Writing Pour Me Some Grapes for TucsonCitizen.com has led to a fantastic personal opportunity that will make me a wiser wine blogger. I have just moved 89 miles from my Tucson “roots” (okay, only 21 years)—to the Pillsbury Wine Company vineyard property in Willcox Wine Country. Soon I will be managing a new tasting room at this rustic working vineyard/farm in the Sulphur Springs Valley, just a couple miles from the Zarpara Vineyards tasting room, which opened a little over a year ago.
Why would any semi-respectable 60-some-year-old woman do such a crazy thing? If you’ve followed Pour Me Some Grapes at all, you know I am a champion for the wines produced in Arizona. Likewise, I have become captivated by the people who turn Arizona grapes into these palatable concoctions. I’ve said often that I’d really like to get more hands-on experience in the wine industry. Be careful what you wish for!
Who better to direct me into the Arizona wine business than famed New Zealand film and television director, Sam Pillsbury, who now gets red carpet reviews for the amazing wines he’s been creating with Arizona grapes since 2000.
Last December, Sam and I were musing on Facebook about the well-connected and supportive Willcox wine community. I mentioned I had considered moving to Willcox if I ever found suitable accommodations. Sam, who also operates a tasting room in Old Town Cottonwood, AZ, mentioned his charming cottage in the Pillsbury vineyard, which he’d like someone to open up as a tasting room.
Long story short, I now reside in that quaint vineyard cottage off Kansas Settlement Road, readying for my new life as a grapista*. I’ll continue blogging, writing, editing, and social marketing, which will be easy—with majestic mountain views all around, fruit and nut trees in bloom, birds galore, and, of course, vineyards everywhere, this is perhaps the most inspirational place I’ve ever lived and wrote.
The tasting experience here at the Pillsbury Wine Co. Vineyard Tasting Room will be as unique as its rustic locale. We plan to greet you with a complimentary taste of the Pillsbury Wild Child (red, white, or rose), making it well worth your time to seek out our distinctive setting and try our wines. The wide open spaces surrounding the tasting room beckon hanging out to enjoy the views and sharing a packed lunch and wine. Four days a week—Thurs.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m., I will share my digs with lively wine tasters, beginning sometime in mid-May.
Because I love my wine and respect where it comes from, I’ll also be pitching in—pruning, planting, harvesting, bottling, etc.—for the growing number of Willcox grape growers with vineyards nearby (22 vineyards at last count). I’m certain there is much joy to be discovered in the effort—and what a great balance to my many hours spent in front of the computer.
Cheers to my new life! Stay tuned as I continue to bring the Arizona wine news to you—from an insider’s perspective.
*DEFINITION—Grapista: One who pours wines (personally coined identity)