Sonoita AVA: American Viticultural Areas Spotlight

Designated in 1985, Sonoita AVA is Arizona’s one and only American Viticultural Area. While there are other wine-producing regions throughout the state (Willcox and Verde Valley), Sonoita Valley is the only one that’s officially recognized by the AVA. This had led to a surge in Sonoita AVA wineries in the past decade. Whether you enjoy white or red varieties, you are certain to find a delicious wine here. For a closer look at Sonoita AVA and some of the region’s top wineries, keep reading.

A Little Bit About Sonoita AVA…

Sonoita AVA rests just south of Tucson city where it’s surrounded by three towering mountain ranges: Santa Rita, the Huachuca, and the Whetstone Mountains. The base of the region sits approximately 4,500-5,000 feet above sea level, which is higher than most other federally recognized wine-producing regions in the country. In terms of size, Sonoita AVA is 208,000 square acres.

Because of its unique geographical location and characteristics, Sonoita AVA offers exceptional conditions for producing wine. The nearby mountains’ igneous and sedimentary rocks create deep gravelly loam that soaks up fresh water. Combined with the cool air blowing over the mountains, Sonoita AVA is a prime wine-producing region.

Sonoita AVA Wineries

  • Arizona Hops & Vines – Don’t let its small size fool you into thinking Arizona Hops & Vines is just another fly-by-night winery. Run by sisters Megan and Shannon Summers, this is one Sonoita AVA winery that you don’t want to miss. They offer a fun, laid back environment that all people are sure to enjoy. Stop by on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday for a wine tasting session.
  • Flying Leap – If you’re looking to experience one of Arizona’s larger wineries, you should head over to Flying Leap. Originally founded in 2010, Flying Leap is known for their exceptional quality, lab-certified French, Spanish and Italian vines, producing some truly exquisite wine varieties. The company operates with two large vineyards located in Santa Cruz and Cochise county.
  • Sonoita Vineyard – We really can’t talk about Arizona’s leading wineries without mentioning Sonoita Vineyards. Founded in 1983, it’s the state’s oldest commercial winery. They offer daily wine tasting set against the picturesque beauty of the breathtaking Sonoita Appellation. Sonoita Vineyards produces several different wine varieties, including Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and Mission.

Of course, there are plenty of other great wineries in Sonoita AVA that are well worth the visit. Silver Strike Winery, for instance, produce some award-winning wine varieties as well. If you have a trip planned to Arizona for the near future, make it a point to check out at least some of these great Sonoita Vineyard wineries.

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