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The Best Places to Wine, Dine, and Relax in Arizona

The Phoenix metro area is anything but a food desert, starting with South American-style wines made from Arizona grapes


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Before You Go

Get the lowdown on local food and drink from Instagram mavens:writeonrubeeazfoodie

Watch Blood into Wine, a documentary about Maynard James Keenan, a particularly famous Arizona winemaker and front man for the band Tool.

When it comes to weather, we don’t exactly need a winter getaway, but a change in scenery is never a bad idea for climate-blessed San Diegans. Arizona’s Valley of the Sun—perhaps better known as the Phoenix metropolitan area—is just down the road and the perfect winter destination, but for surprising reasons, with food sourced from a thriving local agricultural community and South American–style wines produced solely from Arizona grapes. The region is anything but a food desert.

 

Wine

Wine has become one of Arizona’s hottest commodities. With most vineyards in the north or south of the state, a recent change in local law now allows tasting rooms to operate nearer to Phoenix. In Scottsdale, Carlson Creek Vineyard’s tasting room is serving their best from Sulphur Springs Valley, an easy drinking grenache-syrah-mourvèdre blend called Rule of Three.

Not far from there is LDV Wine Gallery, which specializes in a range of Rhône wines grown in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains. The varietals used and the high minerality are reminiscent of South American wines, which are cultivated in a similar climate and have been a source of inspiration for local winemakers.

 

FnB

Dine

The greater Phoenix area is home to a bevy of farms and small-batch food producers, with local chefs committed in their support. Talavera, the restaurant at the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North, features modern Mexican-inspired cuisine using primarily Southwestern ingredients and an Arizona-heavy wine list.

In downtown Scottsdale, FnB is a farm-to-table temple helmed by owner Pavle Milic and James Beard–nominated chef Charleen Badman, locally known as “the vegetable queen.” The food is excellent, but so is their tribute to Arizona wine: Milic calls himself an “out-of-the-closet Arizona winemaker groupie.”

 

Relax

Stay in Scottsdale to take best advantage of the stunning Sonoran Desert landscape. The recently remodeled Canyon Suites at The Phoenician has palatial rooms, an iconic history, and is well situated at the base of Camelback Mountain, one of the area’s most popular hikes.

The Phoenician

Farther out of town is the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North, a stunning adobe-style property nestled in between towering saguaro cacti and small mountains that are great for hiking, like Pinnacle Peak.

The valley also offers spa treatments with local flair, like Boulders Resort and Spa’s turquoise wrap, which incorporates turquoise oil and clay, blue cornmeal, honey, and rose hip said to absorb the stone’s positive and protective energies.

Visit the Vineyards

With two main grape-growing regions—northern Arizona’s Verde Valley and southern Arizona’s Sonoita area and Sulphur Springs Valley—the state’s 100 or so wineries offer plenty to sample, just a few hours from Phoenix.

Caduceus Cellars
Maynard James Keenan’s label 
Verde Valley

Dos Cabezas Wineworks
Award-winning vineyard 
Sonoita

Page Springs Cellars
Some of Arizona’s best and most famous wine 
Verde Valley

Burning Tree Cellars
Interesting blends like The Bear 
Verde Valley

Callaghan Vineyards
One of the originals 
Sonoita

Keeling Schaefer Vineyards
Notable Syrah
Sulphur Springs Valley

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