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 Arizona Wineries: Who Would Have Thought? 
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Post Arizona Wineries: Who Would Have Thought?
Arizona Wineries: Who Would Have Thought?
by: Ronald Senn

Ideal Wine Coolers is located in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona. People have commented that a business selling wine refrigerators should be closer to the infamous wine growing regions of the United States like Napa Valley for example. The fact of this matter is that the Desert Southwest is home to more than just the Grand Canyon. A wide variety of award winning wines can be discovered in the great State of Arizona.

The Spanish Missionaries of the 1700’s were the first “Arizonans” to start producing wine in the region. Wineries scattered here and there survived through the years, but in the 1970’s, wine cultivation in Arizona really begin to flourish as an industry. Currently there are over 30 vintners actively culturing grapes in the great state of Arizona and the industry, while young, is growing fast. One of the largest vegetative zones in Arizona is the high desert grassland with elevations ranging from 4,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation. It is in this elevation zone where most of the wineries in the state are established.

There are three primary wine growing zones in the state. One of the zones is in northern Arizona and is commonly associated with the Verde River Valley. Towns with names like Skull Valley, Cornville, Jerome, and Sedona are the focal point of what I term the Northern Zone. In what I call the Southern Central zone, the communities of Sonoita, Patagonia and Elgin are the focal points. The last zone can simply be called the Wilcox Zone, where several wineries are located, but other close communities like Bowie and Portal also are home to wine growers.

Because of the clustering of wineries within each respective zone, it is very realistic to make a day trip to one of the growing areas to discover Arizona wines. To tour the Northern Zone, take Interstate 17 north from Phoenix and then State Highway 179 to Sedona. Take Alternate 89 from Sedona to reach the Jerome area. To visit the Wilcox Zone, take Interstate 10 east from Tucson to reach that wine growing area. The Southern Central Zone can be accessed by taking Interstate 10 east to State Highway 83 to reach Sonoita. Wineries in Patagonia and Elgin can be reached from Sonoita on State Highway 82.

Arizona’s high desert grassland hot daytime temperatures and cooler nights make for “happy” grapes. The climate and soils in the wine growing regions of Arizona are similar to regions around the world like southeastern Australia, Spain and southern France. The Arizona Wine Grower’s Association (AWGA) also views the Arizona wine growing region as similar to the area located around Paso Robles, California. If you want to know more about Arizona Winery locations, check the website of the AWGA.

Some Arizona wines have received national and international awards. They have been served in prestigious places like the White House. Red and white wine types that are especially good are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mataro, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Zinfandel. Arizona’s wine country, while infantile relative to other U.S. wine growing regions, is worth the time to investigate.

Do not forget to keep all your wines safely stored to protect their taste and longevity. At Ideal Wine Coolers, you can find a wide variety of wine storage solutions that will fit your every need.

Author: Ronald Senn, Vice-president, Ideal Wine Coolers, 2/2010

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About The Author
Ronald Senn is currently Vice-president of Ideal Wine Coolers. Ron served in the U.S. Navy from 1966-1970. Ron graduated from the University of Arizona with BS and MS Degrees. Ron is retired from the U.S. Forest Service after serving over 30 years.

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Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:32 pm
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