Grand Canyon Winery in Fountain Hills, meet the Winemaker
Grand Canyon Winery Inc. was founded in 2011 as an aspiration of the Martinet’s family to perpetuate their French tradition, passion and appreciation for fine wine. GCW Inc. is a family owned business that focuses in producing sophisticated Arizona wine. We produce top quality wine from hand-picked grapes that come from small production vineyards in Cochise County, Arizona. GCW Inc. is a proud supporter of local businesses.
The high desert climate of southeastern Arizona produces hot daytime temperatures and cool nights similar to Mendoza, Argentina (a well known region for award winning wine).
Describe your business
We are an urban winery and we make about 200 gallons of Chardonnay here on site. We also have 7 different varietals of red wine that are made in Cochise County here in southern Arizona that come from grapes that are grown right here in Arizona. They are a Rhône Valley varietal from Rhône Valley in France. The temperature, climate, and the soil in the Wilcox area is very similar to the Rhône Valley in France and that is why we grow the grapes there.
What made you decide to open this business?
It came from a passion of making wine at home after I did an internship in France. I worked at a vineyard and it sparked my interest. I had a big refrigerator that I kept all my carboys in after the fermentation process and made my own. I just enjoy doing it so I decided to start my own winery and open this tasting room.
What was it like when you first started?
It was really tough to get started and trying to get people in the door. I had to adjust the schedule to get more people in. We now have karaoke, live music and a wine club for our patrons.
What has surprised you most when owning a business?
How important it is to have entertainment in this environment when we are open. Entertainers the have a following, so when they are here playing, they bring in people. It took me a while to realize that it was essential in keeping this business busy.
What would your customers say they love most about your business?
They love the wine and the environment here in the tasting room. They say its relaxing and comfortable.
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
I just love the contact with the people here. Its a laid back environment and here to relax so its a good place to be and easy going.
What is something most people don't know about the business?
There is a lot of planning involved with owning a business and a lot of little things you have to keep on top of to keep it business going.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future that you want customers to know about?
We are looking in to brining in an executive chef come in develop a menu so that we have food to offer our guests and make it a better experience.
Do you have any advice that you want to share with other entrepreneurs?
My advise is to evolve and change with the times. If you don't brainstorm and use as many resources as possible to keep it going.
Why do you think it's important for people to shop local?
I think its important to shop local to support your local economy. Supporting people to stay employed locally and it really makes you value what you have here in your local area.