Spirit of Arizona Tours announces wine tours to Scottsdale & Verde Valley

Bookings are now being taken for Spirit of Arizona Tours new experiences to old town Scottsdale and to the Verde Valley.

The Verde Valley Winery Tour includes spending the day visiting 3 wineries between Jerome and Sedona, visit Cottonwood for shopping, lunch and more wine tasting and an interpretive tour of of the Sonoran desert and the Verde Valley. Tours leave the Phoenix area at 8:30 a.m. and return between 6 – 7 p.m.  Cost is $129 per person.

The Scottsdale Wine Tasting Experience visits up to 4 tasting rooms, checking out Scottsdale landmarks & points of interest and time to do a little shopping. Drop off and pick up is available when per-arranged. The tours are 3 hours long and are multiple times a day for $60 per person.

Wine tastings are not included in price as individuals can determine what and how much they want to drink. To book these or any other Spirit of Arizona Tours visit their website.

 

Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival is back March 21st and 22nd

Downtown Camp Verde is getting ready for people of all ages for the 20th annual Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival co-hosted by the Verde Valley Wine Consortium and the town on Saturday and Sunday March 21st & 22nd. The festival draws people from around Arizona that will feature 15 local wineries along with a variety of pecans. Festival goers can enter a Pecan pie eating contest, enjoy a cold beer in the beer garden, dance to live music, visit local artists and purchase food from local food trucks. It’s one of the festivals coming up that feature Arizona wines.

“What started as a great way to celebrate two local products of the region has turned into an annual tradition that now draws thousands of attendees to our town,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “We now have more wineries than ever, our famous Pecan Pie contest, live music throughout each day and more food and craft vendors – which means we are also expecting our biggest crowds in the festival’s 20-year history.”

 A few of the wineries pouring wine include Burning Tree Cellars, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Page Spring Cellars. The festival is FREE for all ages to attend but those looking to taste wine need to purchase tickets. Early bird tickets are $20 on-line and $25 at the door. Included are a commemorative glass and 6 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased.

Saturday the festival goes from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 75 E. Hollamon St. Camp Verde 86322. For more information visit their website.

Foodies don’t care about a little rain at Day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic

Many of Saturday’s events around Phoenix were cancelled but don’t mess with foodies and our food festivals but that’s what the weather gods did on day 1 of Devour Culinary Classic. A rainy morning forced Desert Botanical Garden staff, Local First Arizona and purveyors to scramble to but it didn’t deter those in attendance. Umbrella, tents and raincoats were busted out to minimize the rain and puddles.

Here are a few of the many highlights of day 1. Be sure to check back for sunnier day 2 and for more images and commentary check my Instagram @SandyWass  Facebook page & Twitter @SandyWasserman

Bar Magic serving up Hurricane Cocktail in the VIP Lounge with Mardi Gras theme
foodies
Prep & Pastry Churro Cronut & Blueberry Scone
foodies
Scandinavian Sushi coming to Scottsdale later this year from Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey
foodies
AZ Wilderness PB & J Burger
foodies
A leaky tent didn’t dampen the spirits of L’Auberge de Sedona Chef Morgan serving her delicious dessert
foodies
T. Cooks Arcadia Orange Bombe- white chocolate, Grande Marnier mouss, hazelnut & citrus curd
foodies
Dust Cutter Restaurant’s confit pork belly, masa, chorizo & roasted poblano gremolata
foodies
Lincoln Steakhouse Surf & turf- Lobster Escargot & Beef Tongue Popover
Love seeing all the color exhibits and art at the Desert Botanical Garden

Verde Valley Wine Festival is back for its 5th year Mother’s Day weekend

Update: Re-scheduled for Nov. 6th & 7th.

There’s no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a glass of wine or two with dear old mom. You can purchase tickets for you and your mom for the 5th annual Verde Valley Wine Festival, Saturday May 9th 2020. Four Eight Wineworks presents the festival that will host 20 Arizona wineries along with local breweries, distilleries, food trucks and restaurants. The festival takes place at Clarkdale Town Park from 12 – 5 p.m. Each year the festival donates part of the proceeds to a local non-profit, this year’s festival benefits The Arizona Vignerons Alliance and the Arizona Winegrowers Association. Participating wineries, food trucks and other vendors is will be announced soon.

“Wine’s economic impact on our state demands more resources to defend, protect and grow this incredibly delicate, yet robust industry in Arizona,” said David Baird, festival director and co-owner of oDDity Wine Collective. “Guests fly in from all over the world to attend this festival. For many people, the first time they understand the depth of Arizona wine is at our festival. We’re honored to be a conduit for that magic.”

General Admission tickets for the Verde Valley Wine Festival are available on-line for $35 in advance and $45 at the festival. VIP tickets are $125 and get you early entry at 11 a.m., access to the VIP Lounge, additional tastings and a swag bag. Platinum VIP tickets are $199 and include dinner and live auction on Friday May 8th. Festival goers are encouraged to spend the night and accommodations for glamping are available on the website.

Clarkdale Town Park is at 1001 Main St. Clarkdale.

 

 

 

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.

 

AZ Barrels Bottles & Brews returns for year two at Salt River Fields

Over 30 of Arizona’s favorite breweries, wineries and distillers return to the concourse at Salt River Fields for the 2nd annual AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews festival. Fans can taste samples of Arizona producers who continue to gain national recognition and pile up awards on Saturday November 23rd from 2-5 p.m. Arizona Craft Brewers Guild is co-hosting this year’s event in its continued efforts to promote Arizona’s craft beer industry.

A few of those pouring their products include…

  • Wren House Brewing Co.
  • Arizona Wilderness Brewing CO.
  • Grand Canyon (beer & spirits)
  • OHSO (beer & spirits)
  • San Tan (beer & spirits)
  • Elgin Distillery (wine & spirits)
  • Superstition Meadery (spirits)
  • Cider Corp (wine)
  • Page Springs Cellars (wine)
  • Wild Tonic Hard Jun Kombucha

Local food trucks will be on hand providing food for purchase and lawn games are on hand to play in between sips and bites.

A limited amount of tickets are on sale at the AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews website. General Admission tickets are $50 and include 12 sample tickets. Need an extra hour (1 p.m. entry) to taste you favorites then pick up a VIP ticket for $65. Designated Driver tickets are $19 and get you a swag bag and entry to win Spring Training tickets.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is at 7555 N. Pima Rd. Scottsdale

 

 

 

 

Gayle’s Chocolates & Carlson Creek Vineyards plan Vortex Crunch Event

Arizona isn’t just home to many great restaurants, it also is home to many small artisan food producers. One of those is the newly re-located Gayle’s Chocolates in Cottonwood. Gayle’s started in Michigan in 1979 but was recently sold to Sedona residents, Michael and Andrea Portnoy. Friday September 20th will have the Portnoy’s introducing their chocolates at one of their first events, Vortex Crunch Event.

“Six years ago, when we tried Gayle’s we knew it was love at first bite. Now we are taking her creations and bringing them to the southwest. Taking inspiration from the Sedona Vortex’s our newest treat, the Vortex Crunch is sure to be a sweet and salty spiritual experience,” said Co-owner Michael Portnoy.

Carlson Creek Vineyards is partnering with Gayle’s Chocolates for the first of what hopes to be an annual event. Vortex Crunch is the newest addition to the line of homemade chocolates. Loaded with rice krispies, Michigan cherries, almonds, cashews, toffee, glazed orange peel, toasted coconut and a layer of semisweet chocolate. All ingredients combing for a sweet and salty taste.

Carlson Creek will pair their 2014 Rule of Three red blend and 2017 Muscat with the chocolates.

The Vortex Crunch Event will from 12 – 3 p.m. at Gayle’s Chocolates Willy Wonka like factory in their flagship store at 541 N. Main St. Cottonwood 86326. For more information visit their website.

 

Carlson Creek’s Scottsdale tasting room has 3rd anniversary celebrations

Carlson Creek Vineyard’s is celebrating the 3rd anniversary of its Scottsdale tasting room. Throughout the month of July daily and weekly events and tastings are planned. Wine Society members and the public are welcome to celebrate with them. Photo courtesy of Jenelle Bonifield of Food & Lifestyles AZ.

Scottsdale tasting room events

July 8-14: For current Wine Society members only, refer a new member and each will receive a complimentary bottle of 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

13th at 2pm:  Scottsdale tasting room’s 3rd Anniversary party featuring live music, food from Old Ellsworth Brewing Company and conversation with the winemakers (free to attend)

14th: All-day happy hour featuring $5 glasses of Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé

July 15-21: Purchase a bottle of Carlson Creek wine + Queen Creek Olive Mill’s olive oil or vinegar and receive $5 off

18th at 6pm:  Wine Society members-only Library Wine Flight featuring five wines from the Carlson Creek library ($20/person)

July 22 – 31: Daily featured food and wine pairings ($15/person)

22nd: 2013 Sangiovese paired with garlic hummus, red pepper hummus, pesto and pita chips

23rd: 2013 Chenin Blanc paired with tortilla chips and date salsa from Sphinx Palm & Pantry

24th: 2014 Sauvignon Blanc paired with watermelon, feta and mint topped with Queen Creek Olive Mill’s balsamic vinegar

 25th: 2014 Rule of Three paired with chorizo, olive, mozzarella and parsley stackers

26th: 2015 Sauvignon Blanc paired with smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber bites

27th: 2014 Sangiovese paired with bleu cheese and dates from Sphinx Palm & Pantry

28th: 2017 Grenache Rosé paired with chocolate filled roll

29th: 2018 Chardonnay paired with butter and kettle popcor

30th: 2018 Sweet Adeline Riesling paired with spicy street corn

31st: 2015 Rule of Three paired with brie and Sauvignon Blanc fig preserves on a toasted baguette

July 25 at 6pm: Arizona Wine History class with Q&A and wine tastings ($10 for members / $15 for non-members)

The tasting room is at 4142 N. Marshall Way 85251. For more information, call the Scottsdale tasting room at 480.947.0636.

Crow’s Dairy and Deep Sky Vineyard tasting at Farmboy Market

Farmboy Market, Meats and Sandwiches will be hosting a “Meet the Producers” tasting Thursday July 18th at their shop. The tasting will pair wines from Deep Sky Vineyard with cheeses from Crow’s Dairy along with meats, grains and produce.

Deep Sky Vineyard is located in Elgin and specializes in Malbec and Rhone varietals. Crow’s Dairy specializes in goat cheese at their dairy in Buckeye.

The casual tasting will include a reception followed by three courses with owners Wendell Crow of Crow’s Dairy and Kim & Phil Asmundson of Deep Sky Vineyard.

The menu of pairings is as follows.

Reception: Chevre & 2016 Nebula (Rosé) Crooked Sky Farms Watermelon and  Feta Cheese with Fresh Mint

1st Tasting: Chevre & 2015 Aurora Viogner 2017 Crooked Sky Farms Sweet Corn and Crow’s Dairy Cotija Cheese Dip with Sourdough Crostini

2nd Tasting: 2015 Supernova Mourvedre (Red) with Goat Herbed Chevre and Shaved AZ Grass Raised Pecan-Smoked Sirloin with Hayden Mills Blue Beard Flour Crackers

3rd Tasting: 2015 Eclipse Malbec-Grenache (Red) and Goat Quark Cheesecake with Seasonal Fruit Topping.

The tasting will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and tickets are $45 per person and can be purchased at Eventbrite.

Farmboy Market, Meats and Sandwiches is at 1075 W. Queen Creek Rd. #1 Chandler 85248.

Meet the Winemakers of the Scottsdale Wine Trail for dinner

Have you ever wondered why a certain wine is grown or made? Why did the winery use French or American oak for this wine? These questions and others along with a winemakers’ stories about winemaking will be answered on June 27th at Aridus Wine Company in Scottsdale. Meet the winemakers from the Scottsdale Wine Trail as they come together to co-host the Winemakers Inspirational Dinner.

The dinner will bring the winemakers’ from Aridus, LDV Winery, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Salvatore Vineyards. The wines will be paired with dinner from Nonna Urban Eatery in Scottsdale.

Meet the winemakers at the reception beginning at 6:00 with wines and appetizers followed by a four-course dinner. Throughout the evening the winemakers’ will tell stories of their time in the wine industry and answer questions from guests.

Because of the limited seating reservations are needed and can be made at Eventbrite. The dinner is $150 per person.

The Aridus Wine Company’s Tasting Room is at 7173 E. Main St. Scottsdale 85251.