Carlson Creek Vineyards tasting room will have its grand opening celebration Feb. 13. Located on Railview Avenue just across the railroad tracks from the Rex Allen Museum, it will feature four wine varietals, a Syrah, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese.
The vineyard is family owned and operated. Robert Carlson is the winemaker; his brother John will manage the tasting room, and father, Bob, directs the farming operations. Robert Carlson’s sister and mother are also involved. Robert, Bob and John Carlson have completed viticulture and winemaking classes at University of California Davis. Their first vintages are from grapes they purchased grapes from their Cochise County neighbors. In 2009, they planted their first vines, which they will harvest in 2011. Initially, they will plant grapes on 16 of the 80 acres they own in Cochise County.
Details: Carlson Creek Vineyards, 115 Railview Ave., Willcox, Arizona, 520-776-3000. www.CarlsonCreek.com
Another tasting room, Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards, will open in 2010. It used to be that you could taste their wines by appointment only at their Chiricahua Mountain foothills tasting room. Owners Rod Keeling and Jan Schaefer are hard at work on their downtown Willcox location. Visitors will be able to sample their Three Sisters Syrah, Two Reds Grenache, Best Friends Chardonnay and Rock Creek Rosé vintages.
The Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards tasting room is in the former Willcox Bank and Trust Building, which was built in 1917 and sits next to Willcox’s famous Rex Allen Museum on Railroad Avenue. The wine library will be housed in what used to be the bank vault.
Details: Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards, Railroad Avenue, Willcox, AZ, 520-824-2500, www.KeelingSchaeferVineyards.com.
For nearby accommodations or other attractions in the area, call the Willcox Chamber of Commerce at 1-520-384-2272.