Down By The River Bed and Breakfast is centrally located to many attractions in Cochise County and in particular to the two wine regions here in this part of Arizona. That is why we are recognized by our guests as the “Lodging Hub of Cochise County“. The last blog was about the Sonoita area wineries and how they are working with the Knights of Columbus Charity Golf tournament. The golf tournament proceeds go to the University of Arizona Cancer Research Center and to a High School Scholarship fund for graduating seniors. This is the 7th Annual event and Down By The River B and B is one of the sponsors for this golf tournament. You can read about the special we are offering for guests that “Stay n Play” during that weekend at the bnb. After that blog was published Angie and I went over to the other wine region here in Southeastern Arizona and visited a few of the wineries in this part Cochise County. Actually many of the grapes that are processed for the tasting rooms in the Cottonwood area are grown in the Willcox – Sulphur Springs Valley. Many of the wineries help us out with the charity tournament over the years and we are most grateful.
We started our trek by heading to Zarpara Winery. They are located in Kansas Settlement, south of Willcox but we took a short cut through Texas Canyon and got off the Interstate to save some time. This route takes us past the Amerind Foundation which is a wonderful museum that was established in 1937. I will talk about it in a future blog. So back to what I was originally talking about.
Zarpara Vineyards has only been open since January. The tasting room is located in the middle of the vineyard and it must be beautiful during the summer with all the grapes hanging from the vines. We were there in December when the leaves have fallen and the plants are dormant. The nice thing about Zarpara is that the owners Rhona and Mark are there to greet you as you come in the door. Besides their own wines, the tasting room also has 5 other wineries that they represent. They have wines from Sierra Bonita in Graham County north of Cochise County, Gold Rule Vineyards, Sand-Reckoner, Arizona Stronghold and Gallifant. They don’t’ have tastings of all of these but we did get to sample a few and found many to our liking. We did leave a little lighter in the back pocket at the end of the tasting. Zarpara has agreed to be a T Box sponsor this year for the tournament.
We then drove into Willcox and our next stop was in the downtown area where Keeling-Schaefer and Carlson Creek have their tasting rooms. The downtown area of Willcox is home to the Marty Robbins Museum and the Rex Allen Museum. Carlson Creek’s tasting room is on the south side of the railroad tracks. Keeling-Schaefer is on the north side right across from the Railroad Park where The Willcox Wine Festivals are held in May and October. Check out our events page for the dates of these events. Both of these wineries have some great wines and if you park at one location you can walk to the other. The owners weren’t there but again we were greeted by hostesses who were very knowledgeable about their product and thus enhanced our experience. We also took some time to stop by our friend Rodney at his Cajun-style restaurant near the museums. Rodney serves some great catfish sandwiches and we also like the gumbo. Big Tex Barbeque is also nearby. The restaurant serves barbeque pork, brisket and chicken to name a few things and it is located in a train car at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and Maley St. (Route 186). Try it during the week or Saturdays but they aren’t open on Sundays.
Our last stop was at Coronado Vineyards located on the east side of Willcox. Coronado has been a sponsor of the golf tournament almost from the start. We enjoy going to see Terry and Jacque when we get to Willcox. Coronado has a kitchen and at certain times will serve items while you are tasting wine, thus giving you a chance to pair food to wine. This is a nice concept and you can see how the food and the wine blend to make your tasting so much more enjoyable.
We didn’t get to the Laurence Dunham Vineyards because Curt and Peggy were up in the Fountain Hills tasting room and they were getting ready for their Christmas Event. The winery and tasting room in Cochise County is south in the area of the Chiricahua National Monument and they do events at various times of the year also. LDV was a T Box sponsor last year for our tournament. Another winery we didn’t get to because of time and distance was the Bowie Winery in Bowie, AZ. This tasting room is about 20 miles east of Willcox at the town of Bowie. If you go to the Fort Bowie Historical Site then you are close to the tasting room. After hiking at Fort Bowie you may consider taking a break and stopping for a little wine tasting. They also have pistachios and pecans for sale.
Now you have heard about both of the Southeastern Arizona wine regions and have been told about the central Arizona wineries Cochise County connection. So plan your visit to take in some of what the wineries have to offer and when you do thank them for their civic contributions to the charities that they work with. If you are looking for a wine country b&b, then consider that you want to find a nice place to stay during your visit and reserve your room at Down By The River B and B for a comfortable stay and wonderful breakfasts.