WILLCOX — The Willcox Commercial building now hosts a dual-hosted wine tasting room for Golden Rule and Copper Horse vineyards, the first dual tasting room in the state.

On Saturday, Willcox Commercial was bustling thanks to a grand-opening ribbon-cutting.

The building is owned by winemaker Mark Phillips, who told the Range News that the location in vicinity to other tasting rooms all played a part in the idea of housing two vineyards.

“The historic nature in the downtown area, I’ve always liked it a lot. And there’s a couple other tasting rooms within walking distance. And that is sort of my ideal situation for a tasting room, is when you can walk around a little bit and get some food, too. Willcox has the potential to be a great wine tasting destination, but what comes first?” said Phillips.

“I think I would like to have a place where you can kind of take a step back in time, when you’re in the building it feels like you’re back there in Willcox when it was a rail stop and look out the window and look at the railroad. I have a philosophy about critical mass when it comes to tasting rooms or other amenities like that. The more you have the more draw it is for people.”

Both vineyards have a wine-tasting booth on either side of the spacious room, which boasts a large historic mural depicting the town in the early years of its creation.

The tasting room has historic decor such as old typewriters, books and artwork. The building itself was constructed in 1879.

Willcox Mayor Mike Laws told those in attendance that he was very proud of the local wineries, the entrepreneurship of the owners and all the contests that Willcox wineries win.

Cochise County Public Information Officer Amanda Baillee said that the county has been working hand-in-hand with the wine industry on infrastructure improvements, and that the industry itself is making a big difference for Willcox.

“What is coming out of this area is amazing, the wine is award-winning, I think we have the best wine in Arizona, and we’re competing with California and we just need to keep buying more wine,” Baillee said.

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