Willcox Bench Wineries Produce Award Winning Wines
The Willcox Bench wineries are plentiful and varied. The elevation is from 4300 feet to 4500 feet and the temperature range is 30 to 40 degrees. With the Arizona sunshine, this is a perfect grape growing region. A majority of the fruit grown for use the in Arizona wineries are from vines on the Willcox Bench. The wineries in the Verde Valley towns of Cottonwood and Page Springs grow some of their grapes in that area but the rest comes from Willcox. Even some of the Sonoita Wineries grow their grapes on the Willcox Bench.
The Willcox Bench wineries are located in a valley that is an old lake bed. The Willcox Playa is the remains of a dry lake that in the winter is the nesting area for the Sand Hill Cranes that migrate to the south from the northern latitudes. Bird watching on the bench, along with wine tasting, are two of the pastimes that the traveling public find enjoyable. The old lake bed provides the water needed to irrigate the vines. The summer monsoon rains also help to give the vines water during the July and August months.
Originally when we started Down By the River B and B, the wine tasting rooms were in Sonoita and at Bowie. Over the years there have been many tasting rooms spring up on the Willcox Bench. In 2014, a couple of new tasting rooms have opened for business. Reports are that the Willcox Bench Wineries are growing fast as more vineyards come on line and when new ones open up we try to stop by to introduce ourselves and also take time see our friends at other wineries.
Many of the wineries here in Arizona grow their grapes on the Willcox Bench. Wines of Willcox has a list of 12 tasting rooms and there is another list of vintners that are associated with the Willcox wine growing region.You can also get a map of the wineries from AZ Wine Lifestyle Naturally we can’t visit them all in one day so that makes if fun to go back to Willcox another time and stop at the other wineries. Some of the tasting rooms are available by appointment only while other have set hours. Aridus has recently added to the value to the bench with a modern crush facility for the vintners in the area. The local wineries now have access to a state of the art facility located on the Willcox Bench.
We have sampled wine at nearly all the Willcox Bench wineries over the years and we have found something we like at each one of the wineries. Probably one of the best ways to sample wines from the other wineries that you haven’t heard about is to go to the Willcox Wine Festival coming up in October or the one held next spring in May. Many vintners are there and the tastings are available in a wonderful festive atmosphere with food available and music playing in the background. In late July Angie and I decided to check out a new tasting room that was opening and also to visit some old friends that we know at some other wineries. Read our next blog Willcox Winery Tour for that information.