Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Grand Opening! Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop located at 409B W. Fry BLVD, Sierra Vista, AZ

 Grand Opening!  Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop - 409B W. Fry Blvd, Sierra Vista, AZ

Hoppin' Grapes is finally here!  Our Grand Opening weekend starts off with a ribbon cutting on the 5th of December at 11:00AM.  We will have cheese plates, cake and lots more immediately following the ribbon cutting.  Hoppin' Grapes is located at 409B W. Fry BLVD right next to Cool Dreams Window Tints.

We have received plenty of great phone calls and support from local wineries.  Passion Cellars sent a rep to drop off a bottle of wine to congratulate us on our soft-opening weekend.  Sonoita Vineyards called to inform us their wine maker was coming and we are excited.  Zarpara Vineyards will join us on the 18th of December for a special wine tasting event for just $15.  We even received a call from the Sierra Vista Herald announcing they will be there to cover our event.  Awesome.

This week we increased our advertising campaign to get the word out.  We launched a radio ad on Cherry Creek Radio stations 100.9 and 92.3 creating a bit more buzz than we had with facebook and word-of-mouth alone.  We are super thankful for everyone who visited us over the past weekend and helped us as we refined our processes.  All of the great people who liked our facebook page putting us up to almost 600 likes in such a short time gives us hope that we will make it here.

Come join us at Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop located at 409B W. Fry BLVD, Sierra Vista, AZ all weekend long as we celebrate finally opening.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Local Radio Ad - Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Bar

     Over the last few weeks we have done a lot of different types of advertising.  We ran a couple of ads in the Sierra Vista Herald newspaper announcing our Grand Opening on December 5th.  Before that, we started word of mouth advertising with friends and family.  We even ran a few ads on facebook.

     Most of our focus was on the social media outreach.  Here in Sierra Vista, it is a small community.  We found that lots of people were on a few different facebook pages.  As our business grew, people started to post more about it.  One of our posts was seen by over 3000 people and shared over 30 times.

     Now we have decided to move forward with a radio ad with Cherry Creek Radio.  The ad will play on two local radio stations; 100.9 FM and 92.3 FM.  This bridges the gap for Kristine and I.  I like 100.9 and she likes 92.3!

      The radio ad is attached.  Take a listen and let us know what you think!  Comment on our facebook page.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Soft Opening! Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop

Although our Grand Opening is the 5th of December, we are going to do a soft-opening over this Thanksgiving Weekend.  Join us Friday the 29th of November, Saturday the 30th of November and Sunday the 1st of December.

Be the first people to to see our nearly finished wine and beer tasting shop right here in Sierra Vista.  Come out and support local business on Small Business Saturday!

So, have a great time with family on Thanksgiving!  After that, get those great Black Friday offers early in the morning out in Sierra Vista, AZ.  After that, head over to the newest place in town and sample some great wines!

We wont have everything going yet, but we will have wine!  What else do you need to get away from the hustle and the bustle for a while?  That is about all you need.  A nice wine or five.

Join us as we offer a special tasting of five wines for $10 and you will keep the souvenir glass!  Will you join us at Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop in Sierra Vista, Arizona?  Visit our facebook page and let us know!  Tell your friends.  Invite the family and come make memories at Sierra Vista's newest gem!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Willcox Arizona Wine Tips, Tours and Review

Willcox Arizona Wine Tips, Tours and Review           

Willcox wine country lies about 75-80 minutes to the northeast of Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Willcox currently boasts six different tasting rooms. Two more tasting rooms are on the way soon, however, at this point there isn’t an opening date for them.  Before going wine tasting (or at one of the tasting rooms!), we would encourage people to purchase the Wine Traveler’s Card.  The Card costs $20, however, many wineries have some really nice deals for their wines or tastings.  We will list the deals that we really like, however, most of the wineries do offer some sort of discount.  

We do recommend bringing some water from home with you on the wine trail.  Willcox doesn’t have a whole lot of places to stop and get water and you will definitely need it after tasting the wines.  Also, Willcox will likely be a day trip, because to our knowledge, there really isn’t anywhere nice to stay overnight.  You will want to plan accordingly to have a designated driver! Always be safe! We want you to be able to continue enjoying Arizona wines for a very long time.

In our opinion, the best place to start the Willcox wine tour would be with Coronado Vineyards.   This winery is located approximately four miles north of the main block of tasting rooms.  We like to do this one first because it offers the ability to purchase small tapas plates which puts some food in your stomach, before you hit all of the other tasting rooms!  This tasting room remains one of the most beautiful tasting rooms that we have come across in Arizona.  They offer a discount with the Wine Card of 50% off a tasting.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Coming in NOV 2013 - Hoppin' Grapes Beer and Wine Tasting Bar in Sierra Vista, Arizona

Artist rendering of our store location at 409B W. Fry BLVD
UPDATED 5NOV13 - Ok, so we are a bit behind on the build out.  We are finally back on track and think we will open late NOVEMBER!  Just in time for the holiday shopping season!  Looking forward to wrapping some gifts with all of you!

We are quickly progressing towards our goal of opening Hoppin" Grapes in Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Once completed our beer and wine tasting bar will have all of the comforts of home including couches, WiFi internet, TVs and food!  We need a little help to make all of this come true.  Interested in helping?  Click Here! to find out how you can have a part in our opening soon!

We learned that this is a time intensive, slow, deliberate process which requires hours of work and dozens of forms.  All we could do was tackle the requirements of one government entity at a time.  Here is a breakdown of our progress so far -

November - Completing.  Now that we have everything we need to open, we are putting on the finishing touches.  Our contractor expects completion within the next few weeks.  We needed to have a mop room build, storage room, extra A/C and heating unit installed, plumbing run and bar area built.  Based on specific building code and inspections along the way, this is a busy process.  Once it is finally finished, we will be able to start putting everything in its place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Final funding push - Hoppin' Grapes Beer and Wine on

We are launching our final push for funding our beer and wine bar project through  This final push will give us the funds we need to open Sierra Vista's only beer and wine tasting bar called Hoppin' Grapes.  Our project is almost complete.

Will you help us out?  Help us bring Arizona wines and beers as well as a wide selection of new world wines and craft beers to Sierra Vista Arizona.  Help support local commerce and keep money in our community through supporing our project.  We plan to "buy local" whenever possible.  Locally roasted coffees in our pot, locally produced produce items in our retail section, locally produced wines on our menu!

Take a look at our project and tell us what you think. For more information Click Here! or follow the link below to view our project

Check out our video we put together to show you what we have done so far.

Thanks!  Hoppin' Grapes Beer and Wine Tasting Bar Sierra Vista Arizona.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Hoppin' Grapes Beer and Wine Tasting Bar Sierra Vista - Food, Snacks and Desserts!

Hoppin' Grapes Beer and Wine Tasting Bar Sierra Vista- Food, Snacks and Desserts!

After weeks of planning, prep and trial and error, we are ready to launch pictures of some of our snacks, food, and desserts.

Pictured to the right are fudge brownie bars with a chocolate and caramel drizzle to bring this sweet sensation to life.

Below is a simple yet delicious bruschetta which we hope to offer using locally procured produce and crostini breads.
Larger brownie with chocolate
and caramel drizzle

At left are our unique small and large cheese plates and our caprese.  Delicious cheeses paired with pallet pleasing flavors.  At bottom is our large cheese plate.

What other foods, snacks and delicious items would you like us to consider carrying at Hoppin' Grapes Beer and Wine Tasting Bar Sierra Vista?

Please comment below or visit our facebook page to let us know!

Hoppin' Grapes Beer and Wine Tasting Bar Sierra Vista

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Willcox Wine Country Festival in Willcox, Arizona

We are always excited to head off to explore some great Southwest Arizona wines during the Willcox Wine Country Festival.  Every year, Willcox hosts this awesome event during the months of May and October.  Last year we started with the new Flying Leap Vineyards tasting room located at 105 N. Railroad Avenue in Willcox, Arizona. 

Months prior, we first visited Flying Leap Vineyards at 342 Elgin Road in Elgin, AZ and enjoyed not only the wines but the story behind the vineyard.  You will have to visit yourself and talk with the owners about their unique story and business venture!

Other than the new Flying Leap Tasting Room in Willcox, AZ we always hope to revisit with Coronado Vineyards, Willcox, AZ.  Every year their wines impress us, as we discussed in our previous review, but we were really excited to finally sample some of the raved about fare from their onsite Tapas & Wine Lounge
Kristine worked hard to provide you with a mini-guide to tasting wines in the Willcox area and visiting the different vineyards and tasting rooms.  To take a look at the post and save yourself valuable time and hassle navigating Willcox, Click Here!

As we look to expand the selection of wines we plan to offer at our own Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop in Sierra Vista, AZ, this festival allows us to sample some of the wines and consider inclusion.  Do you have a favorite we should try while we visit Willcox?  Let us know!

Interested in joining us as we explore the greater Willcox area?  Comment below or email us at and maybe we can meet in Willcox for a tasting!  - Hoppin' Grapes.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Which Is Better? Corks vs. Screw Tops

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol /
Wine corks are harvested from the cork tree which is found in Spain and Portugal.  The naturally occurring material almost fell away, because of the neglectful ways the cork forests were treated.  Today, however, due to reforestation plans put in place by the Portuguese government, more than enough corks can be produced to fill the many, many bottles of wine created each year.  However, another item is threatening the natural cork.  That item is called the screw top.

Image courtesy of  Simon Howden /
Screw tops have a reputation for concealing terrible, horrible, no-good wine.  I will say that Eric and I still profess to being a little embarrassed when we bring a screw top wine as a hostess gift.  We usually predicate the wine giving with, "You know we are fancy because that there wine doesn't need no fancy corkscrew to open it."  That said, a lot of higher echelon wines are beginning to embrace the screw top. 

Traditionalists claim that the "pop" of uncorking a bottle with a natural cork means something special to the wine drinking experience.  Further, cork has special properties which allows the cork to be compressed into the bottle and easily removed.  The downside of using natural cork is TCA.  The scientific term for TCA is 2,4,6-tricholoranisole.  A very long term which means the process of using natural cork has created an unpleasant and musty aroma for wine.  Some estimates place the problems with using natural cork as high as ruining as many as 1 in 20 bottles of wine. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology - Plus or Minus?

Image courtesy of njaj/
According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine, there are specific ways to taste wine. They involve complex concepts and terminology which may be unfamiliar and confusing to the ears and pallets of the wine novice.  So you can read their long article with a mouse Click Here. Or, you can keep reading below and see Eric's Wine Ratings and Reviews Methodology and understand what you are tasting for in a few easy steps.

Before my wife and I became self-proclaimed wine snobs, we spent many nights at wine tastings, bought several bottles, and read about wine a lot.  During that time, we simply enjoyed wines mostly. We either liked it, or we did not.  There was no rhyme or reason, just taste.

Although our wine tasting style was reckless in some eyes, we did slowly begin to understand that we preferred red wines over whites most of the times.  We even began to understand what varietals (grape types) we liked more.  Soon, we started to notice we liked red wines from certain growing areas.  For example, we know we now prefer Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State.  We also love Carmenere Wines of Chile.  How did we figure this out?  Keep reading.

Often times, after a wine tasting, or a week after drinking what we bought at the tasting, we would forget if we liked a wine or not.  We simply did not keep track of what wines we liked.  We also did not take the time to really think about what exactly we liked about a wine or not.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Kief-Joshua Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival, Elgin, Arizona - Sonoita, Arizona Area

We ventured out to Kief-Joshua in Elgin, AZ on the 20th of April 2013 for the Second Annual Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival.  Our goal was to sample many Arizona wines without having to shell out a whole bunch of cash.  Mission accomplished.  

Since we pre-purchased tickets to the festival, all we need to do was pick up glasses and get ready to taste some of the best wines Arizona has to offer.  
Kristine taking notes to make sure
we select only the best wines!

Once we stepped outside of Kief-Joshua onto the patio, we quickly noticed the pleasing sounds of Jeordie adding to the overall awesome ambiance of the this great wine festival.  

Rarely do we get the chance to sample so many great Arizona wines in one location, so our goal was to explore more of the out of area brands.  We had sampled so many of the Sonoita and Elgin Arizona wines, so we wanted to see what the other sides of Arizona had to offer for wines.  However, as we all know, it is hard to turn down good wine, so we ended up sampling more than we intended too.

Starting with Su Vino Winery out of Scottsdale, Arizona, our favorite red was by far Ruby which Kristine noted was sweet and very berry.  Our favorite white offered by Su Vino Winery was Summer Rain which was a very good summer wine; light.  

Kristine was quickly distracted from the wine tasting by the fantastic offerings of Untamed Confections who offered all kinds of organic and natural chocolates in the fantastic varieties.  It was hard to pry ourselves away from their display and refocus on our goal for the day, tasting out of area wines from Arizona.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Flying Leap Vineyards, Elgin, Arizona

Upon visiting the Elgin area of Arizona, three wineries are side by side by side.  This triplet consists of Kief-Joshua Vineyard, Flying Leap Vineyards, and Callaghan Vineyards.  We visited all three in the same trip, however, this particular post is about Flying Leap.  Please see our other posts for information about the other two wineries.

Flying Leap Vineyards was founded very recently in 2010.  The first grapes were planted in 2011.  Here, in 2013, we were tasting their wines.  The only word I could find to describe the tasting room and outside scenery would be "rustic."  The outside contained empty bottles turned upside down and buried in the ground.  Eric found the bottles cool and charming, I didn't really understand them.  It didn't really seem like decoration to me. (As a side note, we did a mini-poll in the tasting room and the men loved the bottle decor, the women all agreed that it was strange.)  The room itself consisted of a small tasting bar to one side of a room filled with barrels.  There wasn't any seating or any knick-knacks for purchase.  The purpose of this tasting room was only to taste wine.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sonoita Vineyards, Sonoita

On our quest to research local wines, my husband and I set out on a personal wine tour of Sonoita.  We find a map of all of the wineries in the Sonoita region and randomly picked one.  We chose to take Highway 83 from the south to get to the wineries.  The drive itself was absolutely beautiful, however, the road left a little to be desired.  If we had realized the poor shape that the road was in, we would have chosen to drive the SUV.

Originally, our plan was to visit Lightning Ridge Cellars first.  However, we were sidetracked by a sign pointing us to turn right instead of left.  We followed the sign and found Sonoita Vineyards.  (As a side note, we heard really nice things about Lightning Ridge Cellars and will visit them on another trip.)

The tasting room is set back quite a ways from the road.  The road itself was a curvy dirt road (again, wrong choice of vehicle!).   When we made it to the tasting room, there were four dogs lazing around the grounds.  The tasting room itself is a medium-sized with a few retail related items and a tasting counter along one side.  The back of the tasting room is open, allowing us to see some of the tanks for the wine.

We tried seven different wines.  We purchased the glasses from the winery, so the wine tasting cost $8.  The winery gives a discount, if you bring a glass from another Southern Arizona winery.  The wines were absolutely wonderful.  Two tasting paths exist at the winery, however, they both start with a sample of the Cochise County Colombard and the Sonora Rossa.  The first wine consisted of a nice white wine with a great finish.  The latter wine was an interesting Rose wine.  The Rose was a mix of 50% of the Colombard and then a 50% mix of Syrah and Malbec.  The result was a Rose which wasn't too sweet or cloying.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And So It Begins.... Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Bar, Sierra Vista

While we love talking about wine and visiting wineries, our major purpose behind this blog is to create a window into our Wine and Beer Tasting Shop, Hoppin' Grapes opening in Sierra Vista, Arizona.  For a long time, Hoppin' Grapes (or if not this name specifically, the idea of it), remained a nebulous sort of idea that floated above our heads.  Sort of a "Wouldn't it be great if" conversation that we talked about for a few years.  Through some random life events, we have now found ourselves in the position to actually open up our shop.  At this point, we have our name, logo, some contacts in the wine industry, and personal know-how and courage (aka chutzpah).

Because we know that we need help on the business end, we went to the Small Business Administration here  in Sierra Vista, AZ.   We expected a nice discussion and some pointers on what to do and where to go.  We received so much more.  The SBA is a government organization that actually seems to work.  I know, it sounds crazy, but hear me out...

We went in for our scheduled appointment.  We were a little early, because we are notoriously early.  Our SBA counselor took us early and spent almost two hours discussing our idea and the next steps that we needed to take.  He was clearly very knowledgeable about business and seemed excited about our idea.  It was such a fantastic meeting.  He was able to clarify our questions and point out items that we should have questions about (but didn't know enough to form these questions).  We were then given "homework" to do and a new meeting was scheduled.

After meeting with the SBA, we realized that our dream was actually going to come to fruition.  This is a true and wonderful adventure that we started.  We hope that you will follow us throughout the journey!

What would you like to see us carry on our shelves at Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Bar in Sierra Vista, Arizona?  Let us know by posting comments below! -Hoppin' Grapes

Monday, February 4, 2013

ST Clair Winery Review - New Mexico

After a long drive across the US, it was time to settle down for a day in one place.  We chose Deming, New Mexico since it only left a few hundred miles on our trip.

On our way to check in at the hotel in Deming, NM, we saw a sign advertising St. Clair Winery.  Who doesn't love a winery?  We sure do.  We knew right then we were leaving NM a little later the next day than anticipated.  With the St. Clair Winery only 3 miles from I-10, why not make the small detour and check it out?

During the short drive to St. Clair Winery, it is easy to think you might be on the wrong road.  The area is mostly desert and open.  Down the road a little further and you will find the oasis that is St. Clair Winery.

Situated at the end of a small road lined with trees and bushes we found parking for the St. Clair Winery.  Although the area is mainly warehousing for the wines they produce, the "visitor center" with retail space and tasting bar make you forget about all of the mechanical processes taking place in the warehouse.  Once you enter, you are transported mentally to a place where you feel like you are in your own personal wine cellar and bar.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Coronado Vineyards Review - Arizona

My husband, Eric, and I are on our cross country trip from North Carolina all the way to Arizona.  We have two vehicles, two CBs (still not sure what my handle is!), and a fat beagle.  We have encountered a freak snowstorm, dealt with a cabin fevered dog, and stayed unintentionally in some pretty shady areas.  To add insult to injury, three seconds after we entered Arizona, I was pulled over.  Apparently I was following too closely?  Although, it was my husband in front of me and he felt I was fine.  I think the officer just wanted to pull over a sports car with a CB antennae and Virginia plates.

The good news?  The officer was perfectly pleasant. The bad news? I still got pulled over three seconds into Arizona! As such, when I saw the billboard advertising the winery in Willcox, Arizona.  I radioed my husband.  The following conversation ensued:

Me: I see a billboard for wine.
Husband: Do you want to stop for a tasting?
Me: Wine!
Husband: So, that's a yes?
Me: So, very thirsty.  Need wine.
Husband:  Ok, we will stop.
Me:  Wine.  Tally-Ho!  (For some reason, I had decided around St. Louis that Tally-ho was the appropriate response and answer into a CB.)

The vineyard is located off Interstate 10 at Exit 344.  It is set back from the road and you have to drive over a bumpy, dirty lane to get to the actual vineyard.  I was mildly apprehensive, but we made it that far and I was determined to have a tasting.  We gave the dog a bone (haha! Unintentional hilarity! We really gave the dog a bone! Knick-knack paddywack!) and went inside.  The dog had plenty of water, it was only about 50 degrees and the windows were rolled down.  Don't worry.  She was fine.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Great Wines Under $10

Great Wines Under $10.  Why pay upwards of $40 (or much more) for a wine that you may not like?  We have tasted quite a few wines costing more than $40 and can tell you, without a doubt, that there are plenty of wines at or below $10, with the same complexity in taste, and a more delicious value!

Want to learn more about types of wines and how to figure out what you like? Click Here!  If you already know what wine types you like, keep reading!

Great Reds.  For great wines under $10 reds, we have a few that we really love for great value, full flavor and light on the pocket.  Take a look at the grape of your choice and see what we suggest.
Merlot.  Hands down our favorite using this great grape is the 14 Hands Merlot.  Although 14 Hands also makes a red blend, we have found the Merlot is the favorite of the two and we don’t really like Merlot

What Wine Do I like? - Finding Your Favorite Wine

What wine do I like?  Well it is time to figure out which ones you like and find your favorite wines.  

For those new to drinking wine, the sheer variety of wines can seem overwhelming.  Couple that with the number of wine makers and you can easily become lost in sea of wine before actually figuring out what you like.  Additionally, enjoying wine can be an expensive endeavor, if you do not know how to find a good wine without spending too much.  

What wine do I like? – The old school thought process provided a favored wine to pair with every meal.  Wine snobs would turn up their noses at a fish served with red wine or a red meat with a white, but those times have finally passed.  Now, more people are drinking what they like with a meal instead of what “pairs” best.  So how do you figure out – What wine do I like? 

Basics.  The best way we have found to tackle this problem is to start with the basics.  Think of what you want to get out of the wine.  Do you like sweet wines?  Do you like red or white?  Do you even know what you want?  Start really basic.  Do not think about notes of this or hues of that.  Simply taste the wine and see if you like it.  The more confusing elements of tastes and undertones (along with vernacular) will come much later in your wine drinking education and experience.  

Hoppin' Grapes Logo Design - Wine and Beer Tasting Shop in Sierra Vista, Arizona

Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop, Sierra Vista, Arizona Logo Design.  We knew early on that we would require a professional design.  One of the first things we wanted were websites, social media, and a logo.  The logo gave us a way for future customers to know they found the right website, blog and store.  

We worked with 99 Designs to create a logo for this business venture.  99 Designs is a website which allows designers to post designs and customers to select from these designs.  There is also a contest feature which allows you to select an original design by offering a cash prize for the design you select.  

We paid $299 for 99 Designs put us in direct with 22 designers who entered 100 logo designs for us to choose from.  We selected the design above.  Do you think we got our money's worth?  Let us know by commenting below!  ~Hoppin' Grapes

Will you be joining us at Hoppin' Grapes Wine and Beer Tasting Shop in Sierra Vista, Arizona? 

Hoppin' Grapes Blog - Beer and Wine Tasting Bar in Sierra Vista, Arizona

Welcome to the Hoppin' Grapes blog!  We are excited to start this business venture!  Take a look at some of our blog posts and give us comments and feedback on them so we can make changes using your input.

We are a small business, starting in a time of economic uncertainty.  Please follow our blog as we start to grow our business.

Right now we are starting with a blog, website, and social media (like facebook and twitter) in order to see if there is a desire for our type of business.  We want to be sure we have a good following of wine and beer enthusiasts before opening our doors.  In the relatively small community we are planning to operate, we know that local public support will be required in order to be successful.

We hope this online venture will help show us we are on the right path towards opening a retail shop.  We hope through sharing our ideas on this blog we will find encouragement as we move along through the more mundane experiences like finishing our business plan, seeking financing, finding retail space, exceeding government regulation, and finally opening our store!

Thanks for your interest in our blog and idea!  ~Hoppin' Grapes