For anyone who thinks the idea of sipping local wines while taking in the breathtaking, wide open scenery sounds like a perfect day, Sonoita, Arizona is an ideal destination. Sonoita is a part of the state’s original wine country, and tasting rooms and vineyards continue to thrive around the small village.
1.Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
© Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area is a joint venture of the United States Bureau of Land Management and the Empire Ranch Foundation. The foundation’s mission is “to protect, restore and sustain the Empire Ranch historical buildings and landscape as an outstanding western heritage education center.” Located in the heart of the conservation area is the Empire Ranch Headquarters, which is open to the public from sunrise until sunset. The Visitor Center is open to visitors during special events, volunteer work days, and docent tours. The United States Bureau of Land Management acquired the land for the conservation area in 1988.
2.Arizona Hops and Vines
© Arizona Hops and Vines
Arizona Hops and Vines is a smaller winery in the Sonoita region of Arizona, featuring a family farm that provides a warm and fun place for both wine enthusiasts and families alike. Visitors can come to the little, cheeky winery and spend some time sipping wine on the patio, share a story or two, and explore a winery that offers free Cheetos. Arizona Hops and Vines is run by two sisters with the help from their children and friends. Tastings are available from 10am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday, and from 10am to 4pm on Thursday and Sunday.
3450 Highway 82, Sonoita, AZ 85637, Phone: 301-237-6556
3.Dos Cabezas WineWorks
© Dos Cabezas WineWorks
Dos Cabezas WineWorks has had a significant role in the development of the wine scene in Arizona more more than twenty years. High-quality and distinctive fruit is supplied to the winery to produce its wines from two different estate vineyards: the Cimarron Vineyard and the Pronghorn Vineyard. The Tasting Room is open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:30am until 4:30pm. Dos Cabezas WineWorks is located in the Sonoita area’s high desert grasslands. The winery also offers a place for guests to stay on site, offering the option for visitors to sip as much wine as they desire.
3248 Highway 82, Sonoita, AZ 85637, Phone: 520-455-5141
4.Arizona Horseback Experience
© Courtesy of DisobeyArt - Fotolia.com
The Arizona Horseback Experience offers a unique experience with spectacular scenery combined with responsive and energetic horses. The horseback riding experience offers an array of different experiences for guests, including guided 3-hour trail rides, private rides, overnight pack trips, full-day adventure rides, and even wine tasting rides. Visitors can explore the cool mountains of Sonoita from a different perspective with the Arizona Horseback Experience, and no experience with horseback riding is necessary. The Sonoita region boasts some of southern Arizona’s most scenic areas, and the region is only a 45-minute drive from the city of Tucson.
16 Coyote Ct, Sonoita, AZ 85637, Phone: 520-455-5696
5.Wilhelm Family Vineyards
© Wilhelm Family Vineyards
The Wilhelm Family Vineyards is the premier vineyard for growing and producing Spanish wines in the state of Arizona. The Tasting Room at the winery is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from eleven in the morning to four in the afternoon. The Wilhelm Family Vineyards is situated right in the center of Arizona’s Empire Mountain plateau, approximately an hour away from Tucson. The tasting room embraces the beginnings of the vineyard, the heritage, and the wine culture of Arizona. It also features beautiful views of the surrounding mountain landscape, the vineyard, and the rolling grasslands.
21 Mountain Ranch Dr, Elgin, AZ 85611, Phone: 520-455-9291
© Rune Wines
Rune Wines prides itself on being an off-grid winery, as well as tasting room, situated in scenic, Sonoita in Arizona. The winery was founded in the year 2013 by winemaker James Callahan. Rune Wines is a culmination of Callahan’s knowledge he had acquired thus far combined with the knowledge he gained with each and every additional vintage. Rune is focused on doing things in a different way; focusing, honing, crafting, experimenting, and producing something truly special and unique, as well as enticing to wine lovers. Rune Wines aims to bring forth the best of the unique terroirs in its wines.
3969 AZ-82, Sonoita, AZ 85637, Phone: 520-338-8823
7.Heart of Gold Antiques
© Heart of Gold Antiques
The Heart of Gold Antiques store offers merchandise in the Sonoita community that is at least one hundred years old. The shop provides World Wonderments from the Sonoita locals as well. The antique store is located at the edge of scenic A Sky Island, sitting at an elevation of five thousand feet. From this location, visitors to Heart of Gold Antiques can enjoy panoramic views of the nearby Empire Ranch, along with views of several of the area’s vineyards. The owner of the shop, Pat, is an appraiser who offers formal appraisals, informal opinions, estate services, and consignments.
3266 Highway 82. Sonoita AZ 85637, Phone: 520-394-0199
8.Nizhoni Ranch Gallery
© Nizhoni Ranch Gallery
The Nizhoni Ranch Gallery can be found only thirty miles to the southeast from Tucson in the small town of Sonoita. The town is located is tucked away in a stunning spot between the Huachuca, Mustang, and Santa Rita Mountains, offering many opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, winery visits, and more. In Navajo, the word “nizhoni” means “beautiful place.” The Nizhoni Ranch Gallery provides the local community, as well as visitors, with the finest historic and contemporary Navajo weaving, along with other select forms of Native American art. Items found at the gallery include baskets, blankets, jewelry, kachinas, and pottery.
51 E. Pinto Trail, Sonoita, AZ 85637, Phone: 520-455-5020
9.The Vineyard Cafe Sonoita
© The Vineyard Cafe Sonoita
Chef Jon creates and serves delicious meals that are made with the freshest produce available, ensuring the quality of the food with the ingredient quality used at The Vineyard Cafe Sonoita. The extensive wine list features exquisite bottles of wine only from Arizona. The owners of The Vineyard Cafe are owners of a vineyard as well, and are passionate about highlighting what can be produced from the Sonoita American Viticultural Area. The cafe also includes a bakery that provides a unique and special experience with every dessert on the menu. All of the bakery items are made from scratch.
3252 State Hwy 82, Sonoita, AZ 85637, Phone: 520-455-4779
© The Cafe
The Cafe was founded in Sonoita, Arizona back in 2010 by Adam Puckle, a true local of the area. Adam brings his natural sense for food to the restaurant, providing customers with appetizing, comfortable, and approachable offerings designed to offer a price-valued and tasty dining experience, as well as something of interest for everyone. Daily specials are listed on the blackboards at The Cafe, as well as on the Twitter and Facebook accounts for the restaurant. The signature dish of Chef Adam is the A.P.E. Burger, and no two are quite exactly alike, offering guests something truly special.
3280 Highway 82, Sonoita, AZ 85637, Phone: 520-455-5044
11.The Steak Out
© The Steak Out
The Steak Out has been offering some of the finest steaks cut in-house for more than fifty years. Each steak is prepared over a mesquite grill and is seasoned with the steakhouse’s own world-famous seasoning. The restaurant is a family-owned and operated steakhouse in the town of Sonoita, first opened in 1979 by the Wystrach family. While the original building unfortunately burned down many years ago, The Steak Out was reopened in 2000 with a very similar design and character as the old one. The restaurant features an authentic country ambiance, offering a relaxing atmosphere in which customers can enjoy a delicious steak.
3243 State Highway 83, Sonoita, AZ, 85716, Phone: 520-455-5205
11 Best Things to Do in Sonoita, Arizona
- Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, Photo: Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
- Arizona Hops and Vines, Photo: Arizona Hops and Vines
- Dos Cabezas WineWorks, Photo: Dos Cabezas WineWorks
- Arizona Horseback Experience, Photo: Courtesy of DisobeyArt - Fotolia.com
- Wilhelm Family Vineyards, Photo: Wilhelm Family Vineyards
- Rune Wines, Photo: Rune Wines
- Heart of Gold Antiques, Photo: Heart of Gold Antiques
- Nizhoni Ranch Gallery, Photo: Nizhoni Ranch Gallery
- The Vineyard Cafe Sonoita, Photo: The Vineyard Cafe Sonoita
- The Cafe, Photo: The Cafe
- The Steak Out, Photo: The Steak Out
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of NRP - Fotolia.com