Arizona wine has an estimated economic impact of $38 million, according to a recent study funded by the Arizona Office of Tourism and completed by Northern Arizona University. The Arizona wine industry is one of the fastest growing value-added industries in the state, creating jobs and wealth while preserving sustainable agriculture statewide.
In 1980, there were less than 10 wineries in Arizona. Today there are more than 50 bonded wineries, with many more in the development phase. The number of vineyard acres has grown dramatically, and many new vineyards and wineries are planned. The state’s wine is surging in popularity, earning national acclaim from Wine Spectator to Sunset Magazine to USA Today. Arizona wine also has been served at James Beard House dinners and poured at the White House.
At least 20 of the producers of Arizona wines will showcase their talents outdoors among the pecan groves at the annual Arizona Wine Growers Festival at The Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix this Saturday, November 19, 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at the gate, although admission is limited to the first 1,000 people.
Don’t miss this chance to meet the folks behind the rising Arizona wine movement and sip the juice from our state’s beautiful wine regions. In addition to tasting the fruits of labor from more than Arizona wineries, participants can attend educational seminars that will be taking place. Here is the schedule.
People’s Choice Award Voting will take place from 1:30-3:30pm. Participants will taste some of the top scoring wines from the 2011 Arizona Wine Growers Competition. Choose the “people’s choice” winners and enjoy a lively discussion with the folks who are on the front lines selling Arizona wines. Hear from them regarding the challenges they face getting AZ wines out to the public.
Have you ever struggled to find the perfect wine to go with a special dinner? Or create the perfect menu to go with a terrific bottle of wine? Learn the answers to those questions at Food and Wine Pairing 101, 1:30-2:00pm. The secret about food and wine pairing is simple—there are no rules. The days of having white wine only with fish or chicken and red wine with meats are gone with the rule of not wearing white after Labor Day. Hear from two experts—highly acclaimed Chef LaPrad, Quiessence, and winemaker (and devoted foodie) Curt Dunham, Lawrence Dunham Vineyards—discuss the art of food and wine pairing.
Uncover the Mystery of the Wine Label & Other Wine Facts, 2:30-3:00pm. Some wine labels have a lot of information, some very little. You’ll learn from AJ’s Fine Foods cellar masters Mark Stanton, Sharon L Webster, and Steven Sphar what is required on a label, what the words mean, and what they would like to see more or less of on a label to help you learn about a wine and make a good buying decision.
From 3:00-4:00pm, join in at Celebrate AZ Award Winning Wines. The Arizona Wine Competition is conducted annually by the Arizona Republic with an expert panel of judges. Taste some of the winners from the 2011 Wine Competition and learn why the judges selected the wine as the best of the best. Each winemaker will provide the vision for the wine, background on how the wine was created, and discuss that vintage’s growing conditions that might have influenced the wine’s quality. Host and moderator will Richard Ruelas of the Arizona Republic; winemakers will be determined when the winners are announced.
Place your bid on wine, special dinners, gift certificates, and more at the Silent Auction from 1:00-3:30pm. Tom Johnson of TRUST the Gallery (located in the Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards tasting room in Willcox) tells me they have donated three pieces to this portion of The Farm event.
The event ends with a very lively Live Auction beginning at 3:30pm. Amazing auction lots include Chef/Winemaker pairings, vacation packages, and wine tasting experiences. The Chef-Winemaker pairings will include an opportunity to bid on a culinary and wine tasting adventure. This year’s packages include dinners for six prepared by the chef along with wines produced by the winemaker. Make sure to pre-register at the silent auction in order to qualify for some great giveaways!
See you at The Farm, this Saturday, November 19, 2011—Cheers!