Things are really heating up in Arizona vineyards this time of year — the grapes are beginning to ripen with harvesting soon to follow. To commemorate the honored wine-making process, the first leg of the Great Arizona Grape Stomp 5K Fun Run will kick off in Sonoita and Elgin about an hour south of Tucson this Saturday, JULY 24, 8:00am. It’s still not too late to take place in this first of four different 5K runs that will benefit the Arizona Wine Growers Association.
Run through the rolling hills and beautiful ranch land of the Sonoita/Elgin region, starting on Elgin Road at the beginning of Winery Row and ending at Kief-Joshua Vineyards. Runners will pass the vineyards of Lightning Ridge Cellars, Rancho Rossa, Callaghan, Pronghorn (Dos Cabezas WineWorks), Canelo Hills and finally, Kief Joshua.
Participants earn a commemorative Grape Stomp wine glass that can be used for tastings at all the wineries in the area, including Charron Vineyards, Sonoita Vineyards, Village of Elgin, Wilhelm Family Vineyards, as well as all the wineries along the run.
From the Sonoita/Elgin region, the second leg of the Stomp heads north to the Verde Valley region on August 28. Next it’s off to the Sulphur Springs/Willcox region where the race is set for September 18, with a final celebration run in Phoenix on October 30, 2010, signaling the beginning of the Arizona Wine Growers Association’s Arizona unofficial wine week (the same week as my birthday!). Those who participate in all four 5Ks will be designated a “Grape Stomp Connoisseur” and awarded a special gift. What a fun way to tour Arizona enjoying the fresh air, beautiful unique landscape and tasting some fabulous wines.
Arizona’s vineyards and wineries are located in the high desert, and that means the temperatures are 20-to-30 degrees cooler than in Tucson and Phoenix. Let’s get out of the heat, go for a run and sip some tasty vino.
For more information or to register, go to Grape Stomp.
Harvest Time at Charron Vineyards
Ever since Lucy stomped grapes in a vat on television, I’ve been captivated with the entire wine-making process. Milton and Susan Craig are two like-minded dreamers who have taken their fascination of the wine-making experience to the next level as the owners of Charron Vineyards in Vail, AZ — Pima County’s only vineyard. (Heck, I just settled for blogging about wine.)
So for those of us who are hopelessly curious, the good news is that harvest time is coming up for those beautiful grapes in the Charron Vineyard and the Craigs are welcoming the public to help with the picking. Harvest date is tentatively set for Saturday, July 31, but it might be delayed if the grapes want a little more time to get sweeter. Seriously, they’re listening to their grapes.
The pickin’ begins around 5:00am (or as early as you can make it) and they hope to finish up by about 1:00pm. No experience or tools are necessary, but if you’re an experienced picker, feel free to bring your own shears. The Miltons are also looking for help with the prep work on Friday preceding harvest – such as removing bird netting and setting up the equipment.
Sounds like a lot of fun, and if you want firsthand experience to the start of production of this year’s release of White Merlot, this is for you. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. To join in on the harvest, contact Charron Vineyards. Then keep in touch with them to find out exactly what day the grapes say they’ll be ready.