Eric Desfachelles, Gene and Ceci Rogge

Arizona Range News File Photo: Eric Desfachelles, left, owner of the Copper Horse Vinyard, pours for visitors Gene and Ceci Rogge.

WILLCOX- Sitting in the sunshine on Railroad Avenue, owner Eric Desfachelles discussed the story of the Copper Horse Vineyard.

The Copper Horse Vineyard is planted on the slope of the Sulfur Canyon in Southeastern Arizona near Rodeo New Mexico. Desfachelles told the Range News that the vineyard was purchased in 2000, the vineyard was planted in 2013 and he has since moved the Desfachelles family permanently onto the vineyard land. Eventually, Desfachelles began a partnership with Mark Phillips and the Golden Rule crushing facility. The Copper Horse Vineyard consists of 5 acres and 6 varieties of grapevine. One of the things that make Desfachelles’ style of growing different from other vineyard owners is his specific type of chemical-free sustainability.

“I don’t use chemicals. I’m trying to be sustainable so I use the manure from my wife’s horse, from the goats, mixed with shredded paper and ashes. And that’s what I use in the vineyard. I’m trying to be biodynamic,” said Desfachelles. “I follow the cycle of the moon and planets. I know when it’s time to rest or to eat when to spray when to do anything. It makes a wine that’s more powerful. Has more energy in it. If you harvest when the moon is getting fuller than all the energy goes into the fruit. But you plant when the moon is getting on the last quarter, then all the energy goes in the root. So it’s better to plant at that point.”

Desfachelles told the Range News that the large vineyards in California are so massive that they have to rely on pesticide chemicals to operate. Desfachelles told the Range News that he prefers to not use any chemicals except for sulfur dioxide (SO2). This chemical, SO2 is inherent to grapes and helps preserve wine. However, more SO2 is added since it naturally dissipates very quickly in the process. 

“Here we are, we moved to Arizona, planted, made wine started selling. Now we have a tasting room. But it’s small. We are a small boutique winery, we do about 400 gallons. The minimum is 200,” said Desfachelles.

In 2018 Copper Horse was awarded three silver medals for their 2017 Sangiovese. The next year in 2019 the Copper Horse won a silver medal for their dry Riesling 2017, and that same year they won a gold medal their Grenache 2017. Desfachelles told the Range News that he loves to pair wine with food. Also, Desfachelles calls tasting his wines a tour of France, except for his Sangiovese, which is an Italian style of wine. Meeting technology with sustainability, the Copper Horse vinyard also has a prototype robot from France called WALL-YE, which mows the grass in the vineyard on its own using two cameras and a GPS to guide itself. In the next 6 months, Copper Horse will be releasing a Syrah.

The Copper Horse wine tasting room is located in the Willcox Commercial Building at 180 North Railroad Avenue.

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