Thursday, April 30, 2009

Silver Medal Winner

I recently received notice that my 2007 Sangiovese is a Silver Medal Winner at the 2009 National Women's Wine Competition. This was my first national competition and I was very anxious to see how I would fare. There were 3000 entrants and only a small fraction were awarded Silver Medals. This wine competition is unique in that all the judges are women who are experts in the wine world - sommeliers, concierges, winemakers, wine critiques. The competition is based on the notion that a woman's palate on average is more sensitive than a man's palate and since most wine competitions are judged by men, most wine competitions don't accurately reflect a wide audience of wine drinkers. Curiously, most wine purchase decisions are made by women. Go figure. The competition is also tasted blind which is the most rigorous form of tasting and avoids the bias that is inevitably introduced when a wine drinker is aware of a wine's cost, notoriety and location of the winery. This wine is 100% Arizona Sangiovese and is available at the winery as well at Plaza Liquors in Tuscon and Cave Creek Wine Shop in Phoenix. The weather has become too hot to send wine through the mail but if you want to reserve some to be shipped in the Fall, contact me directly.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Starley Talbott's New Winery Book

Starley Talbott stopped by Friday afternoon to drop off copies of her new book, "Four Corners Vineyards and Wineries." It is an engaging book about vineyards and wineries you might not otherwise know about and, of course, has a great story about Canelo Hills Vineyard and Winery. I was going to say that we were the star attraction, but even I know that is going too far. It is a nice read with great pictures. We are selling it for $20.00. You can e-mail us at if you would like a copy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Weekend Working Getaway

Since I was going to be at the winery last Friday night and early Saturday morning helping get ready for the festival, I thought it would make sense to stay down there instead of making the extra commute home to Tucson for the night. My parents are kind enough to save me from sleeping on the winery floor and offered to put me up in a B&B in the area. They've done this before, and it's a treat for me to stay in peaceful, beautiful Sonoita and to check out the B&Bs. Before our grand opening day I spent a lovely night at the Sonoita Inn. This time I opted for Xanadu Ranch.

Bernie and Karen Kauk own and operate Xanadu Ranch, a charming B&B housed in a historic house with tile floors, comfortable furniture, and spectacular views in all directions. Xanadu Ranch is perfectly situated just a few minutes' drive from the Sonoita Crossroads, but almost a mile off of highway 83 so that it is perfectly peaceful there, the only sound at night the trickle of the fountain into the koi pond in the courtyard.

I could have stayed much longer, but it was off to work for me. Later Bernie and Karen stopped by Canelo Hills to check out the Wine & Farm Festival, and they brought their dog Jake. Bernie and Karen have been active in promoting the Sonoita-Elgin area and in bringing more people down to spend time in the wineries, restaurants, and B&Bs. We're glad to have such creative and dedicated neighbors!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nature’s Beauty

A few weeks ago the remnants of a Pacific storm blew through Southern Arizona, dropping a bit of much needed rain to the vineyard and snow to the nearby mountain tops. The storm also brought fierce winds and cold air. That night the temperature at the winey dropped to the high 20’s and on my sunrise walk with Emma and Lizzie I was treated to the sight of a very heavy frost everywhere. The ground was coated with white - magical, but more mystifying was the pattern of frozen water on the hood of the truck (see April 13, 2009 blog). I was overcome by the intricacy of the ice crystals and amazed at the sheer, blind beauty of it and struck by the thought that there must be endless beauty in this world that escapes my attention.

We had one Facebook winner who correctly identified the image and anonymous (blog comment) came close enough. Both will receive a coupon for a free tasting. Actually anonymous won’t since, well . . . . you know.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wine & Farm Festival a hit

Saturday's Wine & Farm Festival was our 3rd annual, and each year it gets bigger and better. This year we were happy to have five Southern Arizona winemakers, all selling wine made from Arizona-grown fruit. The winemakers were joined by local farmers and craftspeople selling their wares.

The farmers market indoors featured a range of delicious and useful products from eggs and goat cheese, to baked goods and goat milk soaps, to crafts, gorgeous alpaca fiber items, and native plants like tomatoes and chiles.

We were expecting about 400 people, the same number as the previous two years. The emphasis on local products and PERFECT Sonoita spring day brought over 600 people to Canelo Hills with their friends, honeys, and children. Café Sonoita sold out of the yummy lunches they'd brought by 1:30!

It was exciting for us to see so many people at Canelo Hills enjoying themselves and learning about all that Santa Cruz and Cochise Counties have to offer. The Santa Cruz Humane Society adopted out all the dogs and cats they brought to our festival -- another mark of a wildly successful day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nine Decades

This Sunday after the Wine and Farm Festival, we had a special visitor. It had been a lifelong dream of Peggy Hughes from Wales to visit the United States and see the Grand Canyon and the other sights of Arizona. She took advantage of the privileges of celebrating 90 years on this world and traveled with her daughter Ruth Moriatry to visit her nephew Michael Hughes and his wife Mary who now live in Tucson. They are covering the state from the Grand Canyon to Bisbee and we were fortunate enough to have Peggy grace our Winery. Ruth wrote – “Thank you. We loved it here! Wine for Mom’s birthday celebrations”.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Getting Ready for the Festival

Our building is a working winery as any of you who have visited know. It is full of equipment, barrels, wine, tasting room accoutrements, and even our doggies. So this time of year when we get ready for our Wine and Farm Festival, Joan and Kathryn tell me to clear the place out so we can get the vendors inside. It is becoming more and more of a challenge as we grow. Here is the before picture. Where am I going to put all this stuff?

Monday, April 13, 2009

What's this?

Tim snapped this photo Sunday morning at the winery. If you can guess what it is, we'll send you a coupon for a free wine tasting. The answer will follow later in the week.

If you think you know the answer, send us an email at Or leave a comment here!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gone, baby, gone

Since we produce such small batches of our handcrafted wines, we sell out of each varietal pretty quickly. Sometimes it seems like it's all we can do to get the new wines aged and in the bottles before we've sold out of everything on the tasting table. Unfortunately wines will not be rushed, and neither will my father through the art and science of the winemaking process, no matter how many times my mother and I pester him to keep the new wines coming for our customers to taste.

It's sad when a great wine is all gone. Two weekends ago we sold out of our 2007 Malvasia. This was a unique and lovely wine made from the Italian Malvasia Bianca grape, with a heavenly fragrant bouquet, but surprisingly dry and delicious. I was working the tasting room the day we opened with 5 bottles left. I wondered how I was going to time pouring the last taster bottle with selling those 5 bottles for sale. Luckily it worked out just fine, and Chelsea and Ryan were the proud purchasers of our last bottle of '07 Malvasia.

If you're sad to have missed the Malvasia, you won't have to wait long. On June 6th we'll host Malvasia by Moonlight, an evening event at the winery featuring our three (yes, three!) new Malvasia 2008 releases, food pairings catered by Prairie Chicks Catering, and a chance to watch the full moon rise over the Mustang Mountains. Reservations are required -- check out our website for full details.