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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona has a wine country and it’s actually awesome


    What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “Arizona”? Desert? Dry? Cactus? How about wine? Oh yes, all you 21-year-olds, get excited. I bet a lot of you didn’t know about Arizona’s relatively new wine business. Starting in 1983, some brave souls decided to plant grapes in the mountains outside of Tucson, just to see what would happen. Lo and behold, the vineyards actually took. So if you’re ever in the mood to be classy and drunk at the same time, check out one of these vineyards:

    Sonoita Vineyards

    So who was the guy who thought, “Hey, let me try and see if grapes will grow in Arizona”? That would be Dr. Gordon Dutt, a retired soil scientist from the UA. In 1973 he and collogue Blake Brophy decided to test what would happen to grapes used to make red wine when planted. His prediction was that the sun would bleach the grapes and produce wine with poor color and low acidity. To his amazement, it did just the opposite and produced the perfect winemaking grape. This marked the beginning of the oldest vineyard in southeast Arizona.

    Visiting Hours:
    Open 7 days a week, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    Wine tasting is $8 and includes a souvenir glass

    Upcoming festival: Saint Martin’s New Release Festival, Saturday Nov. 10, 2012

    Kief-Joshua Vineyards

    Interested in sustainability and locally-grown alcohol? Kief-Joshua Vineyards has taken on the challenge of making all the practices of their vineyard sustainable. Some of the practices they use at the moment are utilizing baby doll sheep as means of weed control and nesting boxes and bird houses around the vineyard to deter critters from ruining the crops. They also recycle old wine barrels by turning them into various pieces of furniture, such as high-top barrel tables, end-tables, candleholders, bottle racks and chandeliers that can be purchased at the vineyard.

    Visiting Hours:
    Open 7 days a week, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    Private tastings and tours are available by appointment
    Also offers a variety of unique tastings as per interest in wine.

    Callaghan Vineyards

    Think of a dream you have or goal you’d like to accomplish. You know that dream you’ve always had in the back of your mind, something you know you could do and succeed? Well, imagine it being squashed. That’s exactly what happened to the Callaghan family when they planted their first vineyard in 1990. Arizona decided to do what it does best and strike up a record heat wave, killing a few thousand newly-planted grape vines. But the family didn’t let that stop them. They picked their heads up and the Callaghan M.O. replanting began. Since then, they have focused on planting assortments popular in the Mediterranean region.

    Visiting Hours
    Friday-Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Wine tasting is $10 and includes a souvenir glass

    New Release Tasting, Friday-Sunday in Nov. offers a newly featured red wine, available for tasting and/or sale

    Charron Vineyards

    In 2009, the Craig family decided to drop everything to pursue their longtime passion for wine. Instead of buying land in the California or Texas areas, they settled for a small, 9-acre vineyard located just 30 minutes from downtown Tucson. Charron, although small, has been climbing up the popularity ladder throughout the region, going as far as winning a Governor’s Choice Award for their white Merlot.

    Visiting Hours:
    Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    Wine tasting is only $5 for 6 wines and includes a souvenir glass

    Rancho Rossa Vineyards

    Rancho Rossa prides itself on being one of the largest family-owned vineyards outside of Tucson. The small, family-type feel is exactly what they offer when it comes to providing hospitality to the vineyard visitors. Producing only 1100 cases of wine a year, they take their time to focus on their ultra-premium dry bottling. An unusual perk of buying Rancho Rossa wines? They donate $0.10 to the American Cancer Society for every bottle sold from the vineyard.

    Visiting Hours:
    Friday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Paige “@WriteItPaige”:

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