Arizona gets serious about wine


by Javier Soto

Bio | Email | Follow: @JavierSotoTV

Posted on February 26, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 26 at 1:00 PM

PHOENIX -- When you think of wine, you'd probably think of Napa before you'd think of Arizona.

But as Javier Soto found out on Tuesday's Good Morning Arizona, that's slowly changing.

The wine business has been growing in our state since the 1970s, and Arizona is gradually becoming known as a wine-making state. Some Arizona wine has even been served at the White House.

Kimber Lanning, the founder of Devour Phoenix, tells us that there's a lot happening on the Arizona wine scene. "If you're not paying attention to Arizona wines, you're missing out," she says.

Lanning says most of our state's great wineries are just a day trip away. "Tasting rooms are popping up in three distinct regions in Arizona," she says. "We've got the Verde Valley region and the Verde Valley Wine Trail. In Southern Arizona, you've got Cochise County; tons of vineyards down there, all around the Willcox area. And the third area is the Sonoita/Elgin area."

Arizona vineyards are located in high altitude areas, about 4,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The climate in these areas has been compared to the climate of Mendoza, Argentina, or Chile, with cooler summers temperatures and lower temperatures in the evening.

Soil studies have shown that Southern Arizona soil is similar to the soil in Spain's Ribera Del Duero and Southern France. "The soil here is top notch", she says. "It's really remarkable what they've been able to do."

Lanning reveals that some of the major players in the Arizona wine scene are the Pillsbury Wine Company, Page Springs Cellars, Caduceus Cellars and Arizona Stronghold Vineyards.

"We're growing grapes to produce white and red wines," Lanning says. There's also some rose, so pretty much this is for any wine lover.Many Arizona wines will be featured at the Devoured Culinary Classic, which takes place March 9th and 10th at the Phoenix Art Museum. You can find more information on the event's website.