Grape harvesting is in full swing in the Southeast Arizona vineyards, beginning in mid-August. Crews of paid workers join with volunteers to hand-pick the fields, as each grape is determined to be ripe enough. Then, the crushing process begins. Vineyards are reporting remarkable yields. Look for even more stellar Arizona wines to come—2013 could be the second banner harvest in a row for these wineries. If you’d like to volunteer to help with a harvest, just contact your favorite Arizona winemaker.
Grape growers and winemakers work hard—and play hard. To celebrate the bounty and hard work, many local wineries are planning public events.
Magdalena Bash Harvest & Music Festival
Join the Kief-Joshua Vineyards for its second annual Magdalena Bash Harvest & Music Festival Saturday, Aug. 24, 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m. at the Elgin Road winery. The day celebrates new wine releases, great food, and music. Magdelena, aka Grandma, who turns 94 this week, will be on site to sign bottles of Kief-Joshua Magdalena 2012. Featured musicians will be Blaine Long and Jeordie, daughter of 60′s pop star Melanie. Locally Arizona will be selling chicken wings, sandwiches, and more.
The wine tasting fee of $8 includes a souvenir glass.
Pillsbury’s First Harvest Festival
Winemaker Sam Pillsbury will be hosting his first Harvest Festival at the Vineyards in Willcox on Sunday, Sept 1, beginning at 1:00 p.m. The festival, celebrating Pillsbury Wine’s bountiful grape harvests, will take place on the 100-acre vineyard/farm situated in the Kansas Settlement area surrounding the new Willcox tasting room.
Guests will receive a complimentary custom Pillsbury outdoor wine glass for the $25 admission, plus enjoy unique foods, music, and art. Enjoy $5 glasses of wine, or purchase by the bottle to enjoy in this casual remote setting. Patrons are encouraged to set up camp (camping vehicles, tents, or hammocks) and spend the night (a nominal fee per campsite will be charged). Pillsbury suggests, “Arrive early to claim the perfect spot for appreciating our breath-taking sunset and a night-filled sky of a bazillion stars.”
Food will include vineyard manager Cirilo’s incredible sheep tacos and salsa, and Sam and Bonnie will whip up side dishes featuring abundance from their onsite garden and other local farms. A surprise breakfast for campers is in the works.
Inside the tasting room, a private art show featuring the works of Asher Pillsbury, son of Sam, hosted by Thomas and Kim Johnson of TRUST Art & Design.
AZ Hops & Vines Great Crush Festival
The second annual Great Crush Festival at Arizona Hops and Vines will take place on Saturday, Sept. 7 at its Sonoita vineyard, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This is a big-league wine and beer festival featuring craft beer, barefoot grape-crushing, live music, Hops & Vines’ amazing wine, and delicious food from Southern Arizona’s huge food cart community. As always, the Sober Shack will be serving up super special sodas and Sno-Cones with activities to keep kids busy. The $20 entry fee includes tickets for food and drinks.
Great Arizona Grape Stomp 5K series begins in Willcox
The first leg of the Great Arizona Grape Stomp 5K Fun Run tour begins through the vines of Zarpara Vineyards in Willcox, on Saturday, Sept. 21, 8:00 a.m. The registration fee is $35 includes a runner’s tote bag, event t-shirt, wine glass, and discount coupons. The wine glasses can be used at local wineries for discounts.
The great Arizona Grape Stomp is a collection of four different 5K runs that will take place across the state. This is a fun way to make a tour across Arizona enjoying the fresh air, beautiful unique landscape, and tasting some fabulous wines.
The Arizona Wine Growers Association (AWGA) 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.