Famed Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon was forced to forgo his quest for the mythical land of wine after an accidental tumble into the fountain of youth left him eternally underage. Take up his abandoned journey with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get a tasting and tour for two at Wilhelm Family Vineyards, located in Elgin (a $30 value).
Take in views of rolling hills and revolving mountains at the Wilhelms’ family-owned-and-operated 20-acre vineyard before stepping inside the winery for a 20- to 40-minute tour. A helpful guide will explain the equipment and the winemaking process, from harvest to barrel to bottle to belly. Following the tour, you’ll receive two complimentary wine glasses to fill with a sampling of dry whites, reds, semisweets, dessert wines, and seasonal specials (including gluhwein, a traditional German mulled wine, in the winter). Linger longer after the tasting and chat with owners Karyl and Kevin Wilhelm about techniques for removing wine stains from enraged, paint-averse chickens. The tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and by appointment all other days.
Wilhelm Family Vineyards
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.
21 Mountain Ranch Dr.
South Elgin, Arizona 85611Get Directions