Elgin winemaker Kief Manning had hoped that the statewide Arizona Winegrowers Association would at some point recognize the state’s oldest wine-growing region with a full-blown festival.
But when that looked like it was never going to happen, Manning took matters into his own hands and launched his own version of a regional wine festival.
This weekend, his Elgin winery Kief-Joshua Vineyards will host the eighth annual Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival to celebrate all things vino.
“This is the only wine festival in Arizona that’s held on a vineyard,” Manning said, noting that other events around the state, including last weekend’s sixth annual Off the Vine Arizona Wine Festival in Oro Valley — the closest the Phoenix-based Arizona Winegrowers Association has come to Southeast Arizona’s verdant wine-growing region — are held in parks.
In fact, some two-thirds of the state’s wine grapes are grown in the Sonoita-Elgin and Willcox regions.
The festival also celebrates the 35th anniversary of the Sonoita-Elgin American Viticulture Area designation, the first in the state. The designation recognizes the region as a unique wine-growing area based on its topography, soil makeup, geography and other factors.
Willcox got the state’s second AVA designation in 2016.
Here’s the 411 on this weekend’s festival.
- When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3.
- Where: Kief-Joshua Vineyards, 370 Elgin Road, Elgin.
- Cost: $30, which includes 10 wine tastings and a souvenir glass. Buy tickets in advance at eventbrite.com or at the door.
- Wineries: Arizona Stronghold, Birds and Barrels, Burning Tree, Caduceus, Callaghan, Carlson Creek, Cellar 433, Deep Sky, Golden Rule, Keeling Schaeffer, Kief-Joshua Vineyards, Lightning Ridge, Page Springs, Pillsbury, Rune, Su Vino, Sonoita, Village of Elgin.
- Music lineup: Saturday — 11 a.m. Blaine Long and Rosas Del Ray; 2 p.m. Rythym Jax with Angel Diamond. Sunday — 11 a.m. Cat Daddy and the 12 Barz Blues Band; 2 p.m. Billy Shaw Jr. Band With Caiden Brewer.
- Eats lineup: Tucson’s Culinary Graduate/Dante’s Fire and Las Vigas Steak Ranch Mexican Cuisine from Nogales, Arizona.