In a nutshell:
- Totally worth the drive down to Sonoita, Arizona
- Women-owned, women-operated Winery
- Beautiful location, wonderful wine and entertainment options
- Our favorites: Yia Mas & Drag Queen
“This is not what I expected the winery to be like…” our friend visiting from San Diego admitted over a glass.
We understood where he was coming from. The pretentiousness of other wineries that might discourage the first-timer is absent from this charming place. Our visiting friend was not alone in the sentiment. He’s one of several people Sam and I have introduced to Hops & Vines. And although our friends’ experience with wine (or visiting wineries) ranges all over, they’ve all echoed an appreciation for the laid back atmosphere and delicious wine options.
I guess it is no wonder that Sam and I have frequented this winery multiple times…
I celebrated my birthday during the famous Grape Crushing event! Sam’s daughter has literally fallen into the duck pond! My husband and I have seesawed in their playground area. Sam and I had our first double date at the winery. Sam and I have visited Hops & Vines over the summer when the grape vines were at their greenest and we have visited in the winter where we made good use of the many chimineas available on the lot. (This alone should say a lot by the way, Sam and I are true desert creatures who would not brave the cold unless it was worth it).
My point put more succinctly: Sam and I have never had a bad time at Hops & Vines… and we’ve had many experiences there.
But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about where to find this gem of a winery.
Hops & Vines is located in Sonoita, Arizona’s “wine country”. The drive to the location is scenic, taking you through hills of pale yellow and green with a gorgeous mountain-scape. It’s simple enough to get to the winery, I’m fond of saying, it just takes a little while to get there. The Hops & Vines location itself boasts a vast outdoor area with various rustic picnic tables, pergolas, and seating areas. There is a small playground for children (though that didn’t stop us from having fun) and an enclosure for the goats and a pig that teeters from side to side as it walks. There are various chimineas scattered throughout the outdoor area and a nearby pile of firewood for people to help themselves to. A tiny duck pond near the base of some trees is surrounded by even more outdoor seating so you can sip your wine and giggle at the quacking waddlers. Finally, a peacock named Frank wanders around the winery at his leisure like he owns the place. (Learn more about Frank the peacock in our interview with Shannon, a co-owner of the winery).
The tasting room itself is reminiscent of a cabin, with paintings and “isms” drawn on the walls themselves and quaintly trimmed windows that look out on the Sonoita countryside. Sam and I have sampled various wines -with the ever-cheerful help from the ladies behind the counter- and have settled on a couple favorite bottles: the Yia Mas, the Vicki, the Sebastian, and the Drag Queen.
In an admittedly ironic twist for travel-advice, Sam and I would highly encourage you not to take our specific wine recommendations and “do the tasting” for yourselves. The owners of the winery rose to the challenges of providing wine tastings during the worst of COVID by providing visitors with repurposed cupcake tins that each hold six of their best wines thoughtfully paired with snacks to complement the wine.
There is a wine for everyone at Hops & Vines and perhaps just as impressively, there is a good time for everyone too.
- The drive to Sonoita is beautiful in and of itself. You get to cut across mountains and over hills and eventually you end up at the wide open expanse that is Sonoita. It’s a fun road trip for sure!
- AZ Hops and Vines offers teacher, military, and law enforcement discounts (maybe even more discounts I don’t know about). The owners are extremely kind people. For instance, they hold a supply drive for teachers in August right before the school year begins.
- I always like the music they are playing at the winery… and they often have live bands on the weekends. They have a great social media presence where they post about upcoming bands and events.