by Sheri Shaw, Owner, Back Alley Wine Bar
When you think “farm to table,” do you think wine? You should.
The term typically is used to describe a food system in which the food is grown, raised or produced locally and then consumed locally, without going through intermediaries such as distributors or large retailers.
This concept applies well to Arizona wines because the majority of the wineries grow, ferment and bottle their own product. That product, for the most part, is then sold and consumed locally.
Which brings us to the top five reasons you should drink more Arizona wine:
No. 1 — Farm to table is all about keeping it local. Consider going to your local Arizona winery kind of like going to your local farmers market.
Where else can you get the unique experience of actually meeting the person who made your wine? AZ wineries often are family-owned and operated, providing a more personal and intimate tasting experience and the opportunity to meet and talk to the winemakers.
No. 2 — It’s good for the local economy. Drinking “locally” not only supports the local economy, but it also contributes to building and supporting a sense of community.
By purchasing a bottle of Arizona wine, you are directly supporting small-business owners, growers and workers in the great state of Arizona.
No. 3 — Sustainable practices. Many Arizona wineries use sustainable practices in their vineyards and winemaking process, such as organic or biodynamic farming and minimal intervention winemaking, which aligns with the farm-to-table concept.
No. 4 — Terroir. This term refers to the characteristic taste that the land where the grapes were grown lends itself to the unique taste of the wine. Arizona’s hot and dry climate, with sometimes extreme temperature variations between day and night, create very specific growing conditions for grapes.
Arizona wines are typically dry, with what is often described as a strong personality. You will find these wines rich with bold fruit flavors, good acidity and moderate to high alcohol levels.
Some of the wines also have minerality that you won’t find anywhere else because of the special terroir of the state.
No. 5 — Exploration and new experiences. Arizona grows some crazy grape varietals; some you may never have heard of.
Tasted a tannat, a viognier or a malvasia? These grapes, along with many other little-known varietals here, can offer a diverse, educational and exciting wine tasting experience.
You can also get out of Dodge and travel to new places. Drinking local wine can be a great way to explore and discover new wines, gain knowledge about the winemaking process and appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of the winemakers in your area.
Have you ever explored the three AVAs (American Viticultural Area) that Arizona has to offer? Take a trip to beautiful Sonoita, Wilcox or Verde Valley, hit some local wineries, meet the winemakers, enjoy tasting some new varietals and explore this big, beautiful state of Arizona.