Arizona Wine Country

Arizona wines? You bet. Wine is produced and consumed in all 50 states. 

The total impact in each state combines the Direct, Supplier, and Induced levels reaching from vineyards to local communities, so even a small wine-producing state can benefit greatly from our industry’s presence.

Arizona Profile

Arizona is both old and new—one of the first areas where Spanish missionaries planted grapes for sacramental wine in the late 1700’s. The first commercial winery opened in the early 1880’s, and the first modern commercial winery opened in 1979. Two years later the Arizona Wine Growers Association was formed for lobbying and promotion, successfully securing the 1984 Farm Winery Bill, the state’s first AVA (Sonoita) in 1985, and another one (Willcox) in 2016. Jennifer Montgomery, a WineAmerica alumnus, is the current Executive Director.

Today, there are nearly 100 wine producers who farm a wide variety of grapes, with special emphasis on Italian and Rhone varieties which thrive in the hot climate moderated by high elevations in some areas. The Yavapai College Viticulture & Enology Program provides expertise to growers and winemakers. 

Dos Cabezas Wineworks and Los Milics Winery: Partners in Progress 

Two prominent Arizona wineries have shown how collaboration pays. Dos Cabezas Wineworks  was opened in 1995 by the late great Al Buhl, an Arizona winegrowing pioneer, and passed on to Todd and Kelly Bostock in 2006. The winery’s two estate vineyards covering 80 acres include many varietals, and the wines have helped put Arizona on the world wine map. 

Pavle Milic had a dream which he transformed into a reality. While driving along the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley where he worked years ago, he suddenly knew he wanted to be in the wine industry in a major way, and he gravitated towards Arizona in the restaurant industry. His vision of having a winery was helped along by the Bostocks, and with a partner he also opened the FnB restaurant with an all-Arizona wine list which received two nominations from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Beverage Program.

Great Grapes: Syrah

Big, bold reds are common in Arizona, with the Black-skinned Syrah grape thriving as it does in France’s Rhone Valley and parts of Australia where it is more commonly known as Shiraz. While styles may vary, it often produces a spicy, complex wine with high acidity, great ageability, and nuances of blackberry and dark chocolate.

Arizona  Economic Impact

Total Impact: $4.24 Billion

Direct (production, distribution, consumption): $1.65 Billion (39%)

Supplier (goods and services): $1.15 Billion (27%)

Induced (local community business benefits): $1.4 Billion (34%)


Wine Producers: 94

Jobs: 32,034

Wages: $1.51 Billion

Tourist Visits: 175,938

Tourist Expenditures: $59.71 Million

Total Taxes: $353.59 Million

Federal Taxes: $236.35 Million

State and Local Taxes: $117.24 Million