A Holiday Toast from Arizona

In *All, Holidays by AgIsAmerica

The holidays wouldn’t be as merry without a glass of wine to toast with. When many think of where wine comes from, California and France come to mind. But did you know that Arizona has a strong wine industry? In the 1970’s, University of Arizona soil scientists learned how friendly the soils were for viticulture, which lead to a flourishing wine industry.

“There are many ‘sweet spots’ in Arizona, somewhere between 4 and 5 thousand feet. We have a great local market. It’s one of the highest per capita wine consumption states, in the U.S. We have some excellent wines in the medium-price range, and a very large premium wine market. Somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion in wine is sold in Arizona each year, and Arizona growers’ part in that is pretty miniscule, so there is opportunity for growth,” said Rod Keeling, owner and winemaker at Keeling Schaefer Vineyard in Willcox, and President of the Arizona Wine Growers Association.

Jim Graham, owner of Golden Rule Vineyards in the town of Cochise, said he’s worked with Arizona Cooperative Extension’s Associate Director of Agriculture & Natural Resource Programs, and Biometeorology Specialist Paul Brown, for many years.

“I’m always happy to get knowledge beyond what I have. It’s really great to access the University’s experts. I’m really glad they’re focusing on the vineyard, and the grape industry here in Arizona,” Graham said.

So, when you’re looking for a special bottle of wine for the holidays, don’t forget to think of Arizona wine! You can learn more about the University of Arizona’s Cooperative Extension work here: https://extension.arizona.edu/.

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