the Arizona wine industry started here
It’s the soil! That’s what makes Sonoita Vineyards the birthplace of Arizona wines.
In the 1970s, Gordon Dutt, Ph.D., a soil scientist from the University of Arizona, learned the soil in the Sonoita region matched the Burgundy region in France. He persuaded the federal government to classify it as an American Viticultural Area (AVA)and started the Sonoita Vineyards. Now the Sonoita AVA boast several wineries and is highly respected in the wine industry.
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Forty years later, Sonoita Vineyards produces a wide variety of delicious wines, and a lot of great events to make your trip here a true delight.
Check out the 2019 Tucson Gem and Mineral Showcase with this ultimate guide.
About the Sonoita Vineyards:
The Vineyards & Winery
Sonoita Vineyards is a 30+ acre vineyard situated on the south side of a hillside, surrounded by rolling grasslands and several mountain ranges. This hillside planting protects the vines from harsh winds and frost. The grape varietals grown at Sonoita Vineyards are Chardonnay, Mission, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. In 2013 we planted on Malbec, and in April of 2017 we planted Tannat.
Certainly there are challenges to growing fine wine grapes in the climate of the American Southwest, but Vineyard Manager, Robi Reynolds, takes advantage of the benefits this region offers. The phylloxera louse finds life in such dry weather extremely difficult – if not impossible, as do most rot, mold and mildew. Cold winters in the high altitude of Arizona greatly reduce the risk of Pierces disease. Insects and other pests generally exist in much lower concentrations in desert areas as compared to the lush valleys of California and the Pacific Northwest, providing growers positive conditions for reduced-pesticide farming.
At Sonoita Vineyards, we define sustainability broadly, seeking not only to be responsible stewards of the land, but also to preserve this land for future generations of our family. There is nothing static about this view of sustainability—it requires innovation and action. We believe that preserving the unique ecosystem of Sonoita is essential to wine quality, as well as to the health of our family and business. In 1976, Dr. Gordon Dutt developed a system of water harvesting utilizing the hillside and building berms that would both reduce the effects of erosion and reduce the overall amount of water needed to irrigate. It has been the policy, since our inception, to recycle all bottles and cardboard at the local recycling center. We also compost all wine making byproducts by returning the grape skins, stems, and seeds to the vineyard for use as a fertilizer, which in turn reduces waste.