Arizona Wine

Arizona is located in the far south-west of the United States of America, bordered by Mexico to the south and southern California to the west. It covers 114,000 square miles (300,000 sq km) and stretches between latitudes 31°N and 36°N.

The key varieties used to make Arizona wines are Syrah, Viognier, Muscat and, of course, the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. They perform best in cooler areas, particularly in the southwest.

Irrigated vineyards in the Arizona semi-desert

Grapevines have been grown in Arizona for more than 400 years, originally by Spanish missionaries who required wine for religious purposes. This is a common story all over the United States – particularly in the south and west – and also in South American countries.

Although Arizona was almost entirely devoid of viticulture after Prohibition, the industry has since undergone something of a renaissance. There are now two subregional AVAs with hopes and plans for a third, and the wines are beginning to gain notice internationally.

Growing conditions, subregions and AVAs

Despite its long viticultural history, Arizona has not developed into a major wine reason for the simple reason that its hot, dry climate results in too short a growing season. The grapes therefore can rarely attain suitable levels of phenolic ripeness and tend to have high sugar levels and low acidity.

However, there are areas of Arizona that lie at increased elevations (its finest vineyards sit at 5000ft/1525m), where high sunshine levels are tempered by cooler temperatures and more-pronounced diurnal temperature variations. Accordingly wine producers are grouped in three main areas.

The Sonoita AVA (American Viticultural Area) is one of these locations where producers are turning out quality wines in the style of the warmer European regions such as France's Southern Rh?ne Valley. The appellation was established as early as 1985, and lies in the southeast of the state, around 40 miles (65km) southeast of Tuscson.

Willcox AVA is much newer, coming into existence in 2016. It also lies in the southeast of the state in the north of Cochise County, the south of Graham County and the northern part of Sulphur Springs Valley.

In addition, the dozen or so wineries in Verde Valley (and along its tributary Oak Creek) are campaigning to become the state's third AVA. This group of wineries lie around the towns of Clarkdale, Cottonwood and Cornville.

Arizona beer and spirits

The state boasts around three dozen breweries. As with many other US states, a high proportion of these have been established in the last decade or so as part of the global boom in craft beer.

There are also around 18 distilling operations. Key products include vodka,rum and whiskey; some of the better known examples of the latter (eg Del Bac Distillers) are made in Scottish Single Malt Whisky style rather than Bourbon.

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Most Popular Arizona Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Caduceus Cellars Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra Red, Arizona, USA Grenache - Mourvedre - Syrah 11,671st 86 $25
Caduceus Cellars Merkin Vineyards Kitsune, Cochise County, USA Sangiovese 18,822nd 90 $59
Caduceus Cellars Nagual de La Naga, Arizona, USA Cabernet - Merlot - Sangiovese 19,084th 90 $53
Del Bac Distillers Cut Cask Strength Single Malt Whiskey, Arizona, USA Whisky - Whiskey Malt 41,356th 91 $81
Caduceus Cellars Primer Paso, Cochise County, USA Syrah 53,220th 89 $48
Caduceus Cellars Nagual De La Marzo, Yavapai County, USA Cabernet - Sangiovese 65,290th 92 $63
Caduceus Cellars 'Sancha', Arizona, USA Tempranillo 74,810th 89 $55
Crazy Ed's Cave Creek Chili Beer, Arizona, USA Beer 77,038th $3
Pillsbury Wine Company Roan Red, Arizona, USA Grenache - Mourvedre - Syrah 77,038th 86 $36
Dos Cabezas WineWorks Aguileon, Arizona, USA Southern Rhone Red Blend 79,406th 90 $31
The Village of Elgin Winery Tombstone Red, Sonoita, USA Rare Red Blend 79,406th $20
Arizona Distilling Co. Copper City Bourbon Whiskey, Arizona, USA Whiskey - Bourbon 87,532nd 73 $33
Caduceus Cellars 'Le Cortegiane Oneste' Red, Arizona, USA Rare Red Blend 94,003rd 89 $56
Callaghan Vineyards Buena Suerte, Sonoita, USA Bordeaux Blend Red 94,003rd 86 $29
Caduceus Cellars Lei Li Rose Nebbiolo, Graham County, USA Nebbiolo 94,003rd 92 $40
Page Springs Cellars Vino del Barrio Blanca, Arizona, USA Rare White Blend 97,592nd 87 $15
Del Bac Dorado Mesquite Smoked Single Malt Whiskey, Arizona, USA Whisky - Whiskey Malt 101,466th 88 $56
D3 Gold Miner Agave Rum, Arizona, USA Rum 105,700th $30
Dos Cabezas WineWorks Toscano, Arizona, USA Cabernet - Sangiovese 105,700th 83 $25
Dos Cabezas WineWorks El Campo, Sonoita, USA Rare Red Blend 105,700th 89 $30
Four Peaks Brewing Co. 'Kilt Lifter' Scottish-Style Ale Beer, Arizona, USA Beer 110,358th $3
Pillsbury Wine Company Diva, Arizona, USA Rare Red Blend 110,358th 86 $45
The Grand Canyon Distillery Prickly Pear Vodka, Arizona, USA Vodka - Flavored 115,347th $25
Superstition Meadery 'Blue Berry White' Mead, Arizona, USA Honey 115,347th $122
Superstition Meadery 'Spaceship Box' Blueberry Cider, Arizona, USA Cider 115,347th $23
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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