Curious about how all that wine joy made it to that one little glass? The opportunity to learn about the journey from grape to glass will take place on Saturday, August 27, 11:00am to 3:00pm, at the Lawrence Dunham Vineyards in Pearce, Arizona, just south of Willcox.
To help them celebrate this year’s harvest and learn more about the wine grape-growing and winemaking process, sign up to attend the second annual Grape to Glass Symposium held at the winery. The event is limited to 80 participants who will tour the vineyard and winery with the winemaker and enjoy a gourmet lunch paired with Lawrence Dunham Vineyards’ wines. Lunch features locally-grown cheeses and produce as well as mesquite grilled flat iron steaks paired with Petite Sirah, grilled salmon and shrimp perfectly paired with Sky Island Grenache, and a variety of salads and desserts.
Unique to this event is that the attendees participate in the state’s largest tasting panel. The panel input provides the winemaker valuable feedback on the upcoming 2010 blending process. Wines are evaluated throughout the maturing process typically only by the winemaker or trusted wine enthusiasts. The Symposium allows participants to taste and evaluate several different blends compiled by the winemaker directly from the barrel.
Lawrence Dunham Vineyards creates hand-crafted Rhone-varietal wines that reflect its unique Southeastern Arizona environment. The 5000’ elevation provides warm days, cool nights, mountain breezes, and four-season climate essential for quality wine production. The transformation that wine grapes go through as they journey from the vineyard to the bottle centers around the gentle handling of the grapes through the winemaking process.
“We process small batches and do not fine or filter our wines which we believe creates an extraordinary mouth-feel and well-balanced taste,” said Curt Dunham owner/winemaker. “The harvest that began this month is a critical point in the journey from grape to glass as it culminates the growing season and begins the transition to the winemaking process,” Dunham said.
“Harvest has begun a little earlier this year and the timing of the Symposium could provide an added experience for participants. The Viognier grapes have been harvested and we are hoping for a bit more hang time in the vineyard for the Grenache, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. However, it has been warm and they are ripening fast,” said Dunham.
From veraison (grapes changing color) to harvest, the real skill of the vineyard manager comes into play as the weather is closely monitored. Last August, the Lawrence Dunham Vineyards received over ten inches of rain, a great deal more than the typical rainfall allowing them to reduce the irrigated water application. This summer rain has been plentiful too causing Ash Creek, which cuts the property in half, to overflow its banks.
Time will tell if the journey from the vine to the wine exceeds the winemaker’s expectations. But one thing for certain, the quality of the wine produced will be heavily influenced on the unpredictable journey from the grape to the glass.
Several spots are still available to experience this symposium. To register for the Lawrence Dunham Vineyards’ Grape to Glass Symposium email your attendance to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 602/320-1485. Cost is $45.00 and includes lunch and wine, tours, and barrel tasting panel.