Sonoita Area Wineries

Down By The River Bed and Breakfast is centrally located to many attractions and because of this we are short

Arizona Prize Wines

Arizona Wines Are Prize Winners

distances throughout Cochise County and parts of Santa Cruz County. That is why we are known as the Lodging Hub of Cochise County“. Southeastern Arizona is known for birding and more recently wine tasting. SE Arizona has some of the best of both of these pasttimes and Down By The River BnB is close to both with birds out our back door at the river and the wine regions of Sonoita and Willcox a short drive. Some of our birdwatching guests have told us that a B&B with wine tasting nearby is the perfect fit for their adventure.
Angie and I took a little time to go to the Sonoita area wineries to ask the vintners to again  be sponsors for a Charity Golf Tournament. We wanted to let them know about the Knights of Columbus Marie Lovell/ Barbara Hug/ Paul Padia Memorial Golf Tournament that will be held on February 23, 2013. Yes this is the Barbara that started the B and B with Mike. The tournament proceeds go to the University of Arizona Cancer Research Center and to a High School Scholarship

Charron Patio

Charron Vineyards allows you to sit on the patio and overlook the vines while you sample the wine.

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.
Many of the wineries help us out with the charity tournament over the years and we are most grateful. Mike was lucky enough to win a free wine tasting in the raffle last year so we were able to do some wine tasting at the same time. We also took some time to go to the Willcox area wineries to talk with the different vintners about sponsorships. We will discuss that in a blog next week.
We didn’t get to all the wineries in Sonoita but we did get to stop at 8 of 11 tasting rooms. We took time to enjoy the conversation with the people that were wine tasting and got re-acquainted with many of our vintner friends. Angie and I have always found that wine

Oak casks at Dos Cabezas Winery

At Dos Cabezas you can walk into the store room where they wine is stored in oak casks.

people are usually happy and like to talk to each other. You get to know something about them as they tell you about places that they have been where they took time to taste wine. You can put that in the back of your mind for later use if you plan to travel to another area of the country.
Because some of the wineries are only open on weekends, we chose a weekend to make our loop trip. We started our tour by taking I-10 to Vail and then Arizona 83 south to make our first stop at Charron Vineyards. We were able to talk with Susan and a little with Milton while viewing the area off the porch at the tasting room.
We continued down 83 to Sonoita but the next two places we stopped at the owners were at a wine festival in Phoenix so we didn’t get to talk with them. one of these wineries was Dos Cabezas near the

Hops & Vines Picture

Hops and Vines has recently opened and intends to be a microbrewery along with being a winery

intersection of Arizona 82 and 83. After some discussion with the staff people and customers there we headed east on 82 to Hops and Vines.
Hops and Vines may end up being a little unique once they get everything finished and running. They currently do wine tasting but will be growing hops and then have a microbrewery at the same location. We haven’t heard of wine and beer tasting at the same locations before. Might have some potential for a diverse palate.
After leaving Hops and Vines, we proceeded across to Lower Elgin Road via a dirt road that wasn’t too bad in comparison to some tracks we have been driving on in Cochise County. We stopped at the Wilhelm Family Vineyard and spoke with Karyl. Karyl is a great lady and you just get taken over by the conversation and her knowledge of wine. She is always so up beat and we enjoy going to her tasting room to hear about what she has been doing. She

Kief-Joshua Winery

Kief-Joshua is a popular winery in the Sonoita area.

works with wounded warrior project and other charities including ours.
After that we stopped at Keif Joshua. Keif was gone to the Phoenix Festival also but as always the place was very crowded. We didn’t stay to talk but left the information and headed over to Rancho Rossa since Sarah was closing early that day. We would have loved to taste her wines but time was running short but we got to talk a little and then left for Lightning Ridge Cellars. Ann makes Italian style wines and they go great with the pasta dishes we make to treat ourselves every once in a while. A little story about the first time we went to Lightning Ridge. We were coming from Dos Cabezas and were headed to Rancho Rossa but we missed our turn on Elgin Road. I made this mistake

Lightning Ridge Winery

Lightning Ridge Winery produces Italian style wines.

because we were coming from a different direction than normal. I figured out that I had made a mistake after a little while and just before I was going to turn around I saw the wine tasting sign. So we stopped in and met Ann and her Great Dane.
There were other people in the winery tasting and they said “Oh you got lost too!” It was a good mistake I have to admit.
Our last stop was at Sonoita Winery and it was almost closing time for them. Sonoita was the first winery in the area. They have many types of wine that range from semi sweet to dry. There is a good selection of the various types and will be diverse enough so that everyone in your group should find something that fits their taste.
We ran out of time and there were three other wineries that we didn’t have a chance to stop at but we will

Sonoita Winery

Sonoita Vineyards is the oldest winery in Southeastern Arizona

make another effort later. These wineries are Callaghans, Canelo Hills and Village of Elgin Wineries. Being able to touch base with 8 wineries in less than 6 hours and to put in driving time on top of that is a lot and makes you keep moving.
For those who are interested, the different wineries also have events during the year and we try to keep these noted on our website events page. So check back to see what is going on in the Southeastern AZ wine country and our B and B. When you go to taste wine in Sonoita there isn’t anyway that you can do it all in a day. It will take multiple trips so consider Down By The River B & B. Since there are also wineries to the east in Willcox, you would be able to do both areas from a single base. The Willcox wineries have some offerings which are also very good. But more on that later.

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