Wine! Inside 7 Verde Valley Vineyards

Continued (page 6 of 6)

“It started by mistake,” he says. “I’m an Italian from Brooklyn – my father made wine in the basement. I came to Arizona 38 years ago with two asthmatic children and planted grapes for myself. It was a hobby that got out of hand.”

Bill grew his own grapes for ten years, selling his wines at 110 locations across the state, and producing Arizona’s first blush in 1985. Faded ribbons he won at state and regional wine competitions hang on a back wall. These days Bill gets his grapes from all over Arizona but continues to ferment and bottle at the winery. Varietals and blends change regularly; during our visit the tasting menu included Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Port, and Petite Sirah. The winery’s premium private reserve includes 1980 and 1981 Cabernet Sauvignons, 1980 and 1981 Zinfandels, and a 1981 Sherry.

Bill also produces novelty wines such as a red Honey and Spice made with Marsala Sherry, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice. The Hot Pepper Wine, made with Chenin Blanc and French Columbard, is also popular. Just ask, and Bill will hand out recipes for marinades, desserts, hors d’oeuvres, and spritzers using San Dominique wines. Bottles start at $15.50 each, with higher prices for private reserves. Wine tastings are 50 cents per sample, or four tastes and a San Dominique souvenir glass for $6. San Dominique also serves wine by the glass, desserts, hot sandwiches, and salami and cheese plates in the summer. Credit cards aren’t accepted so make sure you bring cash.

Several times a year, San Dominique hosts invitation-only international seven-course dinners in a dining room adjacent to the winery – give Bill your email address and he’ll send you the menu in advance. If you like what’s being served, send him a check and he’ll reserve your spot. Bill says the dinners draw between 40 and 60 guests, some of whom have been dining with him since he started serving meals 16 years ago.

San Dominique Winery – Located on the southeast corner of I-17 and Hwy 169/Cherry Rd.
Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 480-945-8583;

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