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.



Blind tasting

Recently I had the opportunity to taste some AZ. wines blind with some fellow wine drinkers. What do I mean by blind… well just that. You don’t see what you are tasting other than what’s in your glass. Bottles are covered up or are not even present. Most wines rated by critics are tasted blind. Why you may ask, well let me tell you. By not knowing what you are tasting is the best way to give a un biased opinion. When one see’s a name of a winery, price or review of wine they unconsciously assume they will like it or dislike it. Ever hear “this bottle is $50 so it’s got to be good” from a friend or think that since this magazine gave it 92 pts. you will like it. Well you may very well like it, but you will have already made most of your decision whether to like or dislike it and you have not even tasted the wine.
Blind tasting can be very humbling. Wines you have liked before, you may see in a different light, if you don’t know what you are tasting until the wine is revealed.
As I tasted 2 whites and 2 red the other evening, I kept going back and forth on each wine. “Is it this or is it that”, “it tastes oaky, therefore a chardonnay, right” back and forth, second guessing myself, finally going with my 1st impression and gut instincts.
Usually blind tasting have 1 person who is responsible for covering(bagging) the wines so that know one knows what they are drinking and keeping the wines organized for the reveal. Blind tastings can be fun, you learn a lot about your palate and what actual flavors & styles you like. You may learn you don’t really like that jammy, big zin you always go for or you may realize you really do like New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Nowadays there are even darkened wine glass’s so you don’t know if you’re drinking a red or white wine until you taste it.
Have fun with a group of friends, see what you may learn about yourself and your tasting habits. Have a blind tasting, make it fun, enjoy.
I guess you’re wondering how I did with the AZ. wines I tasted the other night, well I got 1 out of 4 correct. The 3 I did not get correct were’nt even my 2nd choice.
Like I said, blind tastings can be very humbling!

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