Hundreds of wine fans will be on hand for this weekend's Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival at Kief-Joshua Vineyards in Elgin.

Thirty-eight years ago, Sonoita earned Arizona's first American Viticulture Area designation, and one of the wine-growing region's biggest cheerleaders is ready to celebrate.

Kief Manning, the owner/winemaker at Kief-Joshua Vineyard, has invited 18 Arizona wineries to hang out at his Sonoita vineyards for the Sixth Annual Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 10, and Sunday, March 11. 

He and his colleagues will pour their new releases, impart their wine wisdom and revel in all things grape throughout the festival, which also will feature food vendors, a two-day chili cook-off and live music.

Arizona has two AVAs — the federal designation that tells the world you're a legit player in America's wine world — after Willcox earned the designation in 2016. The Verde Valley in central Arizona, home of the sprawling Page Springs Cellars, Arizona Stronghold and Caduceus Cellars, is in the early stages of making a bid for the designation.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch