KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Photographer Spotlights Arizona's Wine Scene In Book 'AZ Uncorked: The Arizona Wine Guide'

When you first think of the world’s great wine regions, you might not think of Arizona. Maybe you think of Napa, the Columbia Valley or even France and Italy come to mind. But over the last few years, winemakers in this state have done a lot to change that. The Arizona wine scene has become more respectable, but also more expansive.

When photographer Jenelle Bonifield was covering food and wine, she noticed there was a gap in local coverage.

“I would cover some events, food and wine, and I was surprised that we had local food represented, but local wine wasn’t very well represented at most events," Bonifield said. "So it was kind of my mission to inform people about the wine that we have here in Arizona.”

She started working on a coffee table book of her photography and writings from local restaurant owners, national connoisseurs and more all about this mission.

It’s called 'AZ Uncorked: The Arizona Wine Guide' and it’s over 500 pages of all of the information you’d ever need to know about Arizona wines alongside beautiful photographs of vineyards at the foot of desert mountains, bright purple grapes being crushed down to drink, and the people who make it all happen.

Bonifield got into covering Arizona wineries when her friends opened LDV Winery about a decade ago. She’d go down to Willcox and photograph their journey. About seven years later, with the successful rise of local wines, she knew that she could be a part of putting them on the map.

“Our wines in Arizona have been winning awards nationally and there’s just not that much media exposure and people are just not aware of it," Bonifield said.

The book features vineyards in the Cottonwood region like Page Springs Cellars as well as the Sonoita region like Dos Cabezas WineWorks — plus some outlier wineries and a few wine tasting shops more centrally located in the state.

Because of how different the wine scene is here in Arizona as compared to our neighbors in California or even up in Oregon and Washington, Bonifield really wanted to capture the “do it yourself,” hard-working attitude winemakers here have to have.

“They’re out there from sunrise to sunset, and it’s just amazing what they’re doing with Arizona wine. A lot of the winemakers, this is their second and third career. We’ve got an indie rock star, a Hollywood director, and people from virtually every walk of life that are now Arizona winemakers and it really contributes to the diversity of the wine," Bonifield said.

The book can be found on the website arizonawineguide.com.

More Stories From KJZZ

Amanda Luberto was born in California but considers herself a native to the Valley of the Sun. She started as a producer at KJZZ in October 2017, but also interned in the newsroom as a student. She is a proud alumna of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.She has been interested in radio since starting school in 2013. She spent two years as the music director for ASU’s college station, Blaze Radio, and one year as station manager. She spent time as a music programming intern in Washington, D.C., at Sirius XM and as a tech broadcaster for Cronkite News on Arizona PBS. Luberto is dedicated and passionate about quality local storytelling and original content broadcasting.Luberto also spent years as the co-founder and chapter leader of Arizona State University’s chapter of I Am That Girl, an international women’s empowerment organization focused on the collaboration of women and building self-love. She believes in the strength of women supporting women.Her favorite podcast episode is This American Life’s “Fermi’s Paradox,” and she highly suggests you listen to it. Off air, you can find Luberto adding to her list of concerts attended, sipping at a local coffee shop or cheering on the Arizona Coyotes.