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 $50, you get a wine-tasting seminar for two at Wilhelm Family Vineyards in Sonoita (a $100 value).
The rolling hills, peaked mountains, and rows of lush, pluckable grapes at the 20-acre Wilhelm Family Vineyards lend themselves to picturesque wine-based adventures. Co-owner Karyl Wilhelm takes the reins of the three-hour Wine Aroma and Sensory Perception Seminar, schooling fledgling oenophiles in the ways of grown-up fruit libations. Learn the difference between sweet and dry wines, how to detect and distinguish wine scents from one another, and why you should never wake a sleeping grape. Participants will have the opportunity to taste test wines and enjoy a flight of Wilhelm-crafted beverages at the conclusion of the seminar. Complimentary wine glasses complete the afternoon and are good for reduced tasting fees at many local wineries as well as for future visits to Wilhelm Family Vineyards. Seminars are usually held the second and third Saturday of every month; check with the winery for the official schedule.
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.
Sonoita, Arizona 85611Get Directions