Perhaps the perfect conclusion to a trip filled with active adventures requires no more effort than pouring a glass of wine from one of the state’s vineyards. Spanish missionaries sparked Arizona’s romance with winemaking in the 17th century, but a group of passionate vintners have recently rekindled it. You can taste their surprisingly good varietals and blends by visiting the state’s three wine trails—Sonoita/Elgin, Verde Valley, and Willcox.
More than a dozen wineries have sprung up southeast of Tucson in Sonoita. Its lovely rolling grasslands offer a mile-high terrain underlain by red clay soil akin to that of some of Europe’s famed growing regions. The Verde Valley Wine Trail is two hours north of Phoenix in Cottonwood, where four local tasting rooms line the town’s charming main street. Many of the grapes used in Arizona wines are grown near Willcox, in the foothills of southeastern Arizona’s rugged mountains. Deeper, loamier soil here produces more wine grapes than the other two regions combined, and the area also offers several tasting rooms.