Just in time for the holiday shopping season tickets are on sale for the “9th Annual Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival” on Saturday, February 23rd 2023. Over 30 wineries will return to Oro Valley’s Steam Pump Ranch for the 6 hour event hosted by the Arizona Wine Growers Association.
“After multiple sell-out years, we were able to work with the Historic Steam Pump Ranch and nearly double our footprint for this year’s festival,” said Kris Pothier, president of the AWGA and owner of Chateau Tumbleweed. “This will not only allow for more attendees, but more wineries, food vendors and ample parking.”
8 local food trucks will have food to purchase and artists will be in attendance along with live music to entertain festival goers. Taking the stage will be Heather Hardy Trio (10 a.m. – 12 p.m.), Paul Green and Midnight Blue (12:30 – 2:30 p.m.) and Matrix featuring Lexa Raquel (3 – 5 p.m.). A few of the wineries pouring include Callaghan Vineyards, Los Milics, Carlson Creek, Winery 101 and Garage -East.
“Given the year over year success of the event combined with the extra space available, we are now also adding a VIP option for attendees that will include early admission, a wine tote swag bag, and a parking pass,” said Pothier. “There is also a limited opportunity for guests looking for some seats and shade to reserve a picnic table with an umbrella and seating for eight, which are $250/each and include one VIP ticket.”
The festival goes from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. with general admission tickets on sale for $30 per person and VIP tickets are $70. If any tickets remain the day of the event they will be $40 each. Tickets are available at Eventbrite or www.offthevine.com For more information visit the Arizona Wine Growers Association website.
You don’t have to travel to the California coast to taste good wine, although I recommend that you do, as The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is coming to Scottsdale later this month. Just as the 2022 harvest is coming to an end more than 20 wineries with over a 100 wines will be at The McCormick Scottsdale Resort on Thursday, October 27th at 6:00 p.m.
In addition to wines guests will enjoy appetizers and Paso- based good such as olive oil, honey, spirits and more from Travel Paso. The region halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco has more than 40,000 acres of vineyards and over 200 wineries.
“The Paso Robles region is so excited to bring our wines and winemakers to Scottsdale,” said Joel Peterson, executive director of the Wine Country Alliance. “The Phoenix and Scottsdale area has long loved the wines from Paso Robles and the direct flights make it easier for us to connect.” Flights to San Luis Obispo can have you there in about 2 hours and sipping on wines shortly after arrival.
Award winning wines from large and small wineries will be poured from Eberle Winery, Tooth & Nail Winery, DAOU (featured photo) and more. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at the Wine Country alliance’s website.
Not a whole lot happens in Arizona during the summer but something you can count on is the Wine Country BBQ hosted by LDV Winery in Pearce. On Saturday August 6th, in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona winery owners Peggy Fiadaca and Kurt Dunham host wine club members and guests for their annual celebration of the harvest in progress.
The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. with lunch between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p..m. followed by tours until 4 p.m. Lunch will of course be paired with award-winning wines and the educational tour will visit the winery and vineyards. Taking pictures is encouraged as the property has picturesque views and lots of natural beauty.
Those looking to spend the night are encouraged to speak with Peggy about nearby lodging. Those with RVs or looking to camp (bring your own tent,etc) are invited to spend the night “amongst the vines”. Cost is $40 per person and $30 for wine club members. Lunch, a glass of wine and a tour are all included. You can register to attend here or call or email Peggy at 480-664-4822.
Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.
Pillsbury Wine Co. & Wild AZ Cuisine pair up for 2 nights
In conjunction with the Willcox Wine Festival, the winery and Chef Brett Vibber host a four-course dinners next Friday and Saturday May 20th & 21st. The dinners will be at Pillsbury’s Willcox vineyard and wines will be available for purchase. Dinner start at 6 p.m. and seats are $65 per person and can be reserved by calling Valerie at 949-466-1054.
Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers donates to Barrow Neurological
Celebrating National Burger Month all 12 locations will donate a $1 of each weekly specialty burger sold throughout the month. $1 of each Michelob Ultra 22oz. draft will also be donated to the Ivy Brain Tumor Center and Barrow Neurological Foundation. May 9 – May 15: Santa Fe Burger.Pepper Jack, Pickled Red Onion, Green Chile Relish, Chipotle Aioli. May 16 – 22: Asian Burger.Asian Slaw, Sriracha Mayo, BBQ Sauce. May 23 – 31: Mushroom Burger. Swiss, Mushrooms, Bacon, Teriyaki Sauce. Each week’s burgers are $15 and include a side of house made chips.
Barnett Vineyards wines poured at Hearth ’61 Sunday Supper Club
The May 15th dinner also welcomes Pat Duncan, an organic farming pioneer for a five course dinner from Chef Wiley including the best from Pat’s farm. Sourced from their 40 acres atop Spring Mountain the wines showcase the characteristics of grapes grown in Napa Valley’s higher elevations. Dinner is starts at 6 p.m. and seats for this special dinner are $189++ per person with reservations required.
New Summer menu now available at Z’ Tejas
Until September guests can enjoy new dishes from Executive Chef Diego Bolanos throughout the menu at the Scottsdale and Chandler restaurants. Crab Artichoke Dip, Berry Steak Salad, Caribbean Chicken & Mango Coconut Cheesecake Parfait are a few of the new offerings. New craft cocktails include a Paleta Margarita, Michelada, Mojito and a Margarita Flight.
Sid’s Garage opens Monday, May 15th in north Phoenix
The restaurant known for over the top burgers and boozy shakes opens their first Arizona location at Desert Ridge Marketplace. Check out what to expect at this post from last month.
After a 2 year hiatus the Verde Valley Wine Festival has announced that wines from Arizona’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA) will flowing when the festival returns to Cottonwood on the April 29th & 30th.
The festival takes place on the Saturday the 30th at the Old Town Activity Park with a kick-off VIP platinum winemaker dinner the night before at the Old Town Cottonwood Clubhouse. More than 20 wineries are expected to be pouring their wines along with local breweries and distilleries. Dozens of food trucks, local arts, craft vendors and live music will feed and entertain guests.
“We are thrilled to be able to host the event again this year,” said Maynard James Keenan, director of the Arizona Wine Growers Association (AWGA) and owner of Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards. “Guests will be treated to some of Arizona’s best wines, taste some great food in a picturesque setting and be able to learn about our growing viticulture. We look forward to welcoming back old friends and introducing newcomers to this great event.”
Festival organizers are working with both Arizona wine non-profit organizations the AWGA and the Arizona Vignerons Alliance (AVA) to ensure the quality and authenticity of the Arizona wines. The festival starts at noon for General Admission ticket holders and 11 a.m. for those with VIP ticket holders. The festival goes until 5 p.m. GA tickets are $35 and VIP tickets are $125 and Friday’s winemaker dinner is $99 per person. The Platinum VIP Experience is $199 and includes Friday’s dinner and VIP admission to the festival on Saturday.
Tickets are on sale for the return of the 21st Annual Camp Verde Pecan & Wine Festival in downtown Camp Verde the weekend of March 19-20th. The Verde Valley Wine Consortium and the Town of Camp Verde co-host the two day festival that will also include a beer garden, local artists and a pecan pie eating contest.
“We have learned a lot as event organizers as the pandemic has continued to take its toll and many of the COVID related changes have turned out to be more popular than ever,” said Michael Marshall, Camp Verde Parks and Recreation Manager. “We have a new style of vendor booth arrangements that is working great and the open-air wine canopy was a big hit with both vendors and attendees last spring.”
Two new experiences have been added to the festival this year including a children’s activity area and live music. Glorybound Publishing is sponsoring a Puppet Theatre & Children’s Art Exhibit and the Northern Arizona Blues Alliance (NAZBA) brings the “Northern Arizona Blues & Roots Review” to the main stage. 8 bands will entertain festival goers during the two days.
13 wineries with new Verde Valley AVA designation will be pouring their newest releases including Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Salt Mine Wine, Cove Mesa Vineyard and the Southwest Wine Center.
Entry to the festival is free and those 21 and over can purchase wine tasting tickets for $20 in advance or at the door for $25. Six wine tasting tickets and a commemorative glass are included and additional tickets can be purchased. The festival will be in downtown Camp Verde at 75 E. Holloman St. 86332 and starts at 11 a.m. both days. Safety precautions will be in place with sanitizing stations and vendors will be socially distanced. For more information visit their website.
Phoenix area wine drinkers now have the opportunity to taste and buy award-winning wines from Arizona Stronghold Vineyards. This Friday January 7th the doors to their new Scottsdale tasting room will open welcoming Archive Club members and the public starting at 11:30 a.m. They already have a popular tasting room in Cottonwood and the Scottsdale location will be the 6th tasting room along the Scottsdale Wine Trail in downtown and Old Town Scottsdale.
Winemaker Jason McCluskey uses grapes from the winery’s Bonita Springs Vineyard near Willcox for their red, white and rose wines. Two newly released wines are being poured for the grand opening and select food items will be served along with specials on charcuterie boards. In addition to Arizona Stronghold wines, the winery makes Provisioner Wines in white and red.
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards’ Scottsdale tasting room is at 4225 N. Marshall Way 85251 and is open daily from 11:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. For more information visit their website.
Last Friday the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) named the Verde Valley an American Viticultural Area (AVA). It’s been 4 years since the region petitioned for the esteemed designation as a federally recognized grape growing region. The unique climate, soils, topography and geography are what makes the area unique and warranting the designation.
The Verde Valley becomes Arizona’s third AVA joining Sonoita and Willcox and wineries can use the new designation on the label when using grapes from the AVA. “I am ecstatic with this TTB announcement,” said Tom Schumacher, president of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium. “The Verde Valley AVA petition was submitted to the TTB by the Verde Valley Wine Consortium in 2017. This shows that our arduous efforts to submit the petition have been fruitful.”
Verde Valley vineyards
Located in the geographic center of Arizona the new AVA is 219 square miles in northeastern Yavapai County centered near Oak Creek and the Verde River. 36% of the AVA or 79 square miles is privately owned land and includes 19 vineyards covering more than 136 acres planted to grape vines. The region also is home to 25 wine tasting rooms. Over 40 grapes varieties are grown in the area that can be made into wine including white grapes Malvasia Bianca, Chardonnay and Viognier. Syrah, Petit Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon are just a few of the red grapes grown in the AVA.
Yavapai College is also in the AVA and offers offers classes, certificates and an associate degree in viticulture and enology. The Southwestern Wine Center as it’s known has a commercial, licensed and bonded winery, a teaching vineyard and tasting room. Started in 2009 the school has continually grown in class size and curriculum with many of the graduates staying in Arizona to make wine. For more information about the region visit their website.
Quick sips & bites of news about what’s going on around the Phoenix restaurant community, breweries and wineries.
Oktoberfest at Pedal Haus Brewery October 2nd
Hard to believe its October and that means beer, brats and polka music in downtown Chandler. Saturdays celebration will include award-winning locally brewed beer and locally made brats from Von Hanson’s Meats along with pork schnitzel. Live music, a sausage eating contest and a stein hoisting contest are all part of the festivities. The Tempe location will be hosting its festival Saturday the 9th.
Wild Arizona dinner with Chef Brett Vibber hosted at Pillsbury Wine Company
Good news, two of my podcast guests are collaborating during the Willcox Wine Festival Weekend that’s coming up on October 16th & 17th. Sam Pillsbury’s award-winning winery is hosting a 6-course Wild Cuisine Dinner prepared by Chef Vibber. The $65 per person dinner starts at 5 p.m. and includes a glass of Rose 20. Bottles of wine are available for purchase and camping overnight is only $15. To see the full menu and purchase you tickets click on this link.
Smokin’ hot new menu items at Trapp Haus BBQ
Pitmaster Phil “The Grill” Johnson is adding to his menu starting today with Chicken Fried Nachos ($9.99) and more later this month. With Thanksgiving fast approaching (Yay!!) the downtown Phoenix restaurant debuts on October 18th a 1/2 lb. Cajun Fried Turkey Breast ($12.99) and a Turkey Monte Christo (13.99). Check out my interview with Phil here.
Press Coffee opening new downtown Phoenix location
The coffee roaster is opening its 9th location next Friday, October 8th at Van Buren and 2nd Street. During the opening weekend the community minded business will sell $1 drip coffees with 100% of its profits going to Pawsitive Friendships. The local non-profit provides animal assisted therapy for children with special needs. The downtown location will be open 7 days a week until 4 p.m.
Cooler weather means the return of farmers markets
The High Street Farmers Market returns this Sunday, October 3rd and goes through the Spring. Get locally sourced and made food, art and more from 10 a.m. – 1 :30 p.m. The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market returns Saturday October 2nd from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Who doesn’t love a good summer road trip especially if it’s to cooler temperatures with food and wine waiting for you. If that sounds like a good way to spend the day then LDV Winery’s annual Wine Country BBQ is for you. Tickets are on sale for the annual event on Saturday August 7th from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the winery and vineyards in Pearce.
Once you arrive after your road trip, enjoy a relaxing lunch that will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. A tour of the vineyards and winery led by co-owner & winemaker Curt Dunham follows lunch. The educational tour will offer great views of the Chiricahua Mountains Foothills perfect for picture taking just before the start of the 2021 harvest season.
Tickets are $40 per person or $30 for LDV Sky Islander Wine Club members and include lunch and a glass of wine. Additional wine by the glass and bottles to take home with you are available for purchase. For more info email the winery at firstname.lastname@example.org. LDV Winery and Vineyard is at 13922 S. Kuykendall Cutoff Rd., Pearce 85625. 480-664-4822