Phoenix New Times Talks Hops

A new article in the Phoenix New Times is all about our hops!

Nowadays, the rolling grasslands of Sonoita and Elgin are better known for wineries than big cattle ranches. But apparently, grapes aren’t destined to be the only gold in them thar hills.

Shannon Austin Zouzoulas and Megan Austin Haller — two 30-something sisters who just opened AZ Hops & Vines (their self-described “cheeky little winery” in Sonoita) in March of this year — have also harvested their first crop of hops this week, the first hops commercially grown in the state of Arizona.

These chicks don’t fool around.

They started out with grapes two years ago, planting six acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre, Grenache and Graciano.Because their grapes are still young (most wineries wait three years to harvest them for wine-making), they are currently offering six wines they’ve made using grapes sourced from other Arizona and California vineyards (including Stag’s Leap for their big bad Imbibe).

Read the whole thing here.

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From all over the globe

I must say our customers are crazy fun! We have had people from all over the world in this place: Wales, the Czech Republic, Australia, and many more. Some of the most interesting people are our mid-westerner customers. As an experienced and professional imbiber, I am amazed at the way those folks can drink!  One customer from Wisconsin – you know who you are – told me his nickname was Richard Cranium. Well, it only took me ten minutes to figure what that meant.

What confessions from the winery will occur next time….will you make the list?

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The Vineyard Awakens!

By next year, this will be taking over the WORLD.

The vineyard is awake and moving so fast! I am doing my best to keep up! We have finished our planting for the year, and now we are mostly just filling in the vines that didn’t take last year. Luckily, that wasn’t too many. We are slightly behind on putting in the trellising – the vines aren’t being very patient with us! But Shannon and I are pounding poles daily and hope to have them all in in the next month. Look out: We have serious guns after all this work!

I am very excited to report the hops are doing awesome! Better  than I ever expected! Sulphur Spring Electric has generously donated some utility poles and local contractor Caleb Everhart from Monument Steel donated his time auguring holes and helping us get them in and up, (they are heavier than they look)!

By the end of the summer, the hops and vines (no pun intended) will be up the poles, and this place will look incredible! We’ll be sure to post pictures to our Facebook page.

A quick shout out to our young and enterprising intern Austin. He was a hard worker and we enjoyed having him! Any future interested  interns please send a picture 😉

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The Buffalo Club is here!

We have decided to honor Buffalo in our tasting room. What is Buffalo?  Only a life-saving, drinking game from the old west that is a life time commitment. You are only allowed to drink with your non-gun-shooting hand  (or your non-writing hand). If anyone catches you then they call “Buffalo!” and then you have to finish whatever is in your glass.

Despite what you might think, I did not make this up. Google it, it is from the 1800’s. There are associations dedicated to it. Since I am a professional and do not drink behind the counter, you will have to wait until I am off to Buffalo me. Unfortunately, a crafty customer did just that to me recently, luring me outside after we closed,with the promise of a glass of First Crush.  I am now on my toes, I won’t be fooled again!

We meet on the 4th Sunday of every month (not the last Sunday; the 4th Sunday) at one in the afternoon.

Head over to our Buffalo Club page to read more and sign up!

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Pigs and bunnies and petting, oh my!

Happy bunny!

We have decided to add to our animal addiction with micro mini pig after our favorite cool family told us all about their pig!  Their pig was big and would run loose terrorizing the  Tucson country club scene! Did I mention their pig could knock down doors and cave in floors? Well, that’s why our pig will be mini.

Oh and don’t  forget to come say hello and hold our double chinned he/she bunny named Elton John.

He has stolen the hearts and small vegetables of many of our customers. He’s fat, happy, and doesn’t at all mind being picked up and petted.

Just keep in mind he might poop on you.

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Throwing Stuff at Other Stuff!

The Wikipedia image for horseshoes was actually pretty cool, so we stole it. Look at them! They're not even drinking!

I hope everyone has been practicing both Horseshoes and Corn Hole our tournaments are coming up! You’ll need to be able to toss things accurately while drinking.

The Mike Dupont Classic Horseshoe Tournament is coming up this weekend (where does the time go!?)!! The Tournament is named after Mike Dupont, who trained Megan for about a half-decade working around the Sonoita area. He has listened to her many crazy plans, lets us use his tractor, helps with all day-to-day stuff, fixes everything Megan breaks, and never, ever says, “no.” And now we wants to have a horseshoe tournament — how could we say no!?

  • $25 entrance fee, which includes wine tasting!
  • We’ll have a cash prize (amount depends on how many entrants we have)
  • 5 horseshoe pits

You can sign up for the Horseshoes tournament on the Facebook event page, or with this form.

 

We have nice corn holes.

And next month, we’re having the Cornhole Tournament! What’s cornhole? It’s that game where you throw a bean bag into a hole! Simple! All ages! Kids, embarrass your parents! Wives, humiliate your husbands! Everybody drinks, so everybody wins!

You can sign up for the Corn Hole tournament on the Facebook event page, or with this form.

There has been a lot of trash talk in this tasting room, mostly by me, but word on the street is that there is one team to beat: the Staggering Sistahs. Two sisters who train daily with the determination of Olympic athletes.  Don’t let their mad skill deter you, but just know they mean business. They might even be wearing a uniform (don’t ask what it looks like, that’s top secret).

Anyways, a quick shout out to Brianna and Ryan who got engaged over our Zinnerpeace!

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Festival Recap!

At the Festival!

We had a great turn out for first festival! We estimated the crowd to be just under 400. We had people from all over the planet, we had tons of great pairings. One little girl told Rachel, while making crafts, that “I’ve had a lot of awesome days, but this is my 5th Most Awesome Day.” Well, it’s good to know we cracked the Top 10. The tasting room was packed all day. It was great!

It took us about a week to recover …

Now, a BIG drama occurred just as we sat down to enjoy some Milagros… I am talking reality TV/counter-terrorism big. I can’t go into it here, however I promise to tell all* in the tasting room if you ask me about it. It really is crazy!

You can check out the Facebook gallery of photos!

We are planning on having two major festivals every year, so mark your calendars the next festival on September 10th! It will be a similar set-up with pairings, except with even nicer weather, new wines, and more new faces!

 

* Note from Steve: She always tells all in the tasting room!

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Transit of Venus is this Tuesday

The transition of Venus across the Sun

The transition of Venus across the Sun

Hops & Vines is proud to host its first event for astronomy geeks, families, and kids who like staring at the Sun!

At precisely 3:06 PM on June 5th, the outer edge of Venus will be directly between Earth and the Sun, and so with special glasses, you can see Venus’ shadow in between. It will travel from the edge of the Sun in an arc into the middle of the Sun, and towards sunset, will head back to the edge.

The next time Venus will transition the Sun will be December 11th… 2117. This will be just the sixth time that it has happened while human beings have been aware that the event happens at all. Or, in the words of the Guardian:

This story of a search for precision began when astronomers still risked death at the stake for heresy [in the 1700’s]. This week the little black dot on the face of the Sun will be monitored by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Here at Hops & Vines, we won’t be able to see quite the entire transition, as the Sun will set at 7:26 with Venus about halfway across the sun, but unlike everyone else on the planet, we will be sitting comfortably on a beautiful patio drinking wine (for the adults) and homemade soda (for the kids and the designated drivers). We will also have some snacks.

Pretty much the coolest glasses ever (for staring at the Sun)

Pretty much the coolest glasses ever (for staring at the Sun)

We purchased those super-cool glasses from the University of Arizona Astronomy Club! Thanks to them, we can now stare at the Sun without fear of anything but sunburn.

Special Sun-staring glasses will be provided.

We also will be participating in the measurement of the distance between the Sun and Earth, reproducing an experiment thought up in 1716 by Edward Halley (after whom Halley’s Comet is named), and executed in 1753. Except we get to use iPhones and Android smartphones!

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The Tucson Weekly loves us

The amazing, all-things-worth-knowing-about-Tucson Tucson Weekly has a little spotlight on us on the Range blog:

 There’s a new winery down in Sonoita called Hops and Vines, and I am smitten with it. From the winery’s brand-spanking-new website:

“We’re a small winery that’s awesome! One of many great Sonoita-area wineries in Southern Arizona, our family farm is a fun, warm place for families and wine afficionados alike.”

From its interesting line of non-alcoholic beverages called The Sober Shack to a variety of wines – we hear the most popular one thus far is a Muscat called The Fluffer – it’s well worth checking out. A spokesman for the company tells us the winery is also the only local producer of hops, which should be of interest to the growing number of microbreweries taking shape around town.

There are tastings (“$10 with our glass, $5 with your glass”), special events, gatherings around bonfires, the list goes on. Head over here to check out more on all that.

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We’re on the Tucson Weekly blog!

Hooray! The daily blog of the weekly Tucson alt paper The Tucson Weekly, called The Range has a post about us, with some excellent advice: “it’s well worth checking out”!

Actually, The Range is one of the best resources in Tucson for seeing what’s happening on a daily basis. You should check them out, too! They have a lot of fun with their post “tags” – on this particular post it’s tagged “what would Bacchus do?”

Well, obviously, he would come down to Sonoita and drink barrels and barrels of wine.

Thanks, Adam Borowitz. You rule!

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