers Association. The festival also helped celebrate Arizona’s 100 years of statehood as it is a sanctioned Centennial event.

In addition to tasting some new wines from Sand-Reckoner Vineyards and 1st release from Saeculum Cellars amongst others I had the chance to speak with several people to see what has changed in the local wine industry since we last met a year ago. Speaking with the ladies from Coronado Vineyards they were very excited about the custom crush facility now opened in Willcox that will help many others looking to produce wine without the investment of equipment and a winery. We’re also seeing the diversity of wines being made including that of ports and bigger California style wines. The respect, critical acclaim and competitiveness with other world-class wines continues to grow with every vintage as does more local vineyards coming on-line to meet the growing demand not only in Arizona but across the country and beyond.

Highlights from my tastings included….
2011 Saeculum Cellars Sauvignon Blanc– Made by Arizona assistant winemaker Bob he sources his grapes currently for all 3 wines, also Syrah & Sangiovese, from central coast vineyards in California. Starting with 2012 vintage all wines will be made with grapes from the Rolling View Vineyard in Willcox. This soft and crisp S.B. has nice balance of fruit and acidity and makes for very pleasant drinking wine. This was his 1st release of his wines and having won a few awards on Friday night, he has a great future in front of him. www.saeculumcellars.com

2011 Saeculum Cellars Sauvignon Blanc

2011 Sierra Bonita Vineyards Rose is a blend of 60% Grenache, 38% Syrah and 2% Tannat which make for a lively and fuller bodied rose. All estate grown on their 11 acres of vineyards, 3 generations of the Smith family work at all aspects of from the vineyards to delivering the wine. All under the guidance of Gerald and Jane Smith. www.sierrabonitavineyards.com

2009 Sierra Bonita Syrah

2009 Coronado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon– This higher elevation Cab is medium to full-bodied with good fruit and lingering tannins. With a smooth oak mouth feel, makes a very versatile food wine going well with beef to chocolate. www.coronadovineyards.com

2010 Sand-Reckoner vineyards 5– This is one of 3 new wines tasted from Sand-Reckoner and is a Sangiovese based blend using the Brunello clone of Sangiovese Grasso. Combined with 18% Syrah and aged for 15 months in a 500 liter French oak puncheon this wine has good character and complexity along with nice fruit structure. Only 55 cases were made of this wine. Their “11” Zinfandel is a delicious fortified port style wine great for sipping by the fire and would go well with dark chocolate and blue cheese. www.sand-reckoner.com

It was also good to see the ‘veteran’ winemakers of Kent Callaghan, Eric Glomski and others who have paved the way for years helping to get the Arizona wine industry on the map. Here is to raising a glass to the Arizona wine industry and looking forward to what the near and long-term future brings us. Cheers!