While you may not immediately associate Arizona with good wine, the high desert actually produces a climate similar to that of California’s wine country, making it a great location for wineries. In the fall of 2014, Lawrence Dunham Vineyards opened their tasting room in downtown Scottsdale featuring wines from their 40-acre vineyard in the Chiricahua Foothills of Southeastern Arizona. The family-owned property specializes in Rhone grapes including Syrah, Viognier and Grenache varieties. The Arizonan vintner has also created several of their own wonderful vintages, the first of which was a 2008 Syrah. Guests are welcome to enjoy a tasting flight, tours of the 40-acre estate, and can even roll up their sleeves and participate in the wine-making process.
If you’d prefer to avoid any I Love Lucy moments while wine making, you can instead stick to tasting the winery's varietals including a 2012 Sky Island Viognier, The Signature 2010 Petite Syrah, a 2010 Petite Syrah, a 2010 Grenache and a 2010 Sky Island Grenache. In addition to the vineyard’s tasting room, Lawrence Dunham Vineyards has also opened the new Wine Gallery where they host parties and classes like Flights & Bites, a wine and food pairing event, and Sip & Learn, a workshop series where guests can learn about wine characteristics and dessert pairings.
Fans of the vineyard can also join their Sky Islander Wine Club and be among the first to taste and purchase the newly-released wines. Members also receive two, six-bottle shipments of Lawrence Dunham Vineyards wine each year. Other perks include invitations to private events, parties and exclusive Winemaker Dinners, food pairing suggestions, discounts on case purchases, and access to limited-release wines.