Ok, so before I go on…..this was something of a last minute trip. I have a couple of family members with consistent, recurrent, severe asthma and if you’ve been watching the news….we’ve had the worst air quality in the world locally.
Plus, my little section of the east bay simply isn’t equipped to deal with it. Few restaurants have ac. Even fewer houses. Heck, my oldest son’s elementary school doesn’t even have an air filtering system.
So, we got to get on a plane with 2 hours notice. To anywhere. Given that we’re already planning to be back in February for spring training and that my wife generally speaking, isn’t a huge fan of the desert, it’s fair to say we were desperate.
So, Phoenix was cheap with miles and the air quality is awesome (at least right now). Weather’s the same. Awesome. Although, I’m officially THAT tourist. I’m rolling around in shorts and a short sleeve shirt, haven’t showered in 4 days, haven’t shaved in a week and the locals are in puffy jackets.
A couple of things struck me about this trip though. Normally when I travel now, even for pleasure, I end up spending some time talking to local winemakers or local wine shops. I find it all interesting still after all.
Here’s some of my impressions about the wine scene in the arts district of Phoenix:
- There’s not many wine shops. I’ll have a write up and a short interview with the only one I found downtown in a few days.
- There’s not many spots to buy wine to take home. But, a TON of on premise sales. In many ways, downtown Phoenix feels like downtown San Diego. It’s an ongoing party. I’m officially both too old and the only one with kids.
- I literally cannot find a bottle of Arizona wine to buy. This is a HUGE disappointment given that the quality has been good when I’ve had a bottle. I mean, even if they’re only sourcing larger brands then ever a New Mexico bottling of Gruet should be around right? I’ve long thought that Arizona wine might be a logical 4th member of our wine clubs, but this wasn’t a good selling point for that. As an example, in either Seattle or Portland their local wines are EVERYWHERE.
A few more general observations from traveling on the west coast of late, non wine category:
- Homelessness is an issue everywhere. We’ve long begrudged the city of San Francisco for not dealing with its issue locally, but the problems in Phoenix feel more widespread and invasive, at least downtown. We didn’t make it out to the more affluent suburbs like Scottsdale (yeah, yeah I know it’s its own city, but you get my point), but the Bay Area has those too, I get that this isn’t everywhere in the state.
- Phoenix is so much less crowded than the San Diego of my childhood, or the Bay Area of my current that it’s shocking.
Ok, I’ll have some more content on Arizona wine coming shortly, There’s a lot to talk about. But really, they’ll need to start at least placing in their biggest local market before beginning to talk about major placements in spots like San Francisco or Los Angeles.
At least the weather’s been good: