After discovering this morning that breakfast does not come with the bed at Kohl’s Ranch Lodge at Christopher Creek in the Rim Country, we check the information about our next accommodation, the Canyon Villa B&B in Sedona. We find that a fine breakfast is definitely included and what is more, a selection of appetisers is laid out every evening for guests to enjoy with drinks. However, as the owners do not hold a liquor licence, they invite guests to bring their own.
It is a little disappointing that all the featured winemakers are from California, particularly as winemaking in Arizona is a fast growing emerging industry with a woman president, Peggy Fiandaca, of its winemakers association. However, on the basis that we would have other opportunities to imbibe Arizona wine, we choose our bottles and head for the checkout.
The nice young woman on the till identifies our British origins within two item swipes and proceeds to tell us all about her English mother-in-law who hails from Lincolnshire and her plans to go visit. When it comes to paying, she is concerned that we do not have a loyalty card and will not benefit fully from our purchasing. Having already learned that we have an American daughter-in-law, she asks for her Zip code to see if she can track down a card number. Despite our assurances that we really are not concerned about Safeway points, she then offers to telephone said daughter-in-law to see if she has a card. On learning that she is currently living in Pakistan, our helpful checkout lady concedes defeat and we emerge at last, clutching our brown paper sacks.
|Keep your eyes on the road!|
|View from the terrace at Canyon Villa Inn|
With a plateful of southwestern canapes, we sample our first wine, a Chardonnay by Meridian Estates winemaker Lee Miyamura. She was bitten by the wine bug on a holiday job in the Napa Valley whilst studying for a degree in microbiology and chemistry. We meet fellow guests and watch a rainbow arching over the far peaks and the setting sun illuminating the nearby butte before setting off to a local restaurant for dinner.
|Artist at work|
|Builders at work|
The two days pass enjoyably, with a combination of painting, writing, trail walking, reading some of the books in the well-stocked library in front of the log fire and chatting to fellow guests. We open a second Women in Wine bottle, a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Beringer Vineyards. Wine maker is Laurie Hook, whose interest was sparked when she discovered that her family had owned a chateau in France before the revolution. She believes in the importance of science but feels that too much can make a clean but not very interesting wine. “Of course you need to understand the process by which wines are made, but now we've learned to trust our intuition as well."
|Daisy Nockideneh's Tree of Life (courtesy of Garlands).|
All photographs by Sandi Rhys Jones