I recently made the trip from Phoenix up to Jerome to meet with Jon McLoughlin, winemaker at Bitter Creek Winery. It was nice to get away from the summer heat, and up into the mountains. Jerome is built on the side of a mountain and is situated at 5,246 feet. I emailed John some questions and he responded, and I also interviewed him on camera, First the emails:
Weekly Wine Journal: How has the weather been so far this year and how is the 2010 crop doing.
John McLoughlin: So far luck is with Dragoon Mountain Vineyard! Early in 2010, we had two days of a late freeze! Not good when the vines are just starting to “push”. Many of the vineyards in the State were hard hit. Dragoon Mountain Vineyard was fortunate, our land is pretty flat, and that allows the air to move across the vineyard. When there are depressions in the contour of the ground, the cold air will settle in the low points and that is when frost can occur.
Weekly Wine Journal: Which varieties are doing the best.
John McLoughlin: Right now the Big Reds are doing very well!
On July 9th, 2010 Bitter Creek Winery released the first 9 of a possible 26 wines centered around the Tarot deck. Each wine has a Tarot card for the label. Bitter Creek Winery is located in Arizona. Winemaker John McLoughlin says about 99% of his work is done down in South Eastern Arizona, and about 1% in Jerome, Arizona. Jerome is not far from Verde Valley where Popular Verde Valley artist Rick Wyckoff calls home. Rick is the artist who was commissioned by John to create the labels. Rick is not only known as a tattoo artist, but a craftsman of many mediums. His art career began in 1988 at the art center of Tucson, which led to the completion of his degree in production art and design. During his college years, he became involved in metal art and blade smithing, which he still enjoys today. Upon leaving college he sought employment as a commercial artist. However, his youth would not allow him a sedentary life of an office worker. So into the military he went! Shortly after leaving the military, he returned to blade smithing and the Renaissance fair circuit, where he discovered tattooing. 18 years later he is still on the quest!
Since opening his first shop in 2002 in Jerome Az, he has expanded his range of mediums to wood sculpture, painting, illustration and furniture making. His intent being the introduction of art and beauty into as many aspects of life as possible, and sharing that passion for evoking emotion with as many people as possible.
Drawing his inspiration from nature, history and cultural traditions from all over the world. His hope is to continuously reinvent and transform not only his art, but art perspective in general. Which is why his primary focus is on tattooing and it’s inherent transformational qualities.
It is his hope that his art brings inspiration, illumination and joy to all who come in contact with it!
I met up with Arizona winemaker John McLoughlin at an all Arizona wine tasting at Whole Foods in North Scottsdale. Hot off the heels of the Judgment of Arizona wine competition the public interest in Arizona wines has increased dramatically. There was hardly enough room to move at this event! In this interview I asked John about the 52 varieties he has planted on his 100 acre vineyard. I also asked him about Zinfandel in Arizona, I had heard that the small tight clusters are not conducive to the humid Arizona summers, but John gave me new information on the matter.