Arizona wine industry boosting ties to CALS

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Arizona Wine Growers Association is rolling out a plan to bolster the state's burgeoning wine industry with the help of the University of Arizona.

The UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will establish the Southwest Wine Library in Tucson to complement Yavapai College's Southwest Wine Center in Clarkdale, which includes a working vineyard.

The programs anchor the association's "Emerging Wine Industry Strategic Plan" to strengthen the state's fast-growing wine industry. The payoffs would be especially big for rural economies of the Verde Valley and Southern Arizona wine regions.

The UA has committed to working with the winegrowers association, but many details have yet to be decided, said Jeffrey Silvertooth, the college's associate dean for economic development and director of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

Read more from this July 21 Arizona Daily Star article at the link below. See also this August 6 letter to the editor, "Wine-industry story omitted UA pioneer," which describes the contribution made to the wine industry in Arizona by Gordon Dutt, long-time professor of agricultural chemistry and soils at the University of Arizona. During the 1970s, Dutt researched the best locations in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah for wine grapes production. He later founded Sonoita Vineyards at Elgin, Ariz.

Don Slack, interim head of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, recently recalled the quality of this early wine from southern Arizona vineyards: "some of the best cabernet sauvignon that I have tasted."

Listen to the July 31 episode of KVOI radio's Buckmaster Show for an interview with Silvertooth on this subject. The interview begins at the 30:00 mark.

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