Ever since I moved to Arizona and visited the wine regions I fell more in love with wine than I had before. I’d been exposed to wine quite a bit since I grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State but it wasn’t until I visited the tasting rooms in Cottonwood, AZ that I felt like I could really get into wine and the wine scene of this great state.
There are three main locations for wine tasting in Arizona. The Verde Valley is the closest to me and the area that I’ve visited the most. There are handfuls of tasting rooms there in Cottonwood, Jerome, Clarkdale and Cornville. You really can’t drive far around that region without passing a winery or two. Then there’s the Elgin/Sonoita area just south of Tucson. I haven’t been to this region very much but there are still a ton of wineries worth checking out. Finally, even more South is Willcox, AZ where most of the grapes are grown for Arizona wines. Willcox is a quiet town with some great tasting rooms and I’m excited for this town as the wine industry in Arizona grows.
Experiencing wine tasting in Arizona at any of these regions is different from anywhere else I’ve visited. It’s completely unique and after thinking about it a little bit, I’ve come up with a few reasons why everyone should experience visiting tasting rooms in Arizona.
Everyone is Super Passionate about the Wine and They Let You Know It
The Arizona wine scene is still relatively young, especially when you compare it to the old world regions, but because it is young, Arizona wine fans and winery employees are super excited and passionate about the wines. Why? Because they’re expressive and rich and are showing great potential to bring Arizona wine to the level of the Finger Lakes or California wine regions.
People will tell you how the wine makes them feel, what they taste in the wine, what food the wine would go great with all while having a smile span from ear to ear. It may sound silly but I’m completely serious. These people love Arizona wine and they make you love it just as much just from watching them and listening to them.
You’ll see what I mean after the first few Arizona tasting rooms you visit because, chances are, you’ll be hooked too. Just like me and everyone else I’ve walked into an Arizona tasting room with.
The Weather is Always Incredible
Sure, It might snow occasionally in Cochise County and Willcox but for the most part the weather is great in these regions of Arizona. The Verde Valley is has a little higher altitude from Phoenix so the temperature doesn’t get nearly as hot and during the winter it stays fairly moderate. Oh, and the sun is almost always out and shining on everyone’s faces. Elgin/Sonoita area can get a little warm but, again, not as hot as Phoenix.
If you’re looking for an escape from extreme weather in your area, no matter if it’s the crazy snowstorms of the Northeast or the heat of the summer, wine tasting in Arizona can be relief you need.
Music in the Tasting Rooms
Music in wine tasting rooms isn’t a new thing at all. Almost every wine region takes advantage of entertainment to get people to come into a tasting room and keep them there for as long as possible but the live music in the Arizona tasting rooms is really interactive. I play quite a bit in tasting rooms, especially in the the Verde Valley, and I’ve noticed people want to talk to musicians between songs and they want to support musicians just like they’re supporting the Arizona wine.
Music not only plays a huge role in the atmosphere of these tasting rooms but also in experiencing the wine tasting itself. Once while tasting the Pillsbury Wild Child white wine, I noticed it paired great with the album that I was listening to. Since then, my girlfriend and I have been writing wine and music pairings mostly using Arizona wines. Try a few for yourself!
The Wine has Arizona’s Personality
I saved my favorite reason why everyone should experience wine tasting in Arizona for last. Arizona wine has Arizona’s dusty desert tastes and smells, its imagery and its life. These wines have Arizona’s personality and you can taste it immediately. Tasting wine made from grapes grown in Arizona while in an Arizona tasting room really gives you a good sense of the wine and the region. You also get a sense for the passion behind it and the weather that helped make it so unique.
So organize a tour for yourself of any or all of the main regions and see how amazing wine tasting in Arizona is and maybe if I’m lucky, you’ll visit on a day when I’m playing!
What do you think about wine tasting in Arizona? Let me know in the comments!