When you think of Phoenix, Arizona images of deserts and 120-degree days come to mind.
However, this isn’t the only thing produced by the largest metropolitan area in the Southwestern United States.
Several fine wineries create products around the state’s capital as well as in and near the cities of Mesa and Scottsdale.
Many of these wineries offer tastings for free or a small fee.
Either way, you’re able to obtain a small sample of what these Southwestern locations have to offer.
Here are some examples of where to go wine tasting in Phoenix,
What to Know Ahead of Time
The wine tasting scene in the Phoenix metropolitan isn’t like what you’d find in California’s Napa Valley.
There, you’re practically surrounded by fields of grapes.
Since Phoenix is located in the Sonoran desert, the grapes are grown about 90 minutes away in the Verde Valley.
These are harvested and sent to the wineries in the metropolitan area.
Some of the locations listed here are based in downtown Scottsdale, which is less than 30 minutes from Phoenix.
In the right weather, you can walk between them.
Regardless of where they’re located, make sure you take the necessary precautions for safe driving.
Even if you sample a small amount of wine, it still has the potential of causing impairment.
So, either hire a driving service or assign a designated driver to get you from one location to another.
7133 E. Stetson Drive, Scottsdale
A winery owned by a rockstar isn’t as unique as some people think.
People like Boz Scaggs and Dave Matthews have owned or are co-owners of wineries.
One of the most well-known is Merkin Vineyards, owned by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan.
The performer has dedicated his time outside of the rock band to promote Southern Arizona wines.
His downtown Scottsdale location pours out samples of his Merkin and Caduceus Vineyards products.
Small eats and meals are also available with matching wines.
3000 E. Ray Road, Gilbert
This urban winery, which doesn’t sound like one at all, is the creation of Todd and Kelly Bostock & Brian and Megan Ruffentine.
Officially known as Dos Cabezas WineWorks, the tasting room is located in Gilbert, a suburb of Mesa.
Don’t let the corrugated metal exterior turn you away.
Inside you’ll find a wonderful tasting area and dining room.
The rotating menu has 10 or so varieties of Tempranillo, Pinot Gris, and Primitivo.
They also offer a Breakfast Wine that combines white with non-grape fruit juice.
Food offerings include a meat and cheese board and various desserts.
888 N. First Ave., Suite 101, Phoenix
Not all tasting locations are based on a single winery.
Others devote their focus to everything that’s offered in the Verde Valley.
GenuWine is one such location.
Based in downtown Phoenix, this shop offers samples by the two-ounce taster, half-glass, or full-glass.
Of the 24 wines offered, some come from Merkin Vineyards, Dos Cazebas, and Page Spring Cellars.
A unique feature of GenuWine is the power to build your own cheeseboard via self-serve dispensers (may not be available due to COVID-19).
393 W. Warner Road, Chandler
Located south of Gilbert and 30 minutes from Phoenix, Chandler’s Down Time Wines is a unique winery.
It creates small-batch varieties that are hand-crafted.
However, instead of doing so from nearby vineyards, Down Time gets is fruit juice from across the globe.
Winemaker Basil Kaspar features approximately 30 wines on his menu at any time.
Among them are flavors like Vanilla Fig, Blackberry Merlot, and Toasted Caramel.
Pair these selections with a choice of appetizers, chocolate, and cheese boards.
7302 E. Helm Drive, Scottsdale
Technically, the name for this tasting room is Desert Rock Urban Winery & Distillery, Tasting Room, and Wine Education Center.
Furthermore, on top of wines, this Scottsdale location creates hard ciders and seltzers. In other words, it has something for everyone.
Visitors are able to see how the winery’s products are fermented and bottled.
Items include Common Sense Red Blend, which comprises 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache grapes.
Another offering from Desert Rock is Straight Outta Scottsdale.
Comprised of 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Off Dry Gewurtztraminer, it’s commonly known as “Cougar Juice.”
4142 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale
Although this family operation sells its fruits to other Arizona wineries, it still keeps an abundant amount for its uses.
Visitors can partake of these with a five-taste sample.
Among the items they’ll try is the Rule of Three, which contains overripe blueberries, crushed violets, with a gentle touch of vanilla.
In addition to the wines, customers can purchase a wine glass with the Carlson Creek insignia to take home as a remembrance.
Those who want to pair food with their wines can select small appetizers from their menu.
Needless to say, there are several locations where you can go wine tasting in and around Phoenix.
The goal is to pace yourself.
Don’t try to stuff all of these into one day.
Instead, choose one or two of them.
Not only does this prevent you from getting too tipsy.
It also allows you to linger and take in the full aromas and flavors of the wines these tasting rooms have to offer.
Plus, you could have the opportunity to speak to the owners to get more information on their processes and products.
This is a reward unto itself.