Arizona has long been thought of as a state that is only really suitable for people who have the intestinal fortitude required to handle blistering temperatures pretty much year round. This would make you wonder why the area in around Tucson in the southern part of the state is in such high demand. The answer may lie in its natural beauty, as well as the fact that the weather is a whole lot more temperate. It is the combination of climate, rolling hills, and almost perfect soil that has made areas like Sonoita, Elgin, and Wilcox the perfect place to grow grapes.
In the grand scheme of things, Arizona wineries are still very much the new kids on the grape block, yet they have managed to build a very solid reputation in a short period of time. Wineries in Sonoita were originally visited for their curiosity factor, but now wine lovers travel the Sonoita/Elgin Wine Trail to sample the many delicious, award-winning wines that are now being produced there on a daily basis. This is a must visit part of the world for anyone interested not just in wine, but also the growing process.
As already mentioned, Sonoita wineries have not really been around that long, with the oldest winery in the area being the Sonoita Vineyards, which was founded in 1983. They have grown dramatically in the years since, and now have over 40 acres of vines growing from which they can pluck grapes to make their award winning collection of wines. They offer up a number of different varieties, all of which can be sampled during a visit, but the highlight has to be the Cabernet Sauvignon that they created, which was chosen by wine critics for serving at a Presidential Inauguration Gala. Their tasting room is a must visit, and you can even take a private tour of the winery if you wish.
Another one of the wineries in Sonoita that has received a Presidential seal of approval is the Callaghan Vineyards, as they have had their wines served at the White House no less than three different times. Furthermore, while Janet Napolitano was governor, she designated the vineyard as one of Arizona’s “Treasures,” which is lofty praise indeed. These are just two excellent example of the Sonoita wineries that can be found along the Wine Trail, but there are many more besides, as well as tasting rooms where you can sample the vast array of wine varieties that are made in the area. Some of these wineries operate on a huge scale, while others are more limited, yet no less worthy of your time.
The entire area has truly embraced the introduction of grapes and wine, as there are now numerous festivals and events that take place in and around Sonoita. You can even take part in a 5K run called The Great Arizona Grape Stomp, which takes place several times throughout the year, with a different winery chosen as the starting point for each one. This is a truly original way to sample Arizona wineries while you run for a cause. Forget all you think you know about the state, and head to the south to sample some of the best wines created in the US.