We lived in Arizona for six years and I honestly didn’t even realize that grapes could grow in the desert! So when my friend Camella invited me to explore some of Sonoita’s (southern Arizona’s wine country) wineries, I couldn’t wait to see just how Arizona wine measured up. I absolutely loved the casual, cool, and friendly vibe of Arizona Hops and Vines, Sonoita’s newest – and probably coolest – winery.
Arizona Hops and Vines is a family run farm complete with grapes and pygmy goats. We met Shannon, one of the two-sister pair behind the hip winery and her bubbly personality was contagious. Her eclectic style mixes right in with the winery, uniquely pairing potato chips and cheetos with the various wines with funky names.
My tasting started out with a white wine simply called Summer paired with plain potato chips. Summer is a blend of Verdelho, Albarino, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. It had a bit of crispness to it and was refreshing with temperatures already creeping up near 100°F at 11am.
I’m generally not a big fan of rosé, but the First Crush made mostly from Garnacha grapes had delicious tastes of strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and citrus. The barbecue chips brought out the intensity of the flavors. I’d definitely sit on their lovely patio sipping this punchy rosé.
Moxy, a red wine with some real, well, moxy, stole the show for me. It’s Arizona Hops and Vines award winning wine and sister Megan designed the special label. Only 1000 cases were produced and the winery has nearly sold out. Produced from 100% Graciano grapes, Moxy is big and bold with bursts of blueberry and a nice oakiness. Paired with cheetos, they just brought out the juiciness of this wine.
When Moxy is sold out, Imbibe.2 is the next best thing. A red and barrel-aged blend, it is earthy and chocolaty with hints of pepper. Also perfect with the cheetos, it’s smooth and works even on a hot day.
Admittedly, I cringed at the super sweetness of The Fluffer (the wine, not the movie about the adult film industry. Get your mind out of the gutter!). That is until Shannon toned down the sweetness of the Muscat grapes with a splash of juice that she called pina colada. Though Shannon noted that The Fluffer can be toned done with any acidic juice. I probably would still pass on this sugary-sweet wine, but if you like your wine sweet you’d love this one.
So, I covered the “vines” part of their name. What’s up with the hops? They’re just waiting on the last pieces of those pesky licenses to fall into place and then they’ll be making their own craft beer as well.
And before you leave, with a case of wine in hand, no doubt, don’t forget to write down a wish, drop it into the wishing barrel smack in the middle of the tasting room, and give the bell a good, loud ring. Wishes are toasted to and then burned for good luck at Arizona Hops and Vines annual Summer Solstice bonfire.
Know Before You Go