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Growth, death and rebirth of wine industry topic of Third Thursday dinner

While Arizona’s wine industry is currently booming, it started from almost nothing in the 1970s. Today, more than 50 wineries operate across the state and more are starting every year. But despite the youth of the current industry, there is a long history of wine-making in Arizona dating back some 200 years.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, author and historian Erik Berg will be at the Phippen Museum for a Third Thursday dinner program that examines this popular industry in depth.

Using numerous illustrations, this presentation traces the fascinating – and often amusing – story of Arizona wine from the Spanish Colonial period to the present. Topics include pioneering efforts using wild grapes, Mesa’s forgotten 19th century wine industry, the illegal raisin wineries of the Great Depression, and the unlikely band of aspiring winemakers that led the modern rebirth of Arizona wine in the 1980s.

Berg is an award-winning historian and writer with a special interest in the early 20th century Southwest. In addition to contributing to several books and numerous conferences, his work has appeared in the Journal of Arizona History, Arizona Highways, Astronomy, the Journal of the Society of Commercial Archaeology, and Sedona Magazine.

To make reservations, for this discussion and dinner catered by Big Daddy E’s Smokin’ Barbeque, call 928-778-1385. The cost is $25 for museum members and $35 for guests.

The Phippen Museum is at 4701 N. Highway 89. For more information, call 928-778-1385 or visit


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