Sulphur Springs Valley Wineries
Down By The River B and B is a romantic getaway located on the San Pedro River in St. David, Arizona. We are located at one of the best birding areas in the nation and we are between the two wine tasting areas in SE Arizona, the Sonoita/Elgin area and the Sulphur Springs Valley (SSV). We enjoy telling our guests at Down By The River B and B about the wineries in the area and giving them
directions to the wineries and sharing with them what they have to offer. We have had many guests finish off their day of touring by stopping at a winery and purchasing some wine. Then they come back to the B and B and sit on the porch enjoying their wine while they are barbequing something to eat.
At this time I am going to talk specifically about the SSV vineyards. There are currently 8 wineries and 7 tasting rooms, with one more opening in the future. 5 of the tasting rooms are many located in the town of Willcox. I understand that a winery that was closed has been purchased and may reopen soon. The interesting fact is that some of the wineries in the central part of the State of Arizona around Cottonwood actually grow their grapes here in the Willcox area. Now you may want to look at the dates of October 15 – 16 as a date to set aside. On that weekend there will be another Wine Festival in Railroad Park in Willcox. If it is like the last one it will be fun and you will be able to taste wines from many of the vintners and get a souvenir glass. Angie and I have met two of the owners of wineries with tasting rooms in the area. We have tasted wine at all but 2 of the wineries that are located in the SSV and each one is distinctive. Since we personally know the owners of Coronado Vineyards and Lawrence Dunham I am going to focus on these two wineries and what they have to offer.
I first met Jacque at her Coronado Winery about 2 weeks after she opened the tasting room. Jacque was nice enough to do a wine tasting for guests and friends at our San Pedro River B and B for an evening. It was a fun event for all. When Angie and I go to Willcox we always drop in to see her and check
out the new releases and sometimes we eat at the restaurant they have on the premises. Be sure to check their website for restaurant business hours. Coronado has a wide selection of wines, both red and white, and the wine also ranges from semi sweet to dry. They also have a port and a sparkling wine that is really nice. Coronado has events throughout the year and the one coming up on August 18-19, 2012 is Coronado’s Grape Stomp. This is always a fun time with food and wine tasting and you can spend time doing your best Lucille Ball wine stomp imitation between sips.
We usually serve Coronado’s Dolce Veritas to our guests when we have our New Years Eve Party at the B and B. In some cases we have to serve apple cider to guests that don’t like champagne; that’s assuming they’re able to stay up until midnight. The winery is just off of I-10 on the east side of Willcox.
In May, Willcox held a wine tasting festival in downtown Railroad Park . I believe that there were about 10 or 12 wineries there featuring their vintages. A nice addition was a booth where you could sample a variety of flavored olive oils and vinegars. YUM! Some wineries were from the Cottonwood area and were there because their vineyards are located in the SSV. It was during that festival that Angie and I first met the owners of Lawrence Dunham Vineyards. Peggy and Curt are outgoing and love to talk about their selection of 6 red wines.
All their wines are aged in oak barrels and their series of Sky wines are aged in neutral oak barrels. When you sip this style of wine it reflects the true flavor of the grape without the oak influence. They had a Grand Opening at their vineyard over the weekend of July 4th and had some great food and wine tasting. This winery is south of Willcox and the other winery tasting rooms but if you are going to visit the Chiricahua National Monument, then you are almost there. Their vineyard was close to the Horseshoe II fire but, luckily, they were not affected. They do tastings by appointment only unless they have a special tasting going on, so you need to let them know that you want to taste their wines. Through the rest of 2001, they do have the following dates set up for tasting from 11 to 5 at the vineyard: Sept 10 – 11, Oct 28 – 30 and Nov 12 – 13. We usually let our guests know that there is a loop route that they can take when visiting the Chiricahuas and returning back to our B and B. Take I-10 east then 186 south out of Willcox. After visiting the Chiricahuas, head south on Arizona 181 and on the left you will find Kuykendall Cutoff Road. This road intersects at the curve where 181 turns to the west. Eventually 181 ends at US 191. When you head north the road will take you back to I-10
There are other wineries that are in the area that we visit and you can also do a quick internet search for Arizona wineries. One of the places I would start with is an online Magazine called Arizona Vine and Wine Magazine that is edited by Josh and Rhonni Moffitt. This magazine highlights the vintners in the State and divides it into sections. The magazine comes out once a quarter, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. They do a featured article on one of the vintners and tell their story and if you wish, the magazine can also be found at various locations. This is a great magazine for the Arizona wine lover. Watch for more blogs in the future as I will be talking about the other wineries in Southeastern Arizona. Below is a copy of the map of the wineries in the Willcox area and can be found in the Arizona Wine and Vine Magazine.