About LDV Winery
How did you come up with the name of your winery?
The LDV Winery honors the fact that our family lineage ends with Curt Lawrence Dunham, winemaker. So to honor Curt’s parents we named the winery after them – Betty Jane Lawrence and Robert Erwin Dunham. 2010 marked the first year our wine was available to the public. It is bitter sweet for us because we lost both of them to cancer that year before they were able to enjoy their namesake. But we know they are watching over our success. LDV Winery® is officially registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office as a registered trademark.
How long have you been making wine?
We purchased the property in 2007, planted our first vines in 2008, had our first harvest in 2009, and released our
first wine - 2008 Syrah with purchased grapes from our neighbors’ vineyard. In 2010 we went from 0 to 100 mph in
a very short time.
Why did you choose your location?
We visited our good friends and winemakers and fell in love with the area. However, if we were going to make wine we wanted to choose a location that would produce the highest quality grapes possible. We were looking for vineyard property that met five criteria:
1) Mountain influenced weather; 2) clean, plentiful water; 3) volcanic soil; 4) superior air and water drainage; and 5) not located near existing agriculture or was farmed previously. We believe that the Chiricahua Mountain foothills and our property along Ash Creek was the perfect location that met our five criteria.
Do you have a signature wine?
We believe the soils, climate, and altitude are a perfect match for varietals that originated in the Rhone Valley of France. Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Viognier are the Rhone varietals we have planted now. Over time the land will tell us what will become our signature wine. To date these Rhone varietals are doing well and producing wonderfully complex wines. Stay tuned!
How many bottles or cases of wine do you produce?
It changes year to year depending on the vineyard, but we are currently at approximately 2,500 cases per year.
LDV Winery only produces wine from the grapes grown on the property. We anticipate when the current property is built out there will be approximately 16 acres of grapevines producing about 3,000 to 3,500 cases of wine annually.
How do I purchase LDV Winery wines?
Buy LDV wines online, telephone order, or stop into the Wine Gallery. Contact LDV directly for in-state purchases.
LDV wines can be shipped out of Arizona. BUY ONLINE NOW
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How should wine be stored?
With care! There are several factors to consider when determining how to store wine – temperature, light, and
vibration. Ideally, wine should be kept in a cool (58 to 62°), dark, quiet place for long term storage. If the
storage location is too cold, the wine will not age properly and if it is too hot, the wine could spoil or lose its character.
Humidity is also a factor and it is ideally between 50 – 80 percent.
Since most people don’t have a wine cellar, a wine refrigerator works great for storing those special bottles you want
to keep around for a while. They come in all shapes and sizes, holding a case or two to several hundred bottles. At
the very least, wines that you are not going to consume in the short term should be kept in a closed box on the floor
(where the air is cooler) of a closet or pantry. Do not store your wine in your kitchen since that is probably the warmest room in your home.
It is important when you store your wine that the bottles are on their sides so that the corks remain moist and the
bottles are airtight. Screw top caps are becoming more popular and they can be stored standing upright. We like to
store our bottles with their labels facing up so that we can identify the different varietals making it easy to pick the
What does vintage mean?
The vintage year indicates the year that the grapes were harvested.
Does an older vintage always mean a better wine?
No. You have to do some homework. Finding an older vintage bottle at your wine store might only mean it hasn’t sold
yet – for some reason. Or the winemaker decided to bottle age the wine for a few years prior to its release. There are
many places you can go to get information on vintages and how they are rated for quality. Each year is different.
For example, most experts have rated the Oregon Pinot Noir vintage of 2008 to be exceptional. While most rated the
1998 vintage for California wines to be very poor due to El Nino. Does that mean every 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir will be
good and every 1998 California Cabernet Sauvignon was bad? No, but unless you know details about the wine, the
vintage can steer you toward or away from a wine to enhance your chances of finding a good one!
Should all wines be aged?
Some wines do improve with age but most wines these days are produced to be enjoyed soon after purchase.
Read the label or ask a wine expert at your local wine store to let you know about a wine’s aging potential.
The type of wine might give you a clue about its ability to “lay up” or save for another day to drink. For example,
high tannic wines may mellow over time. Many winemakers put that information on the label. You can also Google
the name of the wine and see if the winemaker provides you any guidance on their website. In any case, how you
store the wine if you choose to lay it up will also be very important. Remember, the most expensive bottle of wine
you have is the one that goes bad and you don’t get to drink it!
What is the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?
Only sparkling wines that are produced in the Champagne Region of France can be called champagne. Other places
have a name for their sparkling wines such as Cava in Spain or Spumante in Italy.
Where does cork come from and why is cork used to stop wine bottles?
Cork is a natural product that comes from the bark of the Cork Oak tree found primarily in southwest Europe. Over half
of the cork harvested comes from Portugal with the majority of the rest coming from Spain and Italy. Cork is used
because it is impermeable to liquids while allowing a small amount of air to pass through. While oxygen is the enemy
of wine, each bottle contains a living, breathing food product that many winemakers agree benefits from a small
transpiration of air over time.
Is a screw top only used on lower quality or cheap wines?
Absolutely not! Many very good wines now come with a screw top. The type of packaging is strictly the choice of the
winemaker. Since the screw top is a fairly new addition to the fine wine industry, the jury is still out on the pluses
and minuses of screw tops versus corks over time.
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Where does wine get its color?
The color of white wines comes primarily from the juice and pulp. The color of red wines comes from the skins.
The juice that comes from red wine grapes is actually very similar in color to white wine grapes.
Are flavorings ever added to wines to make it taste like cherries or strawberries?
That is a great question! I get asked all of the time how in the heck can Chardonnay grapes be made to taste like
pineapples? That is the beauty of wine; it is a chameleon food product that can produce flavors and aromas ranging
from green apples, to smoked plums, to a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar – all on its own without adding anything!
Are sulfites always used in making wine?
Almost always. Sulfites are naturally all around us. Wines without “added sulfites” typically have a limited shelf life as a result. The sulfites are used to preserve the wine and protect it from oxygen and bacteria – both harmful to wine.
What kind of barrels do you use and where do they come from?
As has been the custom of winemakers for centuries, we use oak barrels for aging LDV wines. The type of oak to age a specific wine is another important decision. Some of our barrels come from French oak and some from American oak. They impart very different flavors into the wines. The newer the barrel, the more flavor it adds. The toasting level (burning of the barrels interior by the cooper) is determined by the winemaker and also imparts different flavors.
How many grapes does it take to make a bottle of wine?
If you are into the math part, here goes! A ton of grapes makes approximately two barrels of wine.
Approximately 120 gallons makes about 50 cases of wine. These 600 bottles need 2,000 pounds of grapes so each
bottle would need about 3.3 pounds of grapes. Whew! If you really want to know how many individual grapes it
takes to reach 3.3 pounds, come on down to the vineyard and knock yourself out!
When do you bottle the wine?
There is no specific timetable. Bottling is done when the winemaker feels that the wine has reached its full potential.
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How can grapes be grown in Arizona? It’s hot!
Yes, we have heat, but we also have altitude! Many fine wine grapes from California are grown at almost sea level.
This can be done because of the cooling ocean influences. Since we don’t have an ocean, we use our altitude at
5,000 feet above sea level to provide the warm days and cool nights. Many people don’t realize it but Napa Valley
often reaches 100° during the day but cools off at night.
Where do you purchase grapevines to plant?
We use suppliers in California who graft the varietal that we want (Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, etc.) to the root stock
we prefer to use here in Arizona.
How many grape varietals do you grow?
We currently have three reds (Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Grenache) and one white (Viognier).
Do you prune the vines?
Yes, each plant is pruned back annually to its main stalk, usually in February and March.
When do you harvest the grapes?
Well, when they are ready! Grapes only produce one crop per year so this is one of the most important decisions the winemaker must make. We evaluate mostly by flavor and sugar level. As the grapes begin to mature, we check on them every day to see how they are doing. When the grapes reach the desired characteristics, we hand pick and rush the grapes to the safety of our temperature controlled environment in our winery building. We typically harvest our white grapes in late August. Our red grapes are harvested in September or even the first half of October,depending on the year.
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Why do you swirl the wine before tasting?
To oxygenate the wine in order to release the aromas and flavors that it has to offer. While oxygen is the enemy of wine when
it is being made and stored, it is the best friend of a wine that you are ready to drink!
Why do some wines give you a headache?
I have found that the wines that produce the most headaches are those consumed in large quantities. Additionally
there might be some reaction to the fining agent used to clarify the wine. However, those agents are not required to be listed on the label. Some people are sensitive to some of the compounds found in most wines like sulfites and tannins. Some people are more sensitive to red vs. white wines. And sometimes a headache just cannot be explained.
It is our approach at LDV Winery to minimally handle our wines so we only fine or filter when absolutely necessary. However, we will always disclose how the wine has been processed on our labels.
What are “legs”?
Before sipping wine, you will see people swirl the glass to release the aromas, hold it up to light or against something
white to see the color, and put their entire nose into the glass to inhale the aromas. When you stop swirling, streaks of wine that are on the side of the glass are called the “legs” or what the French call “tears.” Many people think these
legs are an indicator of quality but really they are more associated with physics (i.e. combination of surface tension
and alcohol content) and not perceived quality.
What is “nose”?
No, wine does not have a nose but the “nose” when tasting wine refers to the wine’s bouquet. It is the aromas when
you smell the wine. Your sense of smell is probably the most important part of wine tasting and discerning the
nuances of the wine. As a testament to the importance of your sense of smell just try to enjoy a great meal while you
have a head cold. The wine’s nose may change as it sits in your glass for awhile because of the influence of oxygen.
That is the exciting thing about the nose is to see how it changes over time as you enjoy your bottle or glass of wine.
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Choosing the Right Wine
Is a more expensive wine better?
Not necessarily! There are really good wines that are affordable and expensive wines that you may not like at all.
Many factors go into the pricing of wine. The bottom-line is that the “right wine” is the one you like.
What does a sommelier do?
The sommelier is a trained and knowledgeable professional, usually working in fine restaurants with extensive wine
lists, that specializes in providing advice to customers on wine and food pairing. There are extensive educational
programs and certification programs for sommeliers. The sommelier may also get involved in the purchase, storage,
rotation, and maintenance of the restaurant’s wine and cellar. When in doubt, ask a professional.
What do I do when the waiter opens the wine, sets the cork in front of me,
and pours a sip of wine in my glass and turns to look at me?
If you are the lucky person that chooses the wine, the waiter, wine steward, or sommelier will open it and ask if you
would like to taste. Don’t break out in a sweat. The cork will be pulled from the bottle and set in front of you.
Examine the cork to make sure that there is no visual damage or moldy cardboard odor. I would hope that if there
was the waiter or sommelier would remove the bottle immediately. The next step, a small amount of wine will be
poured into your glass for you to inspect. Swirl the wine in the glass so that you can get a good smell of the aromas.
If it smells fine (i.e. no moldy or other tainted odor) then you can stop there and have the wine poured for your
guests. If you want to be doubly sure that it is not spoiled, take a sip of the wine. Remember you are tasting the
wine to ensure that it is not bad not if you like it or not. You will know if the wine is bad. If you think it is bad,
you can ask the sommelier to taste it or say that the wine is bad and you would like to have a different bottle.
When can I send a bottle of wine back in a restaurant?
Almost never! The only time you send a bottle back is if the bottle of wine is spoiled or tainted. In all my years of
enjoying wine at restaurants I can count on one hand the wines that were spoiled. As soon as you smell the wine
you can tell if the wine is spoiled. It is inappropriate to send a bottle back because once you tasted it you did not like
it. You just have to live with your choice!
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Food and Wine Pairing
How do I choose the perfect wine with a meal?
If you are like us, we love to have a glass or two of wine with our dinner. Picking the right wine to compliment a meal is not rocket science. But like science you will have some successes and some misses. You want to choose a wine that is the perfect blend of flavors to enhance the flavors of your meal. If you are in a restaurant with a wine expert or sommelier, that person can assist you in choosing the perfect wine to go with your meal. But if an expert is not available, here are few things to think about.
Food types – poultry, beef, lamb, fish, seafood, pork, etc.
- Side dishes or grains – vegetables, potatoes, grains, etc.
- Food preparation technique – grilled, broiled, fried, or sautéed
- Sauces, marinades, coatings, and spices
- Don’t forget desserts – wines pair beautifully with many desserts
Consider how tannic your chosen wine might be. White varieties are typically non-tannic and therefore go well with
light dishes such as chicken or fish. The tannins in the wine will not clash with the flavors in the food. Reds typically
go well with meats or preparation techniques that impart a lot of intense flavor such as grilling. However, spicy foods
(like Thai food) may go well with a crisp white wine that can complement the spices, or you can pair a Syrah that can
hold up to the spice.
The one thing for certain is that there are no longer hard and fast rules for wine pairing. We love a Sparkling Shiraz
with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner just as well as we like a good Grenache. We have paired Champagne with a
nice seafood salad as well as dessert. So experiment and have some fun with your wine pairings.
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Wine Club Questions
Do you have a LDV Winery’ wine club?
Absolutely! Our Sky Islander Wine Club members are an important part of the LDV Winery family. There are three levels of membership: Chiricahua Circle, Pinnacle, and Summit. Wine club members enjoy special benefits, incentives, event invitations, and activities. They are the first to purchase new wine releases as well as have an opportunity to purchase exclusive LDV wines. Join today!
What is the Chiricahua Circle?
It is a limited “Founders Guild” devoted to the success of LDV Winery. They are all
winemakers in their souls and dedicate their time, labor, and advocacy to the success of the vineyard. Members get involved in the full cycle of the grape growing and winemaking process. Chiricahua Circle members have a brick embedded in the “Chiricahua Circle” around the rose garden at the LDV estate and have an adopted vine. They enjoy one free wine tasting per visit to the Wine Gallery and other discounts.
How do I become a member of the Chiricahua Circle?
We would love to have you join us in this exclusive hands-on experience. There is a waiting list for membership. Join at the Pinnacle wine club level that provides similar benefits until membership opens again.
How much does it cost?
There is no charge to join the LDV Winery Sky Islander Wine Clubs. Twice per year, there is a costs associated with your wine club allocation (plus tax and shipping). Your credit card, that we hold on file, will be charged for the wine package plus shipping. However, LDV Winery hosts wine pick up parties at the Downtown Scottsdale Wine Gallery twice a year so members can taste the new wines and pick up their wine package.
Can I cancel my membership?
We would love to say no, because we would miss you. But of course you can cancel at any time after accepting a
minimum of two club shipments. Just call us at 480-664-4822 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to cancel your membership.
Whom do I contact if I have questions about the club?
You may contact Peggy Fiandaca, Owner/Marketing Director at email@example.com or call Peggy
at 602.320.1485. She is dedicated to making your experience with LDV Winery extraordinary.
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