Meet Robert Carlson III, co-founder and winemaker of Carlson Creek Vineyard and a champion for Arizona wine. In addition to spearheading the growth of his family-owned business (they have tasting rooms in Willcox, Scottsdale and one opening soon in Cottonwood), he travels the world mountain climbing and showcasing AZ wine to aficionados from Paris to Hong Kong. While no one day in his life is alike, below is a glimpse at what goes into running one of the state’s largest vineyards.
I wake up before the sun to beat the heat with a hike up Camelback Mountain. I make it to the top in time for the sunrise then head back down to start the rest of my day.
Head back to my apartment in Old Town Scottsdale to shower, eat breakfast and enjoy my daily cup of Earl Grey tea before checking my calendar to prep for my day.
Our Scottsdale tasting room is my local office so I head there first to get some work done. Today, this includes coordinating grape sales, planning new equipment purchases, and working on design plans for the new tasting room that we’ll be opening in Cottonwood later this summer.
For lunch, I usually walk someplace nearby. Today it’s Olive & Ivy for their beet salad.
After lunch, I do some visits to existing and prospective accounts in the area who carry our wines, including AJ’s on Central, Westin Kierland and Queen Creek Olive Mill.
Work calls at the vineyard so after leaving Queen Creek, I head down to Willcox to meet my brother John, who oversees our winemaking.
Arrive at the vineyard, where we recently planted 5 additional acres of Malbec due to the last vintage selling out so quickly. The grapes are flowering across the vineyard and everything is looking green. I review progress on the new winery we’re building (opening this fall) and do crop estimates.
John and I open up a bottle of our flagship wine, Rule of Three, and enjoy dinner at the vineyard.
Go for my daily run, use the rowing machine, then hit the shower and head to bed at our house in Willcox.