AZ wants to squeeze into the competitive wine-making marketplace

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(3TV/CBS 5) -

Here in Arizona, the annual wine harvest is going on right now.

Eric Glomski owns Page Springs Cellars, a business located in Northern Arizona.

“It’s a pretty neat annual ritual," Glomski says, adding that it is a ritual that’s months in the making here southeastern Arizona. “It’s a lot of work.”

Work that starts well before the sun comes up. Matt Raica is a winemaker at Arizona Stronghold.

“This one’s coming out really nicely.”

Raica goes on to say the work continues late into the night.

“During harvest, a short day for us will be 10 hours and a long day we had 22 hours straight.”

But for every bottle of Arizona wine that consumers drink, there’s a ton of physical labor has gone into it.

“Start with all three rows.”

“Ultimately, this is the part that most consumers don’t know a lot about. There are winery tours, people know about barrels, people know about grapes coming in and crushing and sniffing and pontificating but really this is where great wine is made.”

For the next few months, winegrower Glomski along with his crew will be harvesting grapes.

“I can’t believe how fast those guys are picking.”

From places like this Estate vineyard in Southern Arizona... to a production facility near Camp Verde.

“We’re at just coming up on a 14-hour day right now. We’ll probably be here another hour or two at least.”

Raica and his crew will be here well into the night, starting the transformation of all these grapes into wine you can drink.

“If you love wine-making, it’s definitely glamorous, even though you, every day, you’re covered in grape juice and sugars. By the end of the day, you’re covered in wine. It’s definitely a labor of love.”

But at the end of this year-long process, all of their hard work, the clipping, the lifting, the crushing and fermenting all ends up in here.

Now's the time, so we sent a crew down to southern Arizona to find out exactly what goes into making a great bottle of wine.

Varieties include Page Springs Cellars, Arizona Stronghold or Provisioner wine.

Raica adds, “We just care that you enjoy what’s in the bottle. That’s why we do the hard work is so that you enjoy it when you have it at home or on a date or wedding anniversary or whenever you choose to have it.”

Along with these three producers, Arizona has more than 100 other wineries growing grapes or producing wine. That brings in over $50 million and employs over 600 people.

And they're halfway through the grape harvest right now and they should be done by the end of October.

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