April 27, 2018

Two Heads are Better with Wine

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The current growth in the Arizona wine scene can be traced back to a handful of pioneers. The original pioneer arguably being Gordon Dutt who recognized the potential that Sonoita and Elgin held for vineyards in the late 1970s. A small group sprang up during the early- to-mid 1990s to join him, and this core group was the true forefront of the Arizona wine industry as it stands today.

I return to the Arizona wine roads to introduce you to one of those pioneering labels and tell the story of its current owner and winemaker. The label is Dos Cabezas WineWorks, and the man behind it these days is Todd Bostock.


The story of Dos Cabezas began in 1995 when the original owner Al Buhl purchased a well-established 40-acre vineyard just south of Willcox and named it for the landmark mountains nearby. Renowned Arizona winemaker Kent Callaghan was tabbed initially to produce the label. Another Arizona wine pioneer joined the team in 2000 when Sam Pillsbury came on as a partner. The final piece of the puzzle arrived in 2002 when Todd Bostock volunteered to work the harvest after talking with then-winemaker Frank DiChristifano. Frank’s tenure as winemaker ended after the 2002 harvest season when he retired, and Todd found himself as the man in charge of the cellar when the 2003 harvest began. Todd eventually purchased the label, and the Bostock family have been its stewards ever since.

Todd is a Phoenix native who began developing a serious interest in food and wine as a young man. Drawn by the mix of art and science involved with winemaking, he took several extension courses from UC Davis with the intent on going into the wine industry as a career. Todd pondered relocating to California; however, being an Arizona native with strong local ties, he figured the local scene was a much more favorable opportunity after exploring what Arizona had to offer in wine. Shortly after joining the Dos Cabezas team, Todd planted his own vineyards in Elgin on a 15-acre property known as the Pronghorn Vineyard.

Todd, his wife Kelly, along with his parents Frank and Paula, all came together and purchased Dos Cabezas in 2006 and the operations moved from the Willcox vineyards (now owned by Arizona Stronghold) to the new Pronghorn Vineyards and Sonoita winery.

Dos Cabezas focuses mainly on blended wines, with the backbone being Rhône and Spanish varieties. Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Grenache, Syrah, Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, and Petite Verdot are the predominate reds. Whites include Viognier, Picpoul Blanc, Riesling, and Roussanne. The winery works with around 32 different grape varieties though, so there is much potential to create different blends and nuances to the core wines.

The opportunities for Dos Cabezas expanded as Todd teamed up with Dick Erath and is processing the fruit from Dick’s Cimarron Vineyard in the heart of the Willcox region. Dos Cabezas has been one of Arizona’s most celebrated and decorated wineries since its inception. Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator have given them several exceptional reviews. They’ve won a few Arizona Governor’s Choice awards for both the best red and the best white wine. The 2006 retirement party for Justice Sandra Day O’Conner held at the White House featured the Dos Cabezas 2004 Pinot Gris, and they’ve been served at White House functions on other occasions, as well.

I had the opportunity to visit the Dos Cabezas tasting room on the day it opened by coincidence. Like most small wineries, you’re usually greeted by a member of the family when you pay a visit. Dos Cabezas has enjoyed a bit of success and that old tasting room has since been replaced with a new facility. The future plan for the winery at the moment is to maintain the consistent growth they’ve enjoyed over the years. No new vineyards are planned right now, as Todd wants to focus more on improving quality and learning the nuances of the young vineyards they already have.

Dos Cabezas is one of Arizona’s more respected wineries, and is a must stop if visiting the Sonoita/Elgin area. More information on the winery can be found on their website at www.doscabezaswinery.com or on their Facebook page if you search for Dos Cabezas WineWorks. Enjoy responsibly.

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