Out of a fondness for grapes and fine wines and having completed wine making extension classes in Pennsylvania I subsequently opened and operated a boutique winery called Vollbehr Cellars, in eastern Iowa in the mid 80's, This period spawned a love for the making of high-end premium wines. However, this love for wine making was placed on hold while I served as Public Works director in Iowa, Oklahoma and lastly for the City of Petaluma, CA, right in the heart of Sonoma County wine country.
During my tenure with Petaluma, my wife and I spent the next five years traveling the northern California and Oregon wine country, viewing vineyards and sampling my favorite wine, Pinot Noir. We both attended extension classes at Santa Rosa Junior College on establishing and maintaining a vineyard. Equipped with my wine making experience and our new vineyard training, we decided to make our way back to this beautiful Arizona valley and bring with us the fine traditions of west coast grape growing and wine making. So, it was spring of 2009, Del Rio Springs Vineyard was born.
Our 6-acre vineyard is located in the newly emerging Prescott Highland grape region. It is situated on an east facing bench overlooking the highland rimmed by the Mingus Mountains on the east, the Bradshaw Mountain on the south, the Juniper Mountains on the west and Black Mesa to the north. This high elevation cool microclimate has been referred to by some as Arizona's new Napa Valley, as it has a similar mountain orientation, combined with the right amount of warm breezy days and cool nights.
After many months of preparation, we began planting in 2009 with select Pinot Noir clones of 828, 667, 777, 115, Pommard 4 and Martine clones. All of which go into the making of our premier reserve wine. This was followed by plantings of Carménère, Phoenix, a cool climate German hybrid grape in 2010 and Vignoles a French hybrid grape in 2011. Our first crush of Pinot Noir and Carménère wine grapes was in the fall of 2013, followed by Phoenix 2014 and Vignoles 2015.
Our first large commercial crush amounted to 2.5 tons for the 2014 harvest; this has now grown to over 9 tons for the 2019 harvest. The 2019 crush included Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat, Late harvest Vignoles, Riesling and an experimental planting of Torrontés all white wines, as well as a Pinot Noir Rose. For red wines we have Pinot Noir, Carménère, Cabernet Franc, Merlot in our home vineyard and contract Zinfandel, Malbec, and additional Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from Silver Concho vineyard located north of Kingman, AZ.
In addition to the rapid vineyard expansion, we have also acquired a new tasting room located in Suite 4 of the Old Firehouse Plaza facing Goodwin Street in the City of Prescott. The tasting room is open Monday through Sunday and features live music Friday through Sunday.