Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival back for its 7th year

Over 25 Arizona wineries will be pouring their award-winning wines Saturday 15th 2020 for the 7th annual “Off the Vine” Arizona Wine Festival at the historic Steam Pump Ranch in Oro Valley. The Arizona Wine Growers Association is hosting the festival that will also feature food trucks, live music, local artists and more.

“Off the Vine has quickly become one of our biggest events of the year, and after seeing record-breaking attendance in 2019 we’re expecting an even bigger crowd for 2020,” said Kris Pothier, president of the AWGA and owner of Chateau Tumbleweed. “Steam Pump Ranch and the surrounding mountains provides such a beautiful setting for wine lovers to experience wines from across the state and even meet the winemakers themselves, who are often in attendance.”

off the vine
Photo credit to Jenelle Bonnifield

Pillsbury Wine Company, Rune Wines and Oddity Wine Collective are a few wineries traveling from around Arizona to the ranch built in the 1800s. The bluesy big band sounds of the Peter Swan Trio will provide the playlist for the 7 hour festival that starts at 11 a.m.

Early Bird tickets are $25 and include 8 sampling tickets and a commemorative glass can be purchased here. Day of event tickets is $30.

 

Graze Desert Grille at Zona Hotel and Suites in Scottsdale

Tucked up in the desert amongst golf courses and the growth of north Scottsdale is the 431 room Zona Hotel and Suites. To coincide with a renovation that started in the summer of 2011, they also have re-branded the restaurant that is on property calling it, Graze Desert Grille. Emphasizing the cuisine of the Southwest, Executive Chef Kevin Myers uses the ingredients sourced from local farmers and suppliers and using all natural ingredients. Food and Beverage director Brian Blanke will compliment the food by featuring Arizona wines, spirits and beers along with other selections. I recently had the opportunity to taste several items from the new menu to debut April 5th, 2012.

The evening started with select cocktails of our choice including Flagstaff’s High Spirits Distillery gin for Martinis.
If your a fan of corned beef hash you won’t be disappointed by the Corned Beef & Green Chile Hash that comes topped with an Sunny Side Up egg. tasty and with a hint of spice this is a good way to start your day.

I enjoyed the Duck & Brie Quesadilla that includes duck confit, caramelized apples and Brie cheese and drizzled with Balsamic vinegar. A nice combination of sweet, creamy and savory make this a unique take on the classic appetizer.

Locally grown vegetables are the stars of 2 of the salads I tasted, The Rocket Salad uses Arugula that is tossed with dried apricot,  aged Manchego cheese, pistachios and oregano dressing. The Beet Salad is complimented with Purple Haze goat cheese, baby lettuce and a hazelnut vinaigrette. Both salads are flavorful and make for a great light lunch or as a start to your dinner.

Pressed Pulled Pork Sandwich uses in house seasoned and smoked pork that comes served on a locally baked Ciabatta rolled and is topped with Arugula, sweet and sour onions and a Guajillo pepper aioli. This was one of my favorites of the evening and comes served with thick cut, crispy French fries.

Two of the entrees were tasted on this evening and I recommend both of them. If you’re in the mood for fish the pan seared Grouper should serve you well. The white, flaky fish is served over a bed of spaghetti squash, it is drizzled with smoked tomato butter and comes with braised greens that offer a nice contrast to the other ingredients. If red meat is part of your plan the Whiskey Braised Shortribs is not to be missed. Placed atop a pile of white cheddar and chive mashed potatoes, it comes with spinach from local farmers markets, an oven roasted tomato and its own juices pour over it. Tender and flavorful the meat is very good.

All courses were paired with the wines from Arizona Stronghold Vineyards with the exception of the pork sandwich which was paired with Lake Havasu City’s Mudshark Brewery’s Scorpion Amber Ale. The wines all tasted very good and were paired well with the food. National Sales Manager Paula Woosley joined us to talk about the wines and the success Arizona Stronghold and the Arizona wine industry is enjoying.

Graze Desert Grille
7677 East Princess Boulevard
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255
480.585.1000

http://grazedesertgrille.com/