Our Vineyards

 

Our Vineyards

Flying Leap Vineyards operates and sources fruit primarily from two company-owned vineyard complexes in southern and southeastern Arizona in the southwestern region of the United States. Viticulture is the core of Flying Leap’s passion – farming the land to nurture the vines and produce the fruit for its winery. Viticulture in Arizona has a history that begins in the 16th century when missionary Spanish Jesuit priests began to plant grapevines in this area and make wine for use in the church sacraments.

FLV has 70 acres of land in two Arizona counties (Cochise & Santa Cruz). The majority of the acreage (60) is in Cochise County south of Willcox in a scenic, rural and unincorporated agricultural area known as the Kansas Settlement. Presently FLV has fully developed 20 of the 60 acres there, known as Blocks 1 & 2. These vineyards were planted in 2011 & 2012, respectively. The remaining 40 acres will be cultivated over the next several years. FLV also operates a smaller 6.5-acre estate vineyard at the winery and tasting room located 45 minutes south of Tucson in Santa Cruz County in the Sonoita viticultural area. The estate vineyard is located on Arizona’s famous wine trail on Elgin Road.

Young Whitetail Buck - Flying Leap Vineyards (Elgin Estate)


 

Elgin Estate Vineyard, Winery & Tasting Room

Flying Leap’s estate vineyard and winery is located in the heart of Arizona wine country just 45 miles south of Tucson in the Sonoita AVA (American Viticulture Area). Our Elgin property consists of a humble yet functional winery building and co-located tasting room with ample parking all situated amongst our beautiful and meticulously maintained 6.5-acre estate vineyard with sweeping views of our vines and surrounding mountains. Flying Leap’s estate winery is truly an extraordinary destination for wine lovers seeking a quality, relaxed wine tasting experience in a low-density, quaint and incredibly scenic setting.

The Elgin area is one of the most exclusive grape growing areas in the country, and it is also among the very first winegrowing regions to be granted AVA status by the federal government, and it is at present the only federally-recognized wine growing region in the state of Arizona. Currently home to the largest concentration of wineries and vineyards in the state, the Sonoita/Elgin winegrowing region has been recognized as one of the top ten wine trails in the country by USA Today.

The Estate Vineyard

All of Flying Leap’s wine grapes are hand harvested from the company’s expansive vineyards in Cochise County near Willcox and from its small estate vineyard in Elgin. The estate vines encompass a total planted acreage of 6.5 acres, which were originally planted in 2003 and 2004 by Tim & Joan Mueller, the owners & proprietors of the former Canelo Hills Vineyard & Winery. Flying Leap Vineyards acquired the Canelo Hills property in February 2013.

The vineyard is sourced primarily with mature acreage of Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, with experimental plantings of Graciano, Counoise, Viognier and Malvasia Bianca. The estate vineyard’s annual harvest yields enough fruit to produce approximately 500 cases of wine annually.

The Winery

Flying Leap’s winery is well-equipped with state of the art winemaking tools, fixtures and material, and includes co-located cold room, barrel cellaring and finished goods storage facilities and a large adjacent crush pad. All red wines are aged in genuine oak barrels sourced from France, Hungary, Poland and the United States, and white wines are cold-fermented then aged in both stainless steel tanks and neutral oak barrels, depending on style.

The Tasting Room

Flying Leap’s estate winery includes a small well-equipped tasting room, where our customers can relax and enjoy our wines in a genuine winery setting. The tasting bar is solid Arizona mesquite, and the air is filled with the musty aroma of oak and wine. The tasting experience at Flying Leap Vineyards is first class. All of our tasting room staff is trained in the art and science of wine, and they provide our customers with not just a great pour of wine, but the knowledge and insight into how that wine was grown, vinted and cellared. We provide our customers with a quality, proper long-stemmed 21 ounce wine glass and six pours of our incredible wines for just $10.

 

Willcox Tasting Room & Art Gallery

Flying Leap operates a beautiful tasting room and fine art gallery right in the heart of historic downtown Willcox, Arizona, at the corner of Railroad and Maley avenues, immediately across the Railroad Park. Ideally situated on the historic old walk, FLV’s Willcox tasting room is an exquisite and relaxing experience in one of the old southwest’s most notorious front streets.

The tasting room is over a century old, and was formerly the infamous Headquarters Saloon, which burned down in the 1930s. The old saloon is the site where Warren Earp was shot and killed. Earp was the youngest of Wyatt Earp’s brothers, who was born in Pella, Iowa in 1855. He worked on the Hooker Ranch when Willcox shipped more cattle than anywhere in the nation. Working as a cowboy, teamster, stage driver, special officer for the Arizona Cattlemen’s Association and bartender, he was a quarrelsome person who was often in trouble with the law. Warren Earp was shot and killed in the Headquarters Saloon in downtown Willcox, Arizona Territory on July 6th, 1900 by Johnny Boyett, a cowboy on the same ranch whom he had picked on one too many times. Boyett was never indicted, but later disappeared with no trace. It is widely believed that Wyatt & Virgil Earp came and avenged their brother’s death. Warren was buried that afternoon in the local cemetery, the only Earp buried in Arizona.

Though the original frame of the Headquarters Saloon burned down during the Great Depression, the floor was preserved. Though covered by carpet and out of sight since the original fire, Flying Leap painstakingly over months of hand work removed all the old carpet and glue, and we repaired and stabilized the old wood floor which had suffered badly from neglect and termites. We conditioned and sealed the old wood floor, which our guests can now see when they visit our Willcox location.

The old Headquarters Saloon now shines as a fully-renovated wine tasting room in historic downtown Willcox. The interior was cleaned and upgraded to accommodate wine cellaring space, storage and a large array of lighting and specialty paint was brought in to allow the gallery pieces to be displayed professionally. We spared no expense in our Willcox location, even installing a beautifully custom-made front door of native Arizona mesquite wood, with a carved glass inlay and decorative, brushed steel handle. The tasting bar is made from a whole, book-matched & curved slab of wonderfully finished mesquite, with over 60 coats of Danish preservative oil to enrich its deep, full luster and shine.

TRUST Art & Design has partnered with Flying Leap Vineyards to bring local art and local wine together in this historic building. The fine art gallery features beautiful and interesting original artwork by local artists. Each piece is carefully chosen by Thomas & Kim Johnson, collection curators and owners of TRUST. The gallery is filled with one-of-a-kind artworks in oil, acrylic, watercolor, mixed-media, and metal. TRUST artwork is available for viewing and purchase during tasting room hours, but private viewings are also available by contacting TRUST Art & Design directly.

Willcox, Arizona is located along Interstate 10, just 70 miles east of Tucson. In addition to the art gallery and tasting bar, FLV’s Willcox tasting room is a comfortable place to enjoy a glass of our wines, with leather sofas and a large window looking out on the Railroad Park, where our guests can sip and enjoy our wines while watching the myriad trains go zooming by throughout the day.

 

Bisbee Tasting Room & Fine Art Gallery

Nestled in and amongst Bisbee’s famous art galleries, restaurants and romantic inns is Flying Leap Vineyards’ Bisbee tasting room and fine art gallery, located downtown on historic Main Street just a few hundred feet up the sidewalk from Café Roka (just next door to the Bisbee Grand Hotel).  The beautiful tasting room is located on the first floor of Bisbee’s historic Elks Lodge, which was built in 1910. There is convenient parking across the street and a lovely, spacious entry stairway and reception foyer, which we use to host various local musical talent from time to time. The tasting room and gallery are a wonderful Bisbee activity for visitors; a place to enjoy our award-winning, locally crafted Arizona wines and view many fine pieces of artwork from renowned local and regional artists.

The fine art gallery by TRUST Art & Design features bold, modern, original works by talented artists from near and far. Each piece is carefully chosen by Thomas & Kim Johnson, collection curators and owners of TRUST. TRUST artwork is available for viewing and purchase during tasting room hours, but private viewings are also available by contacting TRUST Art & Design directly.

Bisbee, 90 miles southeast of Tucson and nestled amongst the Mule Mountains, is the picturesque county seat of historic Cochise County, Arizona. The community was founded in 1880 and named after Judge DeWitt Bisbee, a financial backer of the Copper Queen Mine.

Once known as “the Queen of the Copper Camps”, this Old West mining camp proved to be one of the richest mineral sites in the world, producing nearly three million ounces of gold and more than eight billion pounds of copper. Today, the original city of Bisbee is known as "Old Bisbee", and is home to a thriving downtown cultural scene. Old Bisbee is also noted for its architecture, including its Victorian-style houses and elegant Art Deco courthouse. Because its plan was laid out before the automobile, Old Bisbee has an almost European feel, and it is one of Arizona’s most romantic walking cities due to its curved, narrow streets, walking paths and turn of the century architecture.

 

The Vineyards at Kansas Settlement

FLV’s Cochise County Vineyards

Beginning in the Fall of 2013, approximately 90% of FLVI’s fruit will be sourced from its Cochise County vineyards in the Kansas Settlement south of Willcox. The soil there is perfectly pH-balanced with good drainage, making it ideal for growing grapevines, and the land itself is situated on a gentle downslope just west of the Dos Cabezas Mountain Wilderness area in the Sulphur Springs Valley. At 4,359 feet, FLV’s Cochise County vineyards enjoy sunny warm days and clear cool nights – perfect for grape ripening.

We irrigate our grapevines from a deep well onsite, where we pump groundwater collected from snowmelt and our annual monsoon rains. The water is pressurized and directed through a vast network of underground pipes to various valves, which we turn on and off to direct water to separate irrigation blocks. We have designed and installed equipment allowing us to inject both fertilizers and acids into our irrigation water to enhance plant growth, fruit quality and maintain proper soil chemistry.

Blocks 1 & 2 contain approximately 30,000 vines on 15.6-acres of planted space, giving us the highest vine density of any vineyard in the state of Arizona, and our rows are just 6-feet wide. We work our vineyards the old fashioned way – by hand, using quads and special custom-made equipment for getting efficiently down our narrow rows.

In Cochise County, about 75% of our vines are red winegrape varietals. These include Grenache Noir, Petit Verdot, Mourvèdre, Sangiovese, Tannat, Graciano and Cabernet Franc. The remaining 25% are white winegrape varietals including Marsanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Piquepoul Blanc and Malvasia Bianca. Each of these carefully-selected grapevine varietals grow well in Arizona’s clay sandy-loam soil and are ideally suited for our dry, arid climate.

Approximately 50% of our portfolio is on grafted rootstock, and the remaining plants grow on their own roots. We do this to reduce the risk of Phyloxera damage, which is a root louse that can devastate a vineyard. Grafting is an age-old process by which old-world vines susceptible to Phyloxera damage are grafted onto native northern American roots, which are resistant to the louse. There is currently no known presence of Phyloxera in Arizona’s vineyard acreage, but FLV plants some grafted vines in order to ensure protection should a grower inadvertently import it in the future.

We have taken great care to make the Cochise County vineyards guest-friendly, and we are licensed to make & sell wine onsite. The western border is shaded with native cottonwood trees, and we’ve planted grass and built a beautiful picnic area to entertain our customers when touring the fields. In 2013, we built comfortable restroom facilities on the property, and we have a large organic vegetable and flower garden planted onsite. The vineyard is beautiful in full bloom, and FLV conducts guided tours of the farm for parties of 8 or more with reservations. During these informative tours, we serve lunch and conduct wine tasting at the field. Guests will get to see a working Arizona vineyard up close, meet the work crews and learn about viticulture in this exciting new area of wine activity.

 

St. Philip's Plaza

Flying Leap’s newest tasting room brings Arizona’s famed wine country closer to home. We have created a truly extraordinary wine tasting experience at St. Philips Plaza in Tucson, Arizona, which is located at the southeast corner of River & Campbell avenues. This beautiful wine venue is set in a romantic Mission-style plaza, surrounded by colorful flowers, flowing fountains and exquisite local restaurants, and it’s an ideal location for sampling our local, ultrapremium wines and viewing a dazzling array of local & regional fine art pieces in the new TRUST Art & Design gallery.

The St. Philips space has a relaxed, open & contemporary feel, with a handcrafted solid-mesquite tasting bar made from native, rough sawn hardwood mesquite lumber recovered from our deserts near Picture Rocks, Arizona west of Tucson. The pieces seemingly hover in mid-air, supported by a carefully-made support network of thin iron branches. We have ample & comfortable seating, and all of our wines are served either as part of a tasting flight or can be purchased for off premise consumption or enjoyed by-the-glass in our gallery. A tasting is only $12.95 plus tax and includes six pours of fine wine and a beautiful, quality long-stemmed 22-ounce wine glass that is yours to keep.

Flying Leap operates in partnership with southern Arizona’s premier wine brokerage, TRUST Art & Design, which features bold, modern, original works by talented artists from near and far. Each piece is carefully chosen by Thomas & Kim Johnson, collection curators and owners of TRUST. TRUST artwork is available for viewing and purchase during tasting room hours, but private viewings are also available by contacting TRUST Art & Design directly.


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