Callaghan Vineyards of Elgin won the Growers’ Cup award for Best Dessert for its Red Dessert Wine, a port-style wine, at the 2022 azcentral Arizona Wine Competition. The Arizona Republic organizes this competition for the Arizona Wine Growers Association, a nonprofit that works to benefit the state’s growing industry. The judges represented a cross section of Phoenix’s food and beverage industry: sommeliers, chefs, distributors, and wine shop owners.
Eight local wineries entered the competition. Recognitions and awards included Best in Class, nominations for the top wine of the competition, Best Blends, Double Gold (unanimous vote by all judges), gold, silver, and bronze.
Callaghan Vineyards received 13 awards, Deep Sky Vineyards six awards, Dos Cabezas WineWorks nine awards, Flying Leap Vineyards three, Los Milics Vineyards eight, Rune 16, Twisted Union Wine Company seven, and Vino Stache Winery seven.
Brooke Ide of Vino Stache bottled her first batch of 2019 vintage last summer and decided to enter the competition just to get a measure of how they ranked with other Arizona wines. “It’s like a dream to me,” Ide said. “It is so fulfilling that our tasters are receiving the wines so well,”
Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks also received a ‘James Suckling’ rating from one of the most respected wine ranking programs for six of his wines. A wine rated 90 points or more by Suckling is outstanding. Dos Cabezas wines received scores ranging from 90 to 94 points. “We are happy for the recognition and happy for the other winners. The James Suckling scores are the strongest we’ve had across our entire lineup,” Bostock said. “We hope more attention from a well-respected international wine critic draws people’s attention to this lovely part of the world and we see some new faces wander through the tasting room.”
“My favorite from this last vintage, Wild Syrah 2019, didn’t win,” said James Callahan of Rune. “We are conditioned to score or grade things, so wine in that rubric is easier to classify and categorize instead of figuring it out on your own. People love it as way to find wine and try it.”
When a wine has won a medal, it indicates that the wine is a good quality and has been given credibility from the palates of top wine experts. It does not mean the wine will be liked by all because quality and taste preference are totally different measures. For those who enjoy wine, tasting rooms offer a good opportunity to sip quality wine, explore individual palates, buy local, and support the community and the burgeoning local wine industry.