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Starting ‘er up: Zarpara Vineyard

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Zarpara Vineyards Mark Jorve says that to be in the wine business you need to run a vineyard, a tasting room and a winery.  Hey, sounds reasonable, but when he adds, “If you are running any two of these yourself, you’re ‘certifiable’!”  Now it really comes into focus.  Of course, he and his partner Rhona MacMillan, want to run all three, so that puts them “way off the scale”.Zarpara Vineyards

And with Zarpara Vineyards new operation taking root along the Willcox, Arizona wine trail, Mark and Rhona expect a lot more fun to come.  They are always contemplating new brands and right now have 10 wines to pick from.  That’s good news for those of us wanting a taste of these AZ newbies.  In fact, their Top 10 Rating from AZ Central last August, shows how their work is paying off!

Like many of the startup wineries here in Arizona, Zarpara is currently sourcing much of their fruit from California.  Mark and Rhona currently favor Paso Robles and Lodi as their locales of choice.  This enables them to “prove the process”, and put their best foot forward with quality wines under their label from day one.

One of their most interesting varietals is Verdelho and it nabbed a silver medal at the Arizona state fair after its first release.  Verdelho’s fruit is sourced from Lodi’s Bokisch Ranch area and is often used in the production of Madiera wine.  But in this case, Zarpara is using this varietal to produce a dry white table wine, a twist for sure (a Portuguese favorite & later the Aussies).

Rob Hammelman, Zarpara’s wine maker, is well-known as an expert with our Arizona Terroir.  Zarpara is currently using his facility and creative skills to produce their vinos and plan on continuing to phase in their own winemaking equipment with a gradual shift to more of their own production in the future.  Rob will no doubt remain a big part of whatever comes up next.

Wanna’ taste?  Zarpara is available at the Wedge & Bottle Cheese shop in Ahwatukee (4025 E. Chandler Blvd., Suite 44, Phoenix).  This is a great opportunity to pick some up and enjoy a nice variety (white, rosé, and red) of their Spanish – French inspired creations.

Not to worry, if you don’t want to trek to Ahwatukee, they take orders and will ship to Arizona addresses.  And of course, Wedge & Bottle will be keeping Zarpara on their shelf if you can visit later.

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About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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