The first week in November has been proclaimed "Arizona Wine Week" by Gov. Jan Brewer. To celebrate, there is going to be three different Phoenix events in honor of wine and wine connoisseurs alike.
On Friday, Nov. 5, the Celebration of the Arizona Growers Reception will be at the Quiessence Restaurant at the Farm at South Mountain, 6106 S. 32nd St., where attendees will be able to sample top scoring wines from the 2010 wine competition and talk with wine makers from across the state.
On Saturday, Nov. 6, the Arizona Wine Growers Festival will be hosted from 1 to 5 p.m. in the pecan groves at the Farm at South Mountain near Ahwatukee Foothills.
Festival-goers will have the chance to partake in wine tastings, educational seminars, various outdoor activities, live music and will be provided with a picnic lunch, according to Kerri Conlon, event director for The Festival at the Farm, adding that there will be a live auction at the festival, and that they will be auctioning off various wine and dinner packages.
More than 20 local wineries are expected to attend the festival, and will be representing the state's three different wine growing areas.
Tickets for all three events can be purchased online at Arizonawine.org, and are $65 per person, per event.
If Arizona Wine Week doesn't sound appealing, or doesn't work for your schedule, don't forget that you can always visit one of Arizona's award-winning wineries in Northern Arizona for a cool and refreshing weekend get-away.
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards recently won a gold medal for its Nachise blend - a red table wine - in this year's 27th Annual Lone Star International Wine Competition in Grapevine, Texas. They also placed in the top half of the 2010 Judgment of Arizona Wines, a blindly tested wine competition in Scottsdale that put 10 Arizona wines against 10 wines from the world's top wine-growing regions, according to an Arizona Stronghold press release.
Arizona Stronghold Vineyard was founded in 2007 as a collaborated effort between Maynard James Keenan, singer for the bands TOOL and A Perfect Circle, and winemaker Eric Glomski, with the hopes that they would be able to help launch the Arizona wine industry into something much greater, according to the press release. Keenan and Glomski's efforts can be seen in the documentary Blood Into Wine, released in early 2010.
Located two hours north of Ahwatukee Foothills in historic downtown Cottonwood, Ariz., is the Stronghold Vineyard tasting room. Open to the public daily, they offer tastings of their now famous Nachise wine, as well as other featured red and white vino. Recently, the winery released four of its site archive white wines that can only be sampled at the tasting room.
Currently, Stronghold Vineyard offers five different flight tastings - a white, light red, big red, heavy red and pure for $9 a piece. Each tasting includes five different wines and a wine glass that tasters can take home with them.
Kevin Grubb, a tasting room associate, said that many people are surpriseds that grapes grow so well in Arizona, but with the area's hot and cold climate at the base of the Chiricahua Mountains, where the grapes are grown, it's a perfect environment.
"The grapes just love it," Grubb said.
The tasting room, 1023 N. Main St., is open 365 days a year and the hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Sunday; noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; and noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
If wine isn't your thing, but you still feel like getting out of town, the Cottonwood area still has something great to offer. Located in historic downtown is also the Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders, who specialize in fresh oils and vinegars.
On Thursday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders invite the public to taste its 30-plus varieties of fresh oils and vinegars, including blood orange extra-virgin olive oil and dark chocolate balsamic vinegar.
Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders, 1014 N. Main St., is right down the street from the Arizona Stronghold wine tasting room.
To find out more about Arizona Wine Week, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards and the Verde Valley Olive Oil Traders, check out their websites at www.Arizonawine.org, www.azstronghold.com and www.vvwinetrail.com/oliveoiltasting.html.
Chelsea Brown is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.