No sour grapes: Southern AZ vineyard not worried about cheaper Cali wines

New winery in AZ

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Wine drinkers are rejoicing over recent news of a grape glut in California, which is expected to drop the price for popular bottles of reds and whites.

Plenty of California products make their way to grocery stores and liquor shops in Arizona, but some local growers don't seem to be phased by the potential surge in sales of slightly cheaper Cali wines.

Tom “Kitsch” Kitchens, one of three co-founders at Flying Leap Vineyard, said there’s really no comparing the two operations. He figures local growers only account for 1 percent of all wine sales across the state.

Stephanie Andre and her family have several connections to the tasting rooms and wineries around Sonoita and Elgin. She said they try to shop, and drink, local as much as possible.

"We like to support them, but when we're at home it's really hard to deny the price of cheaper California wine," she said.

Trips to the local vineyards are for special occasion purchases or showing around out-of-state visitors. Monday after she showed her father what southern Arizona had to offer. Wilson Warriner's trip exceeded expectations.

"The quality of the wine is up there," he said. "Just as good as you'd fine in southern California."

Warriner would know, because he used to live there. He was a member of several wine clubs before moving to Florida. He likes to support local when he can as well.

"That's the way wineries grow," said Warriner. "They have to get that footprint and build from there, and eventually, they start getting noticed."

Flying Leap continues to do just that. Restocking bottles of a 2017 sangiovese, Kitsch said they're down to the final couple cases.

"Luckily we have some 2018 tat we're going to be bottling as soon as we can," he said. "We're kind of selling out of stuff."

As word continues to spread about the quality of what southern Arizona is producing, people will keep buying what’s bottled. If the demand is there, local wineries have no reason to drop their prices.

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