Believe it or not, Arizona's wine producing region is one of the oldest in the country, first settled in the 16th Century by Spanish missionaries for use in their religious ceremonies.
But in the first part of the 20th century, prohibition brought wine-making to a rapid halt throughout the country. Arizona's wine industry went into a state of hibernation and did not recover for decades. Arizona has finally put itself in the forefront of the American wine industry, producing award-winning wines that rival those of California and other winegrowing regions.
Arizona is now home to more than forty wineries with tasting rooms that extend statewide. Unlike stereotypical California wines, Arizona winemakers tend to craft their wines in the "old world" style, such as those produced in Italy and the Rhone River region of France. With lower alcohol content, these European-style blends are meant to be enjoyed throughout the day.
Sample enough Arizona wine and you'll undoubtedly run into the work of Arizona's premier winemaker, Eric Glomski of Page Springs Cellars near Sedona. Glomski learned the fine art of winemaking as the head winemaker for David Bruce Wineries in California, but has gained international fame by teaming up with rocker Maynard Keenan (from the band Tool) and starting the internationally recognized "Arizona Stronghold Vineyards."
Glomski has recently taken on another venture closer to the Grand Canyon. His newest partners, with experience in the local restaurant industry spanning four decades, are the Kennelly family of Williams. Together they have initiated "Grand Canyon Cellars," a family-owned micro-winery tucked into the historic mountain community of Williams.
With a mission to provide excellent, sustainably farmed, local Arizona wine to visitors from around the world, Grand Canyon Cellars currently offers a well-balanced Pinot Noir blended with Zinfandel and Syrah and a fragrant and fruit forward Sauvignon Blanc, blended with Gewürztraminer and Chenin Blanc, providing a surprisingly dry finish. These wines, along with many other Arizona varieties, can be sampled daily in the new tasting room, located upstairs at The Station 66 Italian Bistro in historic downtown Williams.
Like the early Spanish settlers, take a few minutes out of your visit to the Grand Canyon State to relax with a glass of locally grown and vinted Arizona wine. It could be another unique memory of your visit to this magnificent state!