While I’m not a wine connoisseur, I do enjoy a glass every now and then, and of course wanted to get to know my new hometown, so I jumped at the chance to join Sonoran Tasting Tours for a tour of Tucson’s wine region. Who even knew Tucson had a wine region? I sure didn’t! I just recently visited Southern Oregon, which is also a wine region, and the topography and climate could not be more different! In any case, it works! The Sonoita Valley, located about an hour south of Tucson, is a designated American Viticulture Area, Arizona’s first wine-growing region. Here you’ll find over a dozen vineyards and tasting rooms. In order to fully enjoy the tastings, you’ll want to leave the driving to Sonoran Tasting Tours. The Sonoita Tour ($99-$109) is the most popular, and includes 3 vineyard stops, as well as lunch and round-trip transportation from Tucson. Have a large group? You can also charter a private tour.
Our driver, Roy, picked each of us up at our homes or hotels and we were on the road around 9:30 to make the 1 hour drive to Sonoita. On the drive, Roy asked us which vineyards we’d like to visit, which threw us off guard for a minute. None of us had researched any stops ahead of time, so we had no preferences. I only mention this in case you do have a preference or want to do a bit of research ahead of time. With no suggestions from us, Roy made the decisions where to stop for the day. (Except for lunch, which was pre-ordered. Once you’ve registered, you will be contacted to provide your lunch selection.)
Our first stop is at Dos Cabezas Wineworks. Here we received tasting glasses to use for the rest of the day, and were given a menu, from which we chose 6 wines to sample. They also had a great selection of t-shirts available. Of the 3 stops, we all agreed Dos Cabezas had the best wine, and several bottles were purchased before moving on to the next vineyard.
Arizona Hops & Vines
Arizona Hops & Vines is women-owned and has a great, eclectic atmosphere. Outside, you’ll find a variety of farm animals roaming the property, although on our visit, there was some hub-bub around the licensing/regulation of vineyards and we were not allowed to bring any alcohol outdoors. Hopefully that gets resolved soon, as it’s a great property to take in. Inside is equally fun, and you’ll want to check out the details, including the bathroom!
At Arizona Hops & Vines, we also had 6 wine tastings, though they were pre-determined, unlike the other tasting rooms. This allowed the server to better explain each wine as it is being served, and the best part of this stop were the food pairings. In addition to funky labels and fun names like Ro-Sham-Bo, each wine was paired with a fun snack like pork rinds, cheesy poofs, and cocoa puffs! Sounds weird, but they all paired really well! We voted this as the tasting room with the best snack pairings!
Our final tasting of the day is at Charron Vineyards, one of Southern Arizona’s oldest vineyards. Charron has an interesting mix of wines, including white merlot and others which all have a history. The server here was super informative and had lots of stories about the history of the vineyard and the various wines. Best of all, we were able to enjoy our tastings from a beautiful patio overlooking the vines. Because of that, our group voted this stop as the best setting and best view. We sampled several wines before hopping back in the van for the ride back to Tucson.
Lunch at the Cafe
Between wine stops #2 and #3, we had lunch at the Sonoita Cafe. Three of us were given a lunch choice when reserving our trip, while a 4th missed that option and ordered on site. Small hiccup, but it didn’t cause much delay. I had a chipotle caesar salad and the dressing had a nice kick to it. This was a great, simple and fast lunch to continue our wine tasting.
Have you done a tasting tour? What’s your favorite wine region?How does a Tucson wine tour sound? Let @sonorantasting do the driving so you can enjoy the wine! Click To Tweet
I was a guest of Sonoran Tasting Tours. These are solely my personal opinions and I was not financially compensated for this post.