Arizona winery gets Aussie import deal

16 May, 2014 by

By James Atkinson

Burgeoning premium wine importer Decante This has continued its emphasis on unique international wines with the addition of the first North American winery to its portfolio, Arizona’s Pillsbury Wine Company.


Founded by New Zealand film director and producer Sam Pillsbury, Pillsbury Wine Company planted its first vineyard in 2000 in south east Arizona, about 40 miles from the Mexican border.

Pillsbury told TheShout that at 4300 feet above sea level the soil and temperatures are similar to the Rhone Valley.

“The high altitude moderates the Arizona desert temperatures, gives us super cool nights, and adds extra UV which has significant effect on colour, flavour and healthful polyphenols,” he said. [continues below]

Pillsbury’s range includes the WildChild White, a blend of Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Symphony, Chardonnay and Viognier. The company also produces small quantities of varietal whites from most of these grapes, as well as Pinot Gris.

There is a dry Provencal-style Rose made predominately from Zinfandel, the Beaujolais-style WildChild Red blend of Sangiovese Merlot, the Roan Red blend of Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz and the Diva blend of Shiraz, Mataro and Petite Sirah (Durif), with the latter grape also available as a varietal wine. 

“I make food wines. I don’t go for just power, I try to go for nuance and complexity,” Pillsbury said.

“All of our wines are hand harvested, everything ages in neutral oak barrels, and almost everything is bone dry.” [continues below]

Arizona wine has attracted increased media attention over the last few years thanks to Maynard Keenan, the frontman of progressive rock band Tool, and his Caduceus Cellars label.

Pillsbury sold one of his vineyards to Keenan in 2006 and the two remain friends. 

“He’s a brilliant guy, I get on well with him. He buys my grapes,” Pillsbury said.

As with the other wines in its portfolio, Decante This will distribute the Pillsbury wines to on-premise customers and wine-focused independent retailers.