Sample fruits of the vines at Tucson tasting rooms

2013-10-03T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T10:28:41Z Sample fruits of the vines at Tucson tasting roomsBy Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

CataVinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room

  • 3063 N. Alvernon Way.
  • catavinoswines.com
  • Tasting hours:
  • 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
  • What’s on pour:
  • Tastings are centered on weekly themes, ranging from types of wines to wine-producing regions and countries.
  • Cost:
  • $10 for a flight of six 1½-ounce pours. Complimentary cheese and crackers .

Yvonne K. Foucher opened CataVinos in September 2007. The shop stocks more than 150 types of boutique wines that you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else, and all are priced under $15 a bottle. She also stocks Arizona wines, which are a bit more — averaging $20 a bottle.

Foucher last month celebrated her sixth year in business . “When I first opened there were 14 wine shops; we now have four,” she said, noting that she has so far successfully fended off competition from the big box wine stores that moved into Tucson in 2008.

Bear Track Winery
& Bistro

  • 4743 E. Sunrise Drive.
    beartrackwinery.com 
  • Tasting hours:
  • 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. 
  • What’s on pour:
  • Twenty-five boutique wines including 15 Bear Track vintages. The rest are from California, New Mexico and Australia. “We’re adding wines every week,” said owner Rick Riddle. “Wines you see in here you are not going to readily see anywhere else.”
  • Cost:
  • $10 for four pours. 

Riddle opened Bear Track days before Christmas to showcase his own wines and hard-to-find boutique vintages. Riddle, a Palo Verde High School grad who played golf for the University of Arizona before turning pro his senior year, owned and ran the Noisy Water Winery in New Mexico for several years before coming back to Tucson.

He also is still active as a golf pro and TV commentator for golf tournaments including Tucson’s Accenture Match Play and the Ryder Cup. He combines his love for links and vines in golf clinics paired with wine tastings. This month he will offer another “Chip and Sip” clinic for women, which includes three golf lessons and three tastings.

Charron Vineyards

  • 18585 S. Sonoita Highway, six miles south of Interstate 10.
  • 1-520-762-8585.
  • charronvineyards.com
  • Tasting hours
  • : 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.
  • What’s on pour:
  • Choose six pours from 10 wines — five sweet, five dry.
  • Cost:
  • $7, which includes a souvenir glass.

Milton and Susan Craig have owned the Vail-area vineyard since 2009, but its history goes back to 1995, when Charron founder Leo Cox planted the first vines. Cox’s early specialty was a white merlot. The Craigs have added onto the vintages, producing a cabernet, syrah and their popular Rincon Red, which Milton Craig said is a fine base for sangria.

The Craigs also have carried on a tradition Cox initiated of inviting the public to participate in the harvest. More than 100 people turned up in early August to help pick grapes. Their reward: Grilled hot dogs complemented by a glass of wine. ”It’s a totally different experience than paying $15 and doing a hayride,” Craig said. “It’s cutting the grapes and bringing them in. People enjoy it.”

This year, Charron harvested more than 6 tons of fruit to produce about 1,500 cases of wine. Most of the wine is sole at the tasting room.

Coming soon

Sierra Bonita Vineyards

  • 6720 E. Camino Principal, near Tucson Country Club.
  • Opening:
  • November.
  • sierrabonitavineyards.com

Armitage Wine Lounge and Cafe

  • 2905 E. Skyline Drive,
    armitagewine.com/tucson
  • Complimentary tastings from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. 

RumRunner

  • 3131 E. First St., off East Speedway, 326-0121,
  • rumrunnertucson.com
  • Complimentary wine tastings from 2 to 4 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month.

Contact Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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