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Arizona wine industry continues to grow

There are now at least 50 wineries in Arizona, according to the Arizona Wine Growers Association — seven years ago there were just 10 wineries operating in the state.

From Inside Tucson Business:

Côtes du Rhône. Mosel. Napa. Sonoita?

Maybe not. But the winemakers in and around Sonoita, in Santa Cruz County about 50 miles southeast of Tucson, want the world to know that quality wine and Arizona aren't contrary terms.

"Even people from Tucson tend to be shocked that they have vineyards and wineries near them," said Fran Lightly, vice president and wine maker at Sonoita Vineyards.

It's been slow to get people to reconsider Arizona-made wines as something more than a novelty, like a turquoise encrusted bolo tie or a rattlesnake head key chain. But Lightly said that's starting to change.

Sonoita has begun to realize the fruits of that support, and the industry has responded. As recently as 2006, the area was home to just a handful of wineries and only three tasting rooms.

Today, Sonoita has 10 wineries and tasting rooms.

There are now at least 50 wineries in the state, according to the Arizona Wine Growers Association. Seven years ago there were just 10 wineries operating in Arizona.

For more, see: Wine makers say Arizona brand won’t wither on the vine

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