Those of us living in the Phoenix area are always looking for ways to escape the heat over the summer. Why not take a weekend and head up North to enjoy great wine. You don’t have to go all the way to Napa to have a great wine tasting experience. Here are a few wineries to visit up North, out of the heat.
The mass-market Arizona Stronghold wines are poured here, but the primary reason to stop by is to sample the small-production Site Archive bottles. These wines, made by Michael Pierce, are meant to be a living journal of the grapes grown at the various vineyards that make up Arizona Stronghold wines. Live music on Friday evenings. Once in downtown Cottonwood, you can hit Pillsbury Wine Co. and the Fire Mountain and Cellar Dwellers tasting rooms across the street.
Details: 1023 N. Main St., Cottonwood, 928-639-2789, azstronghold.com, $
Burning Tree Cellars pours the work of “co-conspirators” Mitch Levy and Corey Turnbull. They get grapes from Arizona and California vineyards and turn them into small batches of wine with artistic labels. The tasting room, in a former car dealership, features a patio and music on weekend evenings. One of their wines, made with grapes from the Colibri Vineyard & Winery in southeastern Arizona, was one of the first two Arizona offerings to earn 90 points from Wine Spectator.
Details: 1040 N. Main St., Cottonwood, 928-649-8733, burningtreecellars.com, $
Caduceus Cellars is the label of Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of rock bands Tool, a Perfect Circle and Puscifer. Keenan, who lives nearby, makes wine using grapes grown on his property in the Jerome and Cornville areas. There are no seats in the tasting room, a result of town ordinances on parking spaces. Small-plate snacks are available. Open at 8 a.m. for espresso and coffee.
Details: 158 Main St., Jerome, 928-639-9463, caduceus.org, $-$$
A co-op of Arizona winemakers, this tasting room pours a selection from labels including Iniquius, Chateau Tumbleweed, Saeculum and Merkin. This is the first tasting room in downtown Clarkdale, a couple of miles northwest of Cottonwood.
Details: 907 Main St., Clarkdale, 928-649-2007, http://www.four8wineworks.com, $$
If you get the chance to visit any of these wineries, we’d love to hear about it. Submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.