Before You Go
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 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.
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."
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.
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.