Arizona is a growing wine travel destination that’s continuously gaining attention from wine enthusiasts. The first Arizonians that started producing wine in the state were the Spanish Missionaries. Wine production may have started in the 1700s, but it was in the 1970s when wine cultivation in Arizona started to thrive as an industry. Today, there are more than thirty vintners actively growing grapes in Arizona. The state’s wine industry might be young, but it’s growing fast.
Wine Growing Regions in Arizona
The high desert grassland with altitudes ranging from 4,000' to 5,000' in elevation is among the largest vegetative areas in Arizona. It’s in this elevation area where most of the wineries in Arizona are located. The soils and climate in Arizona’s wine growing areas are similar to southern France, southeastern Australia and Spain. The cooler nights and hot daytime temperatures of the state’s high desert grassland allow grapes to grow well.
There are 3 main wine growing areas in the state. One of these areas is the Wilcox Zone where a number of wineries are situated. The towns of Cornville, Skull Valley, Sedona and Jerome are the main points in Arizona’s Northern zone. Northern Arizona is also usually associated with the Verde River Valley. Elgin, Patagonia and Sonoita are the main points in the state’s Southern Central zone.
Taking Interstate 10 east from Tucson will help you reach the Wilcox Zone fast. If you want to visit the Northern Zone, you should consider taking Interstate 17 north from Phoenix. Take State Highway 179 to reach Sedona. To reach Jerome, consider taking Alternate 89 from Sedona. Take Interstate 10 east to State Highway 83 if you want to reach Sonoita. Take State Highway 82 if you want to reach Elgin and Patagonia from Sonoita.
Success in growing grapes depends on the variety of vine chosen and proper climatic conditions. These are most crucial factors that ultimately affect the quality of grapes. Soil condition is also significant, but it can be controlled by adding minerals and fertilizers. Providing the right mineral content to the roots is the most important thing. The soil should be tested to see if it doesn’t have poisonous mineral content. These zones in Arizona offer the right blend of low humidity, rich soil and medium elevation that is perfect for growing grapes.
The wineries in Arizona are clustered together within only a few miles, so making a day trip to these wine growing areas is one of the best things that you can do to experience what Arizona’s wine industry is really like. Bring a friend with you or you can also do it alone. Regardless of your decision, you can enjoy a day trip to Arizona’s wine growing areas and wineries.
Some wines from Arizona have obtained both international and national awards. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Riesling, Mataro and Sauvignon Blanc are just some of the best wines from Arizona. Restaurants in Arizona also serve these wines. If you’re visiting Arizona for the first time, don’t forget to include its wineries in your to-do list.
By: Chris Hartland