Sonoita’s and Arizona’s First Winery

Dr. Gordon Dutt & The History of Sonoita Vineyards

Babocomari First Planting

Babocomari First Planting

Dr. Gordon Dutt, founder and original winemaker at Sonoita Vineyards and now retired soil scientist ameritis from the University of Arizona (passed away in 2021 at 91 years old), along with Blake Brophy established the first experimental vineyard on the Ignacio de Babocomari Ranch in Southern Arizona back in 1973.

The results of their tests were very compelling. Dr. Dutt, expected the grapes for red wine to bleach in the intense Arizona sun and produce wines with poor color and low acidity. However, much to his delight, the results were quite the opposite, resulting in red wines with brilliant color and acidity. Dr. Dutt attributes much of that success to the soil found in the area.

“This part of Arizona is a lot different than most folks imagine–we’re at an altitude of 5,000 ft., set in rolling grasslands dotted with white oak, and the soil is nearly identical to that of Burgundy, France. You will find the results of our efforts, and what great terra Rosa (red clay) soil can produce in our estate bottled wines.” Dr. Gordon R Dutt

The First Furrow at Sonoita Vineyards

The First Furrow at Sonoita Vineyards

Following his experimental success, Dr. Dutt planted Arizona’s first commercial vineyard in 1979 and opened the winery in 1983.  Starting with an annual production of 300 gallons, Sonoita Vineyards is now producing over 7,000 gallons per year.

Overlooking 25 acres of vines, the winery is located at the top of a scenic hill three miles south of Elgin, Arizona. The varieties grown on the estate today are Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Mission, Sangiovese, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Tannat.

Forty-six years after planting their first vineyard, Sonoita Vineyards continues a fine tradition of producing highly rated wines. Highlighting the flavors unique to the Sonoita Appellation,  Sonoita Vineyards has gained critical acclaim for excellent wines and great values. As of 2013 you will find Lori Dutt-Reynolds as the head winemaker at Sonoita Vineyards, Dr. Dutt’s granddaughter. Lori earned her BS at the University of Arizona and Winemaking Certificate from University of California Davis. Robi Reynolds, Lori’s husband, is the Vineyard Manager and their 4 beautiful children can be found running in the vineyard and helping out in the winery. Come and experience and explore this 3rd generation Arizona tradition today.

Lori Reynolds, Winemaker

Lori Dutt-Reynolds, Winemaker