Kief-Joshua Vineyards is a small family business with 20 acres in beautiful Elgin and 40 acres in Willcox Wine Country. Our Elgin tasting room is open daily and is situated right in the middle of what is know as “winery row.” The Sonoita Arizona Wine Tour boasts of ten different tasting rooms and was selected by USA Today as one of the top ten wine trails in the United States.
Our first planting was in 2005 and we have about 15 acres under vine, consisting of such varieties as Tempranillo,Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Zinfandel, Reisling, Semillion and Viognier. Our first harvest and Estate wine release from our vineyard in Sonoita was in 2008. We will be planting on our 40 acre vineyard, located in Kansas Settlement in 2012.
The idea to start a vineyard and winery stemmed from a long standing hobby of winemaking and gardening at home. “Kief was making wine in his home in Tempe,” said Jeff Manning, Wine Sales Manager. “The day we tasted his lemon wine, which was made from fruit off a tree in his backyard, I knew he had found his passion.”
In 2002, after the decision was made to open a winery, the house was sold, the property purchased and Kief Manning left Arizona State University, to pursue Viticulture studies in Australia, where he earned both a graduate and undergraduate degree in Viticulture and Enology.
Kief practices traditional winemaking methods of minimal interference, open fermentation and barrel aging. In 2006, Kief eliminated the use of herbicides and pesticides in the vineyard. “We strive for excellence in winemaking and sustainability in our vineyard,” says Kief. “With time, I hope to produce outstanding Arizona wines that demonstrate the intensity, richness and complexity of the area.”
Our Vineyard practices are customized to match the particular characteristics of the soil to help the vines produce the best fruit possible, and to in turn, achieve the best wine possible. Directed by Kief Manning, his team implements irrigation and nutrient regimes, trellis system and canopy management, rootstock and clone combinations, and pruning and cane selection for each block within a vineyard. Because of the land’s diverse geological makeup, even within one vineyard parcel there may be several different types of soil with different degrees of nutrients for vines and water-holding capacity.
In addition, Kief practices sustainable farming techniques, such as composting, planting cover crops and other plant species to avoid soil erosion, add desirable nutrients back to the soil and to attract desirable insects, and integrating animals to naturally enhance biodiversity and nutrient recycling.
Kief-Joshua Vineyards is practicing sustainable farming techniques to help protect the land. Kief realized early on that to achieve his goal of producing memorable wines of outstanding quality, he needed to start in the vineyards and not focus solely on the winemaking. Inspired to meet present goals while preserving the land for future generations, Kief made the commitment to implement sustainable farming techniques from vineyard to bottle. The vineyard is free of herbicides and pesticides, and this environmentally sound approach will continue to be implemented over the years.
Kief-Joshua uses Kimko equipment to eliminate the weeds effectively without the use of herbicides. Baby Doll sheep, an ancient breed measuring only two feet tall at maturity, have been integrated into the vineyard rows to graze on the green grass and weeds, enhancing both biodiversity and nutrient recycling. This practice will decrease the use of harsh pesticides to eradicate weeds and grasses, as well as the cutting down on emissions to the air.
The addition of nesting boxes, hawk perches and bird houses for various species will be situated around the vineyard, and will be an integral part of the sustainable program. Attracting desirable owls and bird species to patrol the vineyards will also decrease the amount of gophers and rodents that can pose a problem in the vineyard. We are also hatching praying mantis to aid in the elimination of unwanted creatures.
Kief-Joshua Vineyard ensures natural crop nutrition by recycling organic matter, such as discarded and collected grape stems, for use as mulch in the vineyards, and the use of naturally occurring cover crops. These practices have many benefits: use of mulch in the vineyard and planting of cover crops adds back desirable, rich, moist and long lasting nutrients to the soil and helps prevent soil erosion; the integration of desirable plants throughout the vineyards attract advantageous insects which helps to naturally resist pest and disease attacks from undesirable species.
In lieu of discarding the wine barrels, Kief and Jeff are turning the old barrels into high-top barrel tables, end-tables, candle holders, bottles racks, clocks, chandeliers and baskets. All are reasonably priced and for sale in our tasting room.