Outsiders and visitors are usually surprised to discover that Arizona has a burgeoning wine industry.
"You might expect the weather conditions of a place like Arizona would make growing decent grapes impossible," Ryan Smith of vinepair.com wrote for the libations website last month. "The southeastern region sees sun 300 days per year, after all.
"But, as with many desert-adjacent wine regions, such as Israel’s Golan Heights, temperatures dip in the evenings. The night air drops close to 30 degrees in southeastern Arizona, creating a perfect micro-climate for vines to thrive," Smith added.
And thrive they have, with more than 100 vineyards now growing in the state, according to vinepair.com, producing a host of national medal-winning wines.
Nine of those vineyards plus an internationally recognized sake producer will be on display in downtown Phoenix on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. for the ninth annual Grape Arizona Wine Event at Heritage Square.
Participating will be Carlson Creek Vineyard, Pillsbury Wine Company, Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Cellars, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Chateau Tumbleweed, Winery Dektown Cellars, Rune, Arizona Sake, and Oak Creek Vineyards
Tickets are available for $65 through Friday, $75 after that. Admission includes 12 tasting tickets, a souvenir tasting glass, an event program, bites and dishes from local area restaurants, live music, vendors, etc. Click here for complete ticket information.
There will also be, for the first time, a private tasting, limited to 40 guests, from noon to 1 p.m. Tickets are $40 for the private tasting or $100 for a combo pass.
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If wine isn't your thing, there will also be tastings available from several breweries, including Mother Brunch Brewery, Sun Up Brewing Company, and Mesquite River Brewing
Vincent's on Camelback, Welcome Chicken + Donuts, Modern Round, Hidden Track Cafe, Danky's BBQ, Cuisine by Celine, and XO Confections will provide food.
And all this drinking will be for a good cause. Proceeds go to the Phoenix Rotary Club Charities.
Obligatory disclaimer: You must be 21 or older with valid ID.