Yavapai College offering virtual winemaker symposium

As the Arizona wine industry continues to gain popularity and international respect those making the wine, the winemaker have two ways to learn how to make wine. One way is by hands on trial and error and learning along the way. The other is to learn from a school of wine-making then apply what you’ve learned in the vineyard and winery. Yavapai College is one of those that teach you how to make wine here in Arizona. The school has announced a one-day “Emerging Winemakers Competition & Symposium” on Saturday April 24th.

The virtual and free event will offer 2 seminars, 3 speakers, 7 judges and 1 Best in show winner from 9:30 a.m. – 2:15 p.m. The seminar & symposium is being organized by the Grand Crew, a student & alumni organization at the Yavapai College of Viticulture Enology at the Verde Valley campus in Clarkdale.

“After canceling last year’s event due to COVID-19 safety precautions, we are excited to return this year as a virtual event for wine lovers throughout the state,” said the Competition Organizer Bill Anderson. “As one of our state’s fastest growing industries we created this event as a platform for those new to the industry to be recognized for their efforts in helping it flourish,”

The schedule of events is as follow

9:30-10:15 a.m. PDT

Welcome + Introductions:
Bill Anderson + Michael Pierce

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Montgomery
Topic: Different Beginnings, Same Destination

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. – Seminar 1
Lisa Froncioni-Hai:
California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance
Topic: Sustainability from Grapes to Glass

11:30am – 12:15 p.m. – Seminar 2
Philippe Corderey:
Introduction to Biodynamic Viticulture

12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Break for lunch

1:00-2:15 p.m.
Awards Presentation + Roundtable Discussion

To register for the virtual symposium head to their website.

The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival safely returning next weekend

Festivals and gatherings are returning to social calendars after many had to cancel their 2020 events due to Covid-19. One of those festivals first to return is The Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival next weekend April 17th & 18th. The Town of Camp Verde and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium co-host the 20th annual event in downtown Camp Verde from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday and til 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Each day 8-12 wineries will be sampling their wines and pairing them with a variety of pecans. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, live music, local artists and a competitive pie eating contest. All activities will follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, all areas cleaned and sanitized frequently and recommended mask wearing. Page Springs, Salt Mine Wine, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Winery 101 are a few of the wineries pouring wines at the event.

“We were saddened to have to cancel last year but it was with everyone’s safety and best interests in mind, as this is normally one of the town’s biggest events,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “This annual tradition is a wonderful celebration of two local products of the region and we look forward to its return, with a number of additional safety precautions in mind”.

Entry to the festival is free and for all ages. Those 21 and older can pay $20 for six tasting tickets and a commemorative glass. Additional tickets can be purchased. For more information visit these websites http://www.cvaz.com and http://verdevalleywine.org

Photo credit: Jenelle Bonifeld & Arizona Wine Guide

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Whiskey Wednesday’s at Belle’s Nashville Kitchen

The Scottsdale hony tonk bar offers up flights of 4 tastes of whiskey’s every Wednesday for $35-$45. Saturday 3/27 is International Whiskey Day and Belle’s is celebrating with 4 signature whiskey cocktails. Tuesday 3/30 is National Hot Chicken Day and several choices (sandwich, tenders & salad) are on their menu to celebrate with.

Jersey Mike’s donating all sales to Phoenix Children’s Hospital

All 45 sandwich shops around Phoenix will donate 100% of sales on Wednesday 3/31. The day of giving is part of Jersey Mike’s 11th annual month of giving in March and is supported by local valley owners Duane Layton, Bill Mapes and Josh Barton.

New menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ

Phil “The Grill” updated the menu at his Roosevelt Row BBQ joint to include  Chicken Fried Corn & Chicken Fried Pickles and Family Style smoked meats by the pound for dine-in or to-go. New Philly Crack Wings flavors include Jamaican Jerked, Nashville Hawt and BBQ. Wash it all down with the new vodka based Purple Rain cocktail.

Orin Swift wines paired at Match Market & Bar dinner

No foolin’ around on Thursday April 1st when the downtown Phoenix restaurant inside the Found:RE Hotel pairs 5-courses with red & white wines. $99++ gets you a seat at the table that starts at 7 p.m. Seats can be reserved here and for more information click here.

LDV Winery re-opens tasting room on April Fool’s Day, seriously

No joke here when owners Peggy Fiadaca and Curt Dunham re-open their downtown Scottsdale tasting room after almost a year. Covid-19 and structural issues had them closed longer than expected but they’re glad to be back open seeing friends and pouring their award-winning wines.

 

 

Atlas Bistro owner takes over AZ Wine Co. renames it Atlas Wines

The once legendary AZ Wine Co. is no more as Todd Sawyer, owner of the award-winning Atlas Bistro has bought the boutique wine shop. After several months of re-modeling Atlas Wines is reminiscent of AZ Wine’s early days of mid 1990s.

The original AZ Wine Co. has played a big part in the local wine community as it was one of only a few places in the Phoenix area to get hard to find wines and Arizona made wines. Young wine geeks would shop the aisles, read labels, speak with knowledgeable staff and even “try before you buy” wines. Restaurateurs, future sommeliers, chefs and more knew they could find good wines at reasonable prices at the south Scottsdale shop. As time went by the valley grew, wine became mainstream and consumers would start to buy wine at big box stores or other wine shops/bars closer to home.

I had a first-hand look as I was an early employee at AZ Wine Co. learning about wines and becoming a resource to regular customers or someone just stopping in for a gift. To this day have friends I met working their and bump into customers around town asking for wine advice and reminisce about the good ‘ol days.

Gone are the living room sofas, rows and rows of wines, storage space and large wine bar. Sawyer reduced the square footage by 2/3rds and got rid of dead inventory and hopes a local restaurant will take over the left over store front.

Atlas Wines compliments Atlas Bistro

The wine shop plays an integral part to Sawyer’s Atlas Bistro as the small restaurant doesn’t serve wine and the wine friendly menu had customers bringing their own wine (BYO) or buying a bottle or two at AZ Wine. It was a no brainer for him to take over the shop to compliment the restaurant as he was sharing the wine buying for several years. Local wine geek Jock Wulffson continues to help Sawyer with wine buying and with customer relations. Wulffson himself is well known in the local wine community as he’s been involved with local wine & food groups and owned his own wine shop before coming to AZ Wine Co.

Customers will still find food worthy wines from across the globe from reputable wineries and lesser known, small production wineries. Craft beers from Arizona along with imported and domestic beers are available in the refrigerator. Several hundred labels are on shelves from everyday drinkers at under $20 to highly rated and sought after wines costing the price of a monthly car payment. The small wine bar will pour a selection of wines and beers once Covid-19 restrictions allow for.

Sawyer hopes to be re-opening Atlas Bistro in the near future for dinner and once opened it will provide European styled appetizers at the wine bar.

Atlas Wines is at 2515 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85257. (480)423-9305. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or see their website.

 

Visit Mesa launches Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour for socially distanced fun

Visit Mesa launched an exciting socially distant way for foodies and families to learn about the East Valley’s agrotourism community. The popular activity, Geocaching is part scavenger hunt part education and the new Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour will take you to 8 local farms, orchards and businesses. At each location geocachers will collect limited edition stickers and find all 10 geocaches for Fresh Foodie Trail Geotour recipes, a Visit Mesa branded wooden spoon and a digital souvenir from www.geocaching.com

Geo Tour stops include Jalapeno Bucks BBQ, Agritopia, Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek Olive Mill and other area farms.

Want to take a few days to enjoy your geotour, consider the Escape to Mesa vacation package before it ends. The promotion is open to Arizona residents who book a 2 night stay at a Mesa hotel. The package includes $150 in incentives and runs through the end of December. Visit http://www.escapetomesa.com/ for more information.

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Toys for Tacos at Mr. Mesquite Taqueria

All 7 locations are collecting toys in exchange for tacos until December 31st. Bring in a toy, clothes or learning tool for The Academic Opportunity of Arizona and get a free taco for the day of drop off.

Monday night is Date Night at Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen

The downtown Scottsdale restaurant invites couples to join them on Monday’s for dinner for $50. Starting at 4 p.m. each twosome will get 2 pasta entrees, 2 salads and a pre-selected bottle of wine. Reservations required and must mention Date Night Special for special price. 480-427-2264.

Holiday tamales available from Los Sombreros

Order by the dozen for pick-up by December 24th. Mix & match Green Corn, Pineapple, Tomatillo Chicken, Rajas, Carnitas & Red Beef Chile. All tamales are using produce from local farms. Order at their website.

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria now available from ghost kitchen

Pizza to go is now available at Kitchen United MIX in Scottsdale. Order on-line and have the same delicious pizza and more made fresh and ready for pick-up or delivery.

Merkin Vineyards launches monthly Sunday brunch

This Sunday December 6th in Scottsdale will be the first brunch offered at the wine bar. The first Sunday of every month several dishes will be offered that use ingredients grown at its vineyards, gardens and orchards in the Verde Valley. Wines and Mimosas will be available to compliment your food.

New menus and a new look welcome back the Wrigley Mansion

The famed Wrigley Mansion re-opened this week with new lunch, dinner and beverage menus after almost a year’s worth of renovations. A new Sunday brunch menu will debut on November 29th from Chef de Cuisine Ashley Goddard.

Guests will be welcomed with a new driveway approach along with new and improved indoor and outdoor spaces and a new Garden Terrace. Guests will be able to view the finishing touches being put on the highly anticipated Christopher’s at the Wrigley Mansion.

“Our team has been hard at work evaluating our property, procedures, service, and completely re-imagining the Wrigley experience,” says General Manager Vinnie Walia. “After months of renovations, careful consideration and implementation of public health safety measures, we are excited to reopen to serve our beloved members and community.”

Chef Goddard’s new gourmet menus at Geordie’s Restaurant & Bar will include Autumn Pizza, Braised Rabbit Leg Ragout and Steamed Clams. CEO and Wine Director Paola Embry spent her time planning to increase the wine offerings to over 12,000 bottles. New wines included are from Arizona wineries which Embry visited and built relationships to support the local industry.

Geordie’s serves lunch Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 5-9 p.m. Brunch is served on Sundays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Happy hour specials in the bar is Tuesday-Saturday from 3-6 p.m. and all day Wednesday. Jamie’s Wine Bar is open Tuesday-Saturday from 3 p.m.-close. Afternoon tea service is available Thursdays and Fridays from 2-4 p.m. For more information and to make a reservation head to www.wrigleymansion.com/.

Sips & Bites: News you can use from the Phoenix restaurant community

Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.

Wildflower adds new hearty menu items for winter

The locally owned specialty bakery known for its handcrafted artisan breads and more has added 8 new items to its menu. The festive foods include breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, pastas and toasts. There are 16 locations throughout Phoenix and Arizona.

Friendsgiving at Pedal Haus Brewery

Thanksgiving Eve friends and family can gather on the patio for a socially distanced celebration during happy hour. From 3:30 til closing on Wednesday November 25th enjoy happy hour specials, the new Peppermint Porter and live music. The celebration at the Chandler location goes until 10 p.m.

Aridus Wine Company ends its 8th harvest

The award-winning winery ends the 2020 grape growing season with almost 86 tons of grapes. This was their 4th harvest picking grapes from the estate’s 40 acres of vineyards in southern Arizona that started on August 22nd. 72% of the grapes picked will be for red wines, 26% for white wines and 2% for rose.

FRANCINE Restaurant opens patio for dining

You can now enjoy lunch, dinner or brunch at the French Mediterranean restaurant outside on the new patio. Located at the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square seats 28 people in the relaxing and beautiful setting. Seating is by request with reservations recommended.

Serrano’s closes Tempe location until early 2021

The 6440 S. Mill Ave. location has closed for dine-in and take-out to undergo a major renovation. A major renovation needs to completed and the 4 other locations are open for dine-in, take-out and curbside delivery.

Canned wines Tank available from Aridus Wine Company

Arizona wine producer Aridus Wine Company has released its new line of canned wines, Tank. The grapes for the canned wines is sourced from Aridus’s vineyards in Cochise County along with purchased fruit. The fruit for the Rose is 100% Zinfandel and comes from New Mexico. The White is a blend of 72% Malvasia and 28% Picpoul which are the wineries two signature white grapes.

The wines were vinified separately then blended in early 2019 and held in stainless steel tanks until May 2020. The Viognier sees one year in neutral oak before stainless steel. The canned wines are different wines than those sold by the bottle and have a high residual sugar content. Tank is perfect for drinking by pool, camping trips or at home after a long hot day.

The Viognier, Rose and White Blend come in 4-packs and are available at their tasting rooms in Scottsdale & Willcox for $28. Each can holds 375 ml or about two glasses of wine. Buy a 4 pack and get a free Tank Koozie Can Cooler. The Scottsdale tasting room is at 7173 E. Main St. 85251. The Willcox tasting room is at 145 Railview Ave. 85643. For more information visit https://www.ariduswineco.com/ 

Rift Tap and Wine Bar opening in south Scottsdale

If all goes as planned with the expiration of the current Covid-19 lock down on Monday July 27th south Scottsdale could have a new beer and wine bar in early August. Regardless of the lock down Rift Tap and Wine Bar opens for curbside pick-up and delivery that same Monday. Rift is the brainchild of owners Damien Kanser, a wine industry veteran and friend Jon Coppins, the winemaker at Su Vino Winery.

Named after a Phish album that inspired Kanser since his childhood, Rift converted a spot that was a convenience store at Fillmore and Scottsdale Rd.. With little or nothing for craft beer and wine between old town Scottsdale and Tempe they felt this would be the perfect location for their neighborhood bar. The neighborhood is home to many service industry people and young professionals who have had nowhere to gather since Papago Brewing Co. closed a few years ago.

Rift will feature affordable wines and beers from local brewers and wineries and from across the country and the world. 25 beers on tap will be poured along with wines by the glass as guests gather at the 23 seat bar, high top tables or couches. Food trucks will be scheduled for guests to enjoy a bite to eat with their beer and wine. Coolers will house cold beers to go along with a few racks of retail wines. Kanser envisions Rift’s retail component as a quick grab n go for people to purchase on a regular basis to enjoy with dinner or by the pool. They’re sourcing limited production small batch beers directly from brewers giving the shop a unique selection by the bottle and tap.

Rift owners Damien Kanser and Jon Coppins

The wine club at Rift Tap and Wine Bar

This fall Rift will house a studio for their “Spilling the Truth” podcast they started in late 2018. Windows to the studio will allow guests to view podcasts live with brewers and winemakers joining the podcast.

Two wine clubs will be offered featuring local wines and wines to a national audience based on wineries visiting the podcast.

Rift is at 431 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale 85257. For updates check out their Facebook page.