Willcox and Pearce, AZ: Vineyards

Willcox Town Hall, a former Southern Pacific Railroad station
Willcox is another town where wine vineyards and tasting rooms can be found.  This community generates about 74% of the wine grapes cultivated in Arizona.  Willcox is located east of Tucson and along Interstate 10.  More than 3,500 souls dub the town home.  It was established in 1880 as a station stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad and was first called “Maley”.  The name was changed in 1889 as a tribute to General Orlando B. Willcox after he dropped in on the settlement.  Willcox was the forerunner in the nation for cattle production, and agriculture which is still significant for the town to thrive.  Interstate 10 is now the leading passage to town, and used instead of the railroad.  This noteworthy community is where famous singer and songwriter, Rex Allen, was born.  He was recognized by many as “The Arizona Cowboy”.  Website:  http://www.cityofwillcox.org  

The Old Pearce General Store
Pearce was initiated in 1961 and today is a bygone ghost town.  It shares a post office and ZIP code with two other villages, Sunizona and Richland.   The town survives on the almost 2,000 retirees who live there, and the tourists who want to check out the historic site.  The town was designated after Cornishman James Pearce.  He was a miner and cattleman.  In 1894, he found gold near the area known as Commonwealth Mine.  The post office opened on March 6, 1896 and the railroad station followed in 1903.  Pearce observed its population hit 1,500 in 1919, but saw a drop in residents by the 1930’s.  In the 1940’s, the tiny community just about became a ghost town when the mine shut down.  Today, Pearce has a couple of structures on the National register of Historic Places; the Old Pearce General Store which opened in 1896, and Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church.

Wineries and Vineyards:
Flying Leap Vineyards Wine Tasting Room & Fine Art Gallery
The Flying Leap Vineyard originated in 2010 and is the most energetic of all the wineries in Arizona.  You can find their exceptional, handcrafted wines in tasting rooms in Willcox and other places located in the Sonoita Wine Tour.  Not only can you taste and buy their wines, but they also have a wonderful gallery with unique pieces of art found throughout the premises.
Address:  100 N. Railroad Avenue, Willcox, AZ
Phone:  (520) 384-6030
Hours:  Wednesday through Sunday, 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Sand-Reckoner Vineyards
Owned by the Hammelman family, the building can be found on the Willcox Bench.  The luxury chateau has earned national consideration and can boast that their Malvasia Bianca won top 100 wines for two years in a row.
Address:  130 S. Haskell Avenue, Willcox, AZ
Phone:  (303) 931-8472
Hours:  Open by appointment only
Website:  www.sand-reckoner.com  

Golden Rule Vineyards
This vineyard is located in the Dragoon Mountains and near Willcox.  The winery is a division of a farming venture tended by the Grahams.  They began wine tasting in November of 2014 and made it handy for wine lovers to buy and taste their superb wines.
Address:  3525 N. Golden Rule Road, Cochise, AZ (from Interstate 10, you take the 318 exit)
Phone:  (520) 507-3310
Hours:  Thursday through Sunday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (or by appointment)

Pillsbury Wine Company’s Vineyard Tasting Room
Sam Pillsbury not only owns the vineyard, but crafts the wine too.  One of the innovators of Willcox’s wine country, Pillsbury has gained worldwide awareness for his amazing wines.  His cozy tasting room provides a relaxing atmosphere for sampling and enjoying his classy wines.
Address:  6450 S. Bennett Place, Willcox, AZ
Phone:  (310) 508-3348
Website:  www.pillsburywine.com  

Carlson Creek Vineyard
Maintained by a single family, this vineyard has devoted its product to being the best of Arizona’s fine wines.  Located on 80 acres, their tasting room is in the heart of downtown historic Willcox and near the Railroad Park.
Address:  115 Railview Avenue, Willcox, AZ
Phone:  (520) 766-3000

Passion Cellars at Salvatore Vineyards
Address:  3052 N. Fort Grant Road, Willcox, AZ
Phone:  (928) 649-9800
Coronado Vineyards
Address:  2909 E Country Club Drive, Willcox, AZ
Phone:  (520) 384-2993

Aridus Wine Company
This company is entrenched in tradition and creates extraordinary wines for all to enjoy.  The vineyard is sitting on 40 acres and located in the Chiricahua Foothills.
Their tasting rooms are found in two locations in Willcox:
Aridus Tasting Room
Address:  145 N. Railview Ave., Willcox, AZ
Phone: (520) 766-9463
Aridus Portfolio Tasting Room & Crush Facility
Address:  1126 N. Haskell Ave., Willcox, AZ
Phone: (520) 766-2926
Hours:  Open by appointment only
Lawrence Dunham Vineyards
Also located in the Chiricahua Mountains, they are renowned for their specialty wines.
Address:  13922 S. Kuykendall Cutoff Road, Pearce, AZ
Phone:  (602) 320-1485
Hours:  Open by appointment only

Bodega Pierce and Saeculum Cellars
Also located on the Willcox Bench, this vineyard is owned and operated by the Pierce family.
Pierce. The Pierce family grows wine grapes at nearby Rolling View Vineyard on the Willcox Bench.
Address:  4511 East Robbs Road, Willcox, AZ
Phone: (602) 320-1722

Zarpara Vineyard
Address:  6777 S. Zarpara Ln., Willcox, AZ
Phone:  (520) 222-7114
Website:  www.zarpara.com

(More information on Willcox and Pearce can be found in my Sonoita Wine Trail Book)


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