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Vino Nov14

Build It and They Will Come

Not too many years ago, vineyard labor was available during harvest, pruning, training, and cleanup in the fields. New laws for Arizona border control of illegal immigrants drove most of the experienced workers north to States that had more liberal attitudes toward temporary agricultural workers. Large and small growers were forced to hire field hands through a contract employer, often ending up with in-experienced workers. To solve the problem, growers turned to firms that bring degree wine makers and cellar workers from outside the US. Many novice wine makers, fresh out of school, relished the opportunity to learn about Arizona grape growing.

Dragoon Mountain Vineyard

Simona Lemmetti with her beloved Sangio…

Our first crew, Simona Lemmetti, (Italian), Julie Jalais, (France) and Leica Maurommati (Greece) arrived with high enthusiasm and varying degrees of knowledge of English and the process of growing grapes and making wine. When they departed America, they went with knowledge to carry with them into other vineyards around the world. Grapes grown in Arizona are world class and they learned it firsthand. This year, rather than through an agency, the internet brought us Christelle Peruzzetto and Virginie Moran from France via New Zealand.

AZ Winemakers

Chris, John & Nini

Nini remarked in a recent interview, “European’s are very surprised and excited about grapes in Arizona” . Arizona vineyards are not in their radar or understandable, according to the known wine world. It is a curiosity the two girls felt they must experience. Wanting to be a part of cutting edge wine making, they felt like trail blazers of something special. There is a lot going on in Arizona and a hidden secret they wanted to be a part of.
Christelle and Nini are experienced wine makers with degrees and knowledge. Rather than being a full time instructor, the two girls taught our wine maker a few new tricks. No baby sitting with these two; they knew what to do and were invaluable to our harvest and production of wine. Sadly, due to our restrictive work permits imparted by the US Government, they have to leave America soon; Chris back to family in France and Nini to a new adventure in New Zealand.
All is not lost however, as word of mouth, the fastest verbal transit in the world and the internet, is now bringing us interested workers from around the US and the world. Yes, grapes grow in Arizona and we make world class wines. It has been a long journey from raw, unplowed and weed-laden dirt, to row after row as far as the eye can see. Almost every grape variety will grow in our 4500 ft altitude vineyard, fed by an ancient underground glacial aquifer. Hot days and cool nights provide exactly what Arizona grown grapes love and thrive on.
My final words; EXPOSE YOURSELF TO ARIZONA WINES – taste what it is all about!

Willcox Harvest

The storm rolled by us, but the cool autumn winds are coming.

Storm a brewin’ in Willcox

“Easy” day today. No pick, so we did punch down for reds, analysis, labeling and went to town to deliver some grapes. Simona, Leika and Julie got to learn more about Willcox’s favorite cowboy, Rex Allen.

Willcox Theatre

Willcox, AZ has one theater. Something to do if you get any downtime during harvest.

We didn’t have time to take in the movie at the theater, but good to know that we’ve got options.


Harvest Begins!

Tuesday brought rain, so we waited… Luckily there’s a lot of work to be done and no one gets bored.


Winemakers on "duty"

Winemakers on “duty”

By Wednesday we were able to fire up Arizona’s only mechanical picker and begin to gather the fruits of our next stunning vintage. It was still muddy, but the fruit was ready.


The Winemakers Out In The Verde

image Symona, from Itlay and Charakleia, from Greece spent a few days with us in the tasting room in Jerome while they awaited the arrival of Julie from France. Brighid Flaherty, Cellar 433’s General Manager took the girls out to taste the wines of the Verde.

image_2“This is the first time in the U.S. for both. I thought it would be a great opportunity for them to begin to experience Arizona wines. I wish we would have had more time.”

image_7Symona finds one of her vintages abroad for the first time!




The Emperor

The Emperor

Wine Name: The Emperor

Appellation: Arizona

Alcohol Content: 14.02%

Blend: 70% Grenache, 10% Pt Sirah,10%Marselan,

5% Alicante Bouschet, 5% Blaufrankisch

Description: Aromas of cherry, spice and earth with a hint of maple syrup precede a mid-bodied and balanced red with flavors of cherry, plums and spice.

Winemaker’s Notes: One would expect Grenache to be

playing a supporting role, but in this wine its high alcohol and berriness are fleshed out with with the desired qualities of the other grapes’ known earthy and spice notes and fuzzy tannins.

Pairings: Pomegranate marinated lamb olive tepanade and chevre crostini, or Spanish Roncal cheese.

Arizona Angel Muscato

Arizona Angel Wines


Wine Name: Muscato

Appellation: Arizona

Alcohol Content: 13.44%

Description: Gracious aromas of golden honey and white pepper. Balanced ripe fruit and rewarding structure with luscious flavors of sweet valencia orange and decadent peach cobbler. A refreshing wine with a lasting and flavorful finish.

Winemaker’s Notes: Our vineyardgrows two distinct Muscat varieties. This wine evokes the most desirable qualities in each, incredible aromasand concentrated fruit flavors.

Pairings: Grilled shrimp or fresh oysters, a light fruit and cheese plate with fuji apples, honeydew melons, sliced Jarlsburg and fresh mozzerella cheese.

2014 Arizona Republic Wine Competition: Bronze