With more than two decades of airborne experience under their wings, Scott Johnson and his wife Terri teach students the fundamentals of sport piloting during tandem paramotor and trike flights. After mastering the helm of a trike or the cords of a paramotor on the land, pupils and teachers soar over the stunning vistas of southern Arizona's expansive landscape for hands-on experience. Scott draws from his time spent helping film nature documentaries for the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet to help students identify shorebirds and sandhill cranes midflight. Arizona Trike School also deals in new and refurbished sport aircraft as well as piloting necessities such as parachutes and headsets that play the Top Gun soundtrack on repeat.
After being told multiple times that opening a winery is a dream "that will never work," sisters Megan and Shannon did the impossible. While living together under one roof with six kids, six dogs, five turtles, and 10 chickens, the sisters decided to prove the naysayers wrong and pursue their dream of opening a winery. And today, they own and operate Arizona Hops and Vines, which yields six varietals ranging from a sparkling brut wine crafted from muscat grapes to a bold 100% California petit verdot. Arizona Hops and Vines hosts weekend tastings for of-age adults, and invites kids, nondrinking guests, and pets to check out the Sober Shack or practice animal-whispering skills with the farm's resident pets.
Winemaking and viticulture shaped much of the young lives of Flying Leap Vineyards' founding partners: Mark Beres grew up and worked his first vineyard jobs in the wine-growing region of southeastern Washington, and Marc Moeller is the product of generations of Swiss winemakers. Their experiences make for a potent combination of artistry and science when it comes to crafting their own wine. They use only grapes that are lab certified, well adjusted for planting in the Arizona loam, and able to sit patiently for still lifes. This sophisticated fusion is evident at the winery's two tasting rooms, where guests can purchase their favorite vintages and excite their palates with sampler flights.
Bored with their empty nest and tired of a grinding commute, Rhona MacMillan and Mark Jorve opted to marry their love of wine and the outdoors, and naturally, Zarpara Vineyard was born. There, they oversee a roster of handcrafted wines, all available for sampling at their tasting room, including the recently released sauvignon blanc or the 2012 sangiovese.
Spread out on 20 acres of fertile land?with traits comparable to Rioja in Spain, France's Rhone region, and Saturn's seventh ring?Wilhelm Family Vineyards yields an assortment of grapes. Perched on the Sonoita plain at nearly 5,000 feet elevation, the vineyard resides in a cool, grassland climate above the desert. Winemaker Karyl Wilhelm, who has completed U.C. Davis's renowned Winemaker's Certificate Program, produces wines such as the tempranillo-based Kevin's Choice, an award-winning blend named after her pilot husband. Each bottle of wine leaves the grounds with a stamp of approval in the form of Karyl's signature, which is written directly on the bottle in eye-catching metallic ink.
Guests who enter the tasting room enjoy a warm welcome from a 95-pound weimaraner named Chancellor, who muses over the earthy notes of his rawhide bone while patrons sample the winery's selection of red, white, semisweet, dessert, and seasonal wines. As veterans of the first Gulf War, Karyl and Kevin celebrate each Veterans Day by offering a Patriot Salute Zinfandel-based wine with a label designed by renowned artist and pilot, Jim Laurier. The winery, which also hosts weddings, graduation parties, and other catered events, uses vegan-friendly practices, makes its wines with low sulfite additions, and recaptures water to use in the vineyard.
With a wealth of activities to while away the days beneath the Arizona sun, Triangle T Guest Ranch gives its visitors ample opportunity to relax amid beautiful southwestern scenery. The ranch sits among the foothills of the Dragoon Mountains at an elevation of 4,500 feet, ensuring comfortable temperatures for year-round horseback-riding programs, hiking, and jeep tours over its 160 acres.
For trail rides, the ranch's wranglers lead groups of explorers on horseback across diverse terrain from grassy hills to steep, rocky traverses that change every few minutes of the tour, offering riders plenty of opportunities for pictures and fresh inspiration for haikus. While riders negotiate twists and turns and marvel at the many intricate boulder formations along the way, their guides expound upon the ranch's long and storied history, from the first visits by Apache chieftains up through its 20th-century use by diplomats, writers, and entertainers including JFK and John Wayne. After their ride, participants can recount the memorable scenery and near run-ins with outlaws at The Rock Saloon and Grill, famous for the giant boulder behind the bar.