Willcox, Arizona’s largest and most diverse growing region has received its official designation as an
American Viticultural Area.
The federal government has awarded Willcox, AZ, Arizona’s premier grape growing and wine producing region, an American Viticultural Area designation. A viticultural area for American wine is a delimited grape-growing region having distinguishing features as described in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 27 CFR part 9 and a name and delineated boundary as established in part 9 of the regulations. These designations allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin.
An AVA is proof that a wine growing region is distinct and set apart from any other in the world. This application was submitted by John McLoughlin of Dragoon Mountain Vineyards in December of 2013. Dragoon Mountain Vineyard is AZ’s largest & most diverse vineyard. The research and application process for this designation took over 11 months to complete in 2013. This designation puts AZ on the world’s wine map and lifts AZ above its “novice” stigma.
An AVA designation protects consumers from being boonswaggled by wineries that say they are Arizona, but source from other states such as New Mexico or California. Why would you pay top dollar for a local, hand-crafted wine that is supposed to be special and unique? AZ is capable of producing world-class wines using our own grapes if the winemaker is willing to invest in quality grapes sourced from its own region as opposed to sourcing from the cheapest out-of-state sources. There’s a difference from the cheap wineglass you buy at the dollar store and the Reidel Vinum series, isn’t there?
Now more than ever, it is important to read your labels, and ask the question of the wineries you visit, “From where do you source your grapes?
You can expect to see the term WILLCOX in place of COCHISE COUNTY starting with spring 2017 bottling.
There are those who doubt that AZ wineries can and do grow their own grapes. Cellar 433 proudly grows all of the grapes used in our wines. We source from no one else and no other state-period. To see more footage of Arizona’s largest vineyard, please visit our YouTube Channel.