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Willcox sparkles at Arizona Wine Festival

PHOENIX — Willcox Wine Country shined in Phoenix last weekend at the annual Arizona Wine Festival.

This year 18 wineries were present at the annual festival in Heritage Square in Phoenix on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was especially well attended with shoulder-to-shoulder lines for tastings.

Willcox wines were featured, and the City of Willcox participated in the event with a booth displaying reading material on the city as well as area locations for individuals who may be interested in visiting.

“We sold at least twice as much wine as we did (last year) so everybody was very happy about that. Mostly, Willcox was very well represented and featured, so we got to people about coming down for day trips and all the different things they could do there other than wine,” said Willcox wine maker Mark Phillips, who attended the event to pour for Golden Rule Vineyards.

“People loved the wines. I had a lot of people who were from outside the state who were there visiting from the midwest, and their reaction was they didn’t know that Arizona grew grapes, and that the wines were really great. They were really pleasantly surprised with how everything was tasting. We were happy about that. The crowd was good, they weren’t all the same people we always see. I think we were hitting some new markets and that’s what made me happy. Because many people hadn’t heard of Willcox, and definitely never heard of us, Golden Rule. Getting that kind of exposure was great.”

The 2019 festival had the attendance of 2,100. This year many of the wineries had to return to their storage to retrieve wines in order to not run out on Sunday. Arizona Wine Festival 2020 was visited by 3,700 tasters.

“The Arizona Wine Festival had a substantial turnout. People seemed to really enjoy themselves, which generated their interest in where these wineries are located,” said Community Outreach Specialist Jennifer Colby, who manned the City of Willcox booth with Jordan Parrish, who is the city’s business engagement specialist.

“As a city employee, it was exciting to meet people from across the Southwest who wanted to learn more about Willcox. I am hoping to see some of these visitors at the spring festival,” Colby said.

Great Backyard Bird Count in Chiricahuas this month

WILLCOX — Chiricahua National Monument will host a free guided bird walk Saturday, Feb. 15, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., for the Great Backyard Bird Count.

A National Park Service Ranger will lead an easy, two-mile, two-hour birdwatching hike starting from the Faraway Ranch parking area, near the monument entrance. Rangers will record all bird sightings and upload the data to the Great Backyard Bird Count. This hike is for birders of all skill levels. Birders are encouraged to bring binoculars but no dogs.

Since 1998, The Backyard Bird Count has been an opportunity for citizen scientists around the world to contribute to the understanding of wild bird whereabouts and numbers. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join a four-day count every February to create a snapshot of bird distribution and abundance. The results of these bird counts are available at https://gbbc.birdcount.org/

Chiricahua National Monument is known for the diversity and abundance of bird species found within and surrounding the park. Watch for scheduled bird walks in the park throughout the year on Facebook or at the Chiricahua Website nps.gov/chir

For more information about the Great Backyard Bird Count, contact Helen Fitting at Chiricahua National Monument at 520-824-3560, ext. 9203.