Much of America's southwest is painted with shades of a single color: red. Bright crimson, dark maroon, and everything in between define the landscapes from Sedona's towering rocks to the the Grand Canyon's deepest points. These are just two of the destinations visited by Redstone Tours.
It's fitting that the company's name harkens to the region's rocks, since it was founded by a geologist. With a scientist as their inspirational leader and boss, the guides teach groups about the area's natural history as they lead them past the likes of Cathedral Rock and answer questions like "just how old is the Grand Canyon, and what does it want for its birthday?" Redstone Tours also leads tours of Native American sites and takes groups on rafting trips down the Colorado River.
Italian for "your wine," Su Vino doesn't only curate a lineup of award-winning varietals, it also crafts custom wines to suit even the most discerning palates. Inside an eye-catching tasting room, Su Vino Winery pairs glasses and bottles of its vintages with a menu of light appetizers and sensuous desserts. Red wines such as the jam-flavored cabernet sauvignon/merlot blend and peppery zinfandel pour crimson into tasting glasses, whereas white wines—including the tongue-twisting gewürztraminer—immerse taste buds in crisp, off-dry tones. They also open their bottle-lined space to guests interested in hosting a birthday party, bridal shower, or scared-straight event for delinquent grapes.
Glasses of purple merlot or golden chardonnay stand out against the white tables at Art of Merlot, a BYOB art space where students of all ages explore their creative side and learn to replicate paintings by Van Gogh, Kandinsky, and other artists. The studio provides paint, brushes, aprons, easels, encouragement, and canvases, as well as glasses and corkscrews for wine. Each class is held in a relaxed and fun environment and led by a professional artist that guides students into creating their own masterpieces. Art of Merlot also hosts private, corporate, and bridal events as well as kids camps and birthday parties.
Countless repairs and home-remodeling projects can undoubtedly trace their lineage back to Paul's Ace Hardware, which began doling out DIY equipment and home-improvement supplies in 1956. Founded by Paul E. Dauwalder, the shop quickly expanded from its original 1,800-square-foot space, branching out to five shops that now operate beneath the expert eye of Paul's granddaughter. Cleaning products, outdoor equipment, and pool supplies are just a fragment of the stores' inventory, with power tools awaiting steady hands, fishing gear beckoning lake dwellers, and building materials—including the Tempe location's 56,000 square feet of lumber—standing poised and ready to be assembled into dams by handy beavers. Still in the city of its founding, the Scottsdale location has moved and upgraded to its own building.
Casual sophistication is the name of the game at Bandera American Cooking. The soft, warm lighting, comfortable seating and friendly staff all work to make Bandera the perfect after-work safe haven to enjoy with friends. The relatively conservative menu items, like the rotisserie chicken, or the cornbread may initially deceive you into thinking that Bandera is a bland and unimaginative place, which couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Bandera’s mouthwatering takes on these and other timeless classics just go to show that there’s always room for improving upon even the most traditional American cuisine.
The professional, knowledgeable staff at Vintner’s Circle spreads fondness for fermented grapes with hands-on wine classes that teach guests, family, and friends how to bottle wines, distinguish between different varietals, or pair wine with cheese. The shop’s unique winemaking courses take aspiring vintners through the accessible four-step process, which begins with choosing wine juices from a selection of more than 50 internationally sourced varieties. Participants then fill more than two dozen bottles with their own vintage. They can emblazon these bottles with custom-designed labels and corks that only open with fingerprint recognition. Vintner's Circle also stocks a variety of gifts for weddings, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as wine accessories and gifts for wine lovers to enjoy year-round. Wine-education classes, corporate events, and team-building events are also on offer.