Arizona’s tourist season begins to slow in May. Tourists love to visit the state in our beautiful winter months partly because they do not realize that there are parts of Arizona with perfect weather all year.
However, we do get those southern “bless your heart” souls that come to Scottsdale during the summer months because they know how 110 degrees in Arizona is much cooler than 100 degrees with 100% humidity in Louisiana or Georgia. And the resorts have amazing rates. We entertained people from all over the world at our Scottsdale tasting room over the past few months. Here are the questions we were asked most often.
Where do you grow wine grapes in the Scottsdale area?
Interesting enough there were grapes grown in the area pre-prohibition. Scottsdale traded tractors for tricycles as farmland was transitioned to subdivisions. The Valley is very fertile and agriculture was prevalent until the early 1970s.
So no, we don’t grow our grapes in Scottsdale but it sure is a great place to drink the wine!
How can you possibly grow wine grapes in Arizona, it is too hot? Most Arizona’s vineyards are in areas from 3,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation primarily in three distinct grape growing regions – Verde Valley/Page Springs (North), Sonoita/Elgin (South), and Willcox/Chiricahua Foothills (Southeast). At these altitudes, there is a good climate and adequate temperature swings making each region different and terrific for grape growing.
LDV Winery is producing high mountain fruit at 5,000 feet above sea level with rich intensity and complexity. During the growing season, daytime temperatures range from the 90’s during the day to the 50’s at night. The Monsoon storms creep up from Mexico starting in mid-summer so the vineyard receives periodic rain and cool breezes from July through September. The volcanic soils, great drainage to Ash Creek that runs through the property, and air flow off the 10,000-foot Chiricahua Mountains that tower over the vineyard all create an ideal growing environment.
You live in the desert! How do you have enough water to grow wine grapes? Arizona has done a very good job at planning its water future and is in much better position than most western states. Grape plants are also a relatively low water user compared to most other crops and are of high value per acre. Our vineyard sets on the state’s largest closed aquifer from where we pump our water. We use a sophisticated drip irrigation system and monitor the vineyard closely so no water goes to waste.
The flavors of your wines are so intense, how does that happen? The plentiful sun and ultraviolet rays of the sun at our altitude produce intense fruit and ripeness. Our temperature swings, sometimes several per day, cause the plant to thicken the grape’s skin producing our wine’s color and flavor. We accentuate our flavors with a combination of aging techniques to make the best mountain fruit wines possible.