The high deserts of Arizona provide three major grape-growing regions: Sonoita, Willcox, and Verde Valley. Nothing pairs better with the dry heat and sunny skies of AZ than sipping a locally-made wine. Plus, the unique climate here makes Arizona wines exceptional. The “diurnal effect,” where temperatures dive down at night and swing up during the day, is ideal for wine making. It makes Arizona grapes “bold and flavorful.”
Find your favorite spot for sipping below. Then, review our recommendations for protecting your teeth during and after wine tasting.
Northern Arizona Wineries
Alcantara Vineyards and Winery
Alcantara is a family-owned and sustainably-farmed vineyard located in Cottonwood. Their tasting room is open daily and offers 12 different varietals. This is a perfect place to sip wine and enjoy the peaceful scenery, which includes the Verde River and countless rows of vines.
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards
With a tasting room located in Cottonwood and vineyards in Willcox, Arizona Stronghold offers high-quality wines that showcase the southwest highlands. The tasting room has a full food menu and live music on the weekends to make your wine sipping experience even more enjoyable.
Four Eight Wineworks
Four Eight Wineworks is Northern Arizona’s first and only “winemakers’ co-operative.” It’s also the first tasting room in downtown Clarkdale. Several wineries alternate using this facility, which gets its name from Arizona’s place in joining the union – state number 48.
Page Springs Cellars
Page Springs Cellars began in 2004 and holds a philosophy that wine is by the people, for the people. You can visit the winery to taste their wines, take a tour of the vineyards, attend a yoga session or order food from the bistro for an afternoon picnic.
Southern Arizona Wineries
Dos Cabezas Wineworks
This family-owned winery was named one of the “top 10 winemakers to watch” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The tasting room is in the high desert grasslands of Sonoita and offers wine from two vineyard locations: one in Sonoita and the other in Cochise County.
Callaghan Vineyard’s wine making approach is “decidedly simplistic.” They’ve been awarded dozens of times for their fruity, new-world flavors. Their wines have been served at the White House four times! Drive an hour south of Tucson to experience this widely-recognized vineyard.
Arizona Hops and Vines
Arizona Hops and Vines is run by two sisters who had always dreamed of opening their own winery. Whether a wine aficionado or a first-time wine taster, all are welcome at Arizona Hops and Vines. There is even a petting zoo on site for kids to enjoy! Escape the city and visit Sonoita for a fun wine tasting experience.
In a remote area south of Chiricahua National Monument, this vineyard can feel like a blast from the past. Their decade-old tasting room is housed in an old bank building, and there’s no lack of character or charm across the winery’s 21 acres.
Wine’s Negative Effects on Dental Health
We often like to remind ourselves that a glass of red wine in the evening can reduce our risk of heart disease. However, regular wine drinkers should also be aware that there may be some negative effects to their oral health, including:
Dental erosion – The acidity in wine can wear away at our teeth’s enamel. This can be intensified by certain wine drinking habits.
Tooth discoloration – When enamel is eroded, you can tell. Teeth lose their original shape and size and become disfigured and discolored. In addition to yellowing of the teeth and gums, your oral health is compromised. Tooth discoloration comes from dentin erosion, which can lead to tooth loss.
Dentin hypersensitivity – Erosion of tooth enamel results in increased sensitivity in our teeth. When oral tissues begin to erode, our oral health declines. Side effects of hypersensitivity include pain when drinking hot, cold, or sweet drinks and foods.
The negative effects wine has on teeth can vary depending on:
- Type of wine
- Not eating food while drinking
- Frequency of intake, or sips
- Duration of wine-on-teeth contact
Which Type of Wine is Best for Teeth?
A low pH level is one factor to consider when drinking wine. The lower the pH, the more acidic the wine. If you want to determine how much damage a specific wine can cause to your teeth over time, you can use pH as a general gauge.
Tooth enamel begins to dissolve at a pH level of 5 to 5.7. So, any pH value around or lower than 5.7 can harm tooth enamel. If wine is held in the mouth for a long period of time, the wine has even more opportunity to be corrosive. That makes wine tasting a serious culprit for causing dental erosion.
|Wine Type||pH Level|
|Red Wine||3.5 to 4|
|White Wine||3 to 3.5|
|Sparkling Wines||2.9 to 3.1|
Sparkling wines, like prosecco, can be a triple threat to our teeth. They have the lowest pH of all wine types and typically contain the most sugar. However, even sparkling wines are better for your teeth than a can of Coca–Cola. For comparison, a can of classic Coca–Cola has a pH of 2.5.
Wine Tasting and Dental Erosion
While wine tasting, we hold and swirl the wine around in our mouths. This stimulates the taste buds and intentionally coats the sides of our mouth and tongue. Because the mouth is significantly saturated after this, enamel loss can be more extensive than when we’re simply drinking a glass of wine. Frequent exposure and longer duration of wine on our palate “makes the teeth more likely to be eroded than if the person rapidly swallowed the wine.”
Eating while drinking wine can have the opposite effect. Serious wine tasters would scoff at the idea of eating while wine tasting because food can alter a person’s perception of smell and taste. But, if you asked a dentist how to go wine tasting, they would tell you to accompany your drinks with a snack.
Food increases how much we salivate and acts as a detergent for our teeth, cleansing them of wine stains. Eating food reduces how much time the wine is in contact with our teeth, reducing the danger of harming tooth enamel. How we drink and what we do while we’re drinking can affect how much dental erosion is caused by drinking wine.
Wine’s Positive Effects on Dental Health
Now that you’re aware of the potential harm wine can cause to your mouth and teeth, weigh your options before your next wine tasting. Maybe you’ll adjust some of your methods! Here are the benefits drinking wine can have on our oral health:
Lowers risk for cavities – In one study, individuals drinking wine had less cavity-causing bacteria in their mouth than individuals who were not. Additionally, the people drinking wine had less dental plaque than those who were not drinking wine.
Reduces inflammation and gum disease – Wine, particularly red wine, contains what scientists call “polyphenol.” This is a term for a broad range of compounds that are good for us. One study found that polyphenols reduce bad bacteria’s ability to adhere to teeth and gums and cause plaque, cavities, or gum disease to develop. Polyphenols are derived from the grape seed. They have anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat and prevent gum disease! We’ll drink to that!
Increases lifespan – A different study examined the habits of individuals over 90 years of age. While interviewing almost 2,000 people over 90, researchers found that those who drank two glasses of beer or wine a day improved their odds of living longer by about 18 percent more than those who abstained from drinking.
Supports heart health – Alcohol, in general, has been found to raise our levels of healthy cholesterol and reduce the formation of blood clots. Remember that neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease.
Now that you’ve got all the facts on oral health and dental erosion from drinking wine, where are you heading to get your sip on?