Discover AZ Wines: A Lot To Celebrate In Wine Country

ByPeggy-headshot Peggy Fiandaca

Though the vineyards are dormant at this time of year and vineyard managers are beginning to think about pruning, there is a lot to celebrate in Arizona wine country. Arizona wines are being recognized at national and international competitions along-side some of the best in the world. Winemakers are bringing home the medals for Arizona grown and produced wines. But visitors and residents alike still are surprised that great wines are made in Arizona.

Thankfully, Arizona chefs have recognized the quality of wines being produced by vintners statewide and are showcasing these wines on their wine lists. In fact, the owners of the new Southern Rail restaurant in Phoenix have over 40 Arizona wines on their current wine list. Pavle Milic and Chef Charleen Badman of FnB restaurant in Scottsdale were early supporters of the growing Arizona wine industry. So much so that over the past three years, Pavle jumped into every aspect of grape growing and wine making to create his own wine brand Los Milacs. He has released three wines named after his children Hannah, Oliver and Lorenzo.

With all the excitement surrounding the Arizona wine industry, it is interesting to note that not all Arizona produced wines are made from grapes grown in the state. There are still many wines that use grapes grown elsewhere. People assume that an Oregon Pinot Noir is made from Oregon grapes and a California Chardonnay comes from grapes grown under the California sun. Why wouldn’t people make that same assumption that an Arizona wine is made with locally grown grapes? A new bill (HB 2317) introduced by Representative Brenda Barton would require a label that states a wine is produced in Arizona have at least 75% of the grapes to produce the wine be Arizona fruit.  If passed, consumers would be assured that an Arizona wine is made with grapes primarily grown in this state. Why does this matter? Because Arizona grapes show characteristics that are unique to our place and place is what you are experiencing from wines you sip from all over the world!

Next time you are out enjoying one of the fabulous local restaurants order an Arizona wine. By doing so you will be supporting a growing local industry and hopefully finding a new favorite wine made from local grapes.


  1. And if you don’t see Arizona wines on the list/shelves, ask for them!

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