LDV Winery Celebrates 15 Years

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LDV WINERY CELEBRATES 15 YEARS OF WINEMAKING IN ARIZONA

ON BIG BLEND RADIO: On this episode of Big Blend Radio’s “Wine Time with Peggy” podcast, Peggy reminisces about their start in the winemaking business and shares some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way, as well as their goals for the future. She also chats about her Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Acast.

From transforming cities to nurturing grapes, serendipity describes the LDV Winery evolution. As professional community and strategic planners, LDV owners Peggy Fiandaca and Curt Dunham made a career assisting clients in creating successful plans. A strong game plan is vital in any industry, but more importantly, success results from responding to possibilities. That life journey of possibilities is what led Fiandaca and Dunham to develop a vineyard in southeastern Arizona that is now producing distinctive, hand-crafted wines.

Fiandaca and Dunham, long-time wine collectors, have found the magic of the “grape to glass” journey intriguing. From wine collecting and thinking about retiring, to finding the perfect land in Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, their vineyard/winemaking adventure began in the most serendipitous way.

Wine is a character actor in every Italian family. The Fiandaca family emigrated from Sicily to a Chicago Italian neighborhood. Peggy’s mom’s father, William Hogan, was a well-known bootlegger in Kentucky during Prohibition. With this kind of heritage, her urban planning career was a sidestep on the road to growing grapes and producing wines.

Every day brings a new experience in the vineyard or winery where her creativity, knowledge, and patience are challenged. Watching someone taste wine and identify the flavor characteristics for the first time or examine a vine closely with a new appreciation for its role in producing that wine, provides her with great satisfaction. That connection to the land, our environment, and to each other is what this winemaking journey is all about.

LESSONS LEARNED

  • What we did, starting with nothing is the harder way. Much less capital investment and ongoing costs to buy fruit to make wine instead of developing an estate winery and growing grapes. However, it would not be as satisfying for us because of the lack of control over the quality of grapes and ultimately the product – wine. Fine wine starts in the vineyard is our belief.

  • Difficult to make a living with farming only. In Arizona, you cannot make a living just growing grapes. Prices are not high enough to cover the true costs.
  • The right location is critical. The importance of choosing the right location is paramount. Because of the perfect location, LDV has consistently produced high-quality fruit with a high yield per acre and has been able to dodge weather events other vineyards haven’t.

    Know your location. The advice we received when starting out was to figure out your specific spot and what it needs. That has served LDV well. We have learned about water, drainage, and what the plants look like when they need something. We do yearly soil testing and twice-yearly petiole testing that tells us exactly what is going on in the plant.
  • Choose a signature grape. Petite Sirah has become a consistent performer providing quality grapes year after year.

    The business of wine is difficult. It has been difficult to maintain a high-performing estate winery business with all segments operating at peak performance consistently at the same time (farming, production/manufacturing, marketing, retail, distribution, wholesale).
  • Can huge fluctuations. Business marketing and distribution are greatly impacted by fluctuations in production based on the business’ farming components that work together.
  • Arizona support is important. We thought we would have more support for our product from Arizonans. We constantly must communicate about the quality of Arizona wines. Arizonans still do not know grapes are grown and quality wine is produced in the state. Though improvements have been made, some restaurants and hotels are hesitant to support local Arizona wines.
  • Establish a strong destination. It has been more difficult than expected to establish a destination in Old Town Scottsdale for wineries. Woodinville, Washington has a concentration of over 200 winery tasting rooms and has become a destination and serves a much smaller marketplace.
  • Changes to the adult beverage market. When we started it was beer, hard liquor, cheap wine, and some fine wine. Now there are hundreds of craft options and new beverages like hard cider becoming popular. Liquor advertising has increased dramatically making it difficult for smaller producers to compete.

THINGS WE WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY?

Open Tasting Room Earlier. We anticipated that there would be more wineries with tasting rooms near the vineyard in the Chiricahua Mountain foothills but that has not happened. LDV opened its Scottsdale Tasting Room in the Fall of 2018.

 

HOW HAS THE WINE ADVENTURE CHANGED US?

Learned Patience – Everything takes such a long time. Patience is critical. LDV will not release a bottle of wine before we feel it is ready.

Exhausted – Since we are involved in every aspect of the winery business continuum it is very exhausting.

WHAT DOES LDV ANTICIPATE FOR THE FUTURE?
We feel good about our product mix, production level, and quality. LDV has a diversified portfolio of wines that complement different styles of food and a range of palates. 

LDV will continue to reach a broader market and expand its retail/wholesale reach.

Arizona consumers will finally realize that the state produces fine wines, and the local market will open tremendously.

Learn more at https://ldvwinery.com/

 

LDV Winery in Arizona

 

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