Arizona’s wine industry is booming. Starting from almost nothing in the 1970s, there are now over 50 wineries across the state and more starting every year. Despite the youth of the current industry, there is a long history of wine-making in Arizona dating back some 200 years. Using numerous illustrations, this presentation traces the fascinating – and often amusing – story of Arizona wine from the Spanish Colonial period to the present. Topics include pioneering efforts using wild grapes, Mesa’s forgotten 19th century wine industry, the illegal raisin wineries of the Great Depression, and the unlikely band of aspiring winemakers that led the modern rebirth of Arizona wine in the 1980s.
Erik Berg is an award-winning historian and writer with a special interest in the early twentieth century southwest. Raised in Flagstaff, and a graduate of the University of Arizona, Berg has been exploring, hiking, and researching the southwest for over thirty years. In addition to contributing to several books and numerous conferences, his work has appeared in the Journal of Arizona History, Arizona Highways, Astronomy, the Journal of the Society of Commercial Archaeology, and Sedona Magazine. A past-president of the Grand Canyon Historical Society, Berg currently lives in Phoenix.