Pav on Juice: Making of a Winery, Vol. II

Pavle MilicMarch 2019
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Photo courtesy Pavle Milic

A monthly look at Arizona wine with Valley dining impresario Pavle Milic.

Time in a bottle. That’s what wine is, and now it’s been almost a year since my family purchased our first vineyard in Elfrida, officially establishing Los Milics Winery. I wrote about first conceiving the winery in my last installment – this time, I’ll share some tidbits about the boring financial stuff.

Fortuitously, without having built the winery yet, we sold our entire 2018 grape harvest. Maynard James Keenan of Caduceus and Merkin Vineyards bought them all last fall – Tempranillo, Grenache, Graciano, and Mourvèdre – which he crushed into rosé, giving us a nice capital boost on the eve of our first vintage. The vines are now just waking up again after the winter slumber. We should be bottling in Sonoita come harvest in late summer.

In the interim, our attention has shifted to Sonoita, where we’re establishing our second vineyard: the 20-acre Los Milics Estate Vineyard in the foothills of the Mustang Mountains. Nikki Check, former Jerome mayor and viticulture instructor at Yavapai, is our vineyard manager heading the viticulture effort.

The winery and tasting room side is actually the trickiest part of opening a winery, bringing an avalanche of applications and engineering plans. Suffice to say, by the time you read this, we should have broken ground.

Another first-year concern: finding winemaking equipment. In January, I attended a symposium in Sacramento and was overwhelmed by the vast number of products and specialized conversations that were had at every booth, from weather stations and soil moisture control to the vicissitudes in oak grain between Canton and Stockinger barrels. Thankfully, Kelly and Todd Bostock of Dos Cabezas WineWorks agreed to be part of our team as winemaker consultants to teach me and my wife the winemaking craft.

Next time I report, I’ll provide updates on construction progress. Until then, I’ll see you down in Arizona wine country.

Los Milics Winery

423 Upper Elgin Rd.
Elgin, 707-293-8480

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