The annual Willcox Fall Wine Festival is set for this Saturday and Sunday. Willcox is a short & scenic 1-hr drive east of Tucson. The event will take place in the historic Railroad Park in downtown Willcox. Wine tasting, food, and music round out the affair.
The Willcox area is one of Arizona’s most productive agricultural zones, and is home to a number of Arizona vineyards. Many of the vineyards are not actually located in the immediate Willcox area—they are situated about 15-miles south of Willcox, in an area known as Kansas Settlement. “KS” is located along a small, rural highway that connects Willcox to the Mexican border town of Agua Prieta and the Mexican state of Sonora.
Grapevines thrive in this region, mostly because the soil is incredibly fertile, and they enjoy an incredibly pure and plentiful supply of mountain water from the aquifer. The grapes here grow at about 4,300-feet, and the Mediterranean and Spanish varietals do best.
If you’ve never tried Arizona wines, you’ll be pleasantly surprised from the first sip. Arizona’s vineyards and a growing throng of very talented winemakers produce an incredibly rich, complex wine portfolio, with special attention to Rhone-valley blends of Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Petit Syrah, and Grenache. These wines are spiced with a deep, red/black grape called Petit Verdot, and Mark Beres, a new winemaker from Willcox, tells us they are looking to introduce a new varietal to the region called Tannat.
Head on over to Willcox this weekend—the festival is small, cozy, and quaint, and the tasting experience at this festival is quite up-front and personal. Your $10 tasting fee includes 6 wine tastings, a commemorative glass, and live entertainment. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased at the hospitality kiosk.
Elgin Hosts Grape Stomp 5K Next Week
It’s great fun to run (and walk) in and around the vineyards with like-minded wine lovers, and this is your chance to join in on the fun next Saturday, October 22.
The Elgin/Sonoita Region leg of the Arizona Wine Growers Association Grape Stomp 5K will be starting at the Sonoita Hills Community Church at 52 Elgin Rd. From there, the course takes runners through Rancho Rossa’s vineyard and then back onto scenic Elgin Rd. with views of the Huachuca Mountain range, the Biscuit, and rolling grasslands. The finish line is at Callaghan Vineyards where runners can enjoy refreshments, beverages and the awards ceremony.
The race will start at 8:00am. Runners may pick up their race materials as early one day prior to the 5k at Dos Cabezas WineWorks between 12pm-4pm. If you haven’t registered yet, arrive as early at 7am at Callaghan Vineyards to complete the process. Complimentary shuttle service will then take runners/walkers to the starting line. Each participant will receive a running tote bag which will contain a t-shirt, wine glass, and discount coupons among other information on local businesses. Wine glasses can be used at all of the local wineries for a discount on tastings.
Proceeds from The Great Arizona Grape Stomp 5K Fun Runs benefit the Arizona Wine Growers Association which serves grape growers and winemakers in Arizona, allying its members for representation, promotion, and education. The association strives to advance with integrity the sustainable growth and production of authentic Arizona-grown wines.
Cheers to your weekend; pour yourself some grapes—make that Arizona wines!