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

By Amanda Luberto, Mark Brodie, Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, December 28, 2020 - 1:39pm
Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2020 - 8:13am

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Arizona vineyard
Jenelle Bonifield
A vineyard at the foot of desert mountains.

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.

Jenelle Bonifield
Jenelle Bonifield
Jenelle Bonifield.

“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.

AZ Uncorked — The Arizona Wine Guide
Jenelle Bonifield
Jenelle Bonifield's book, "AZ Uncorked — The Arizona Wine Guide."

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.

Grapes being smashed for wine
Jenelle Bonifield
Grapes being crushed down to make wine.

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.

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