After three years – and countless glasses of local wines – Scottsdale resident and award-winning food and lifestyle photographer Jenelle Bonifield has published her first book, “AZ Uncorked, The Arizona Wine Guide.”
The 544-page book brims with stunning photographs of Arizona’s vineyards and tasting rooms and the stories behind them.
Readers will also learn more about the state’s renowned winemakers, including Eric Glomski, Sam Pillsbury, Maynard Keenan, and Kent Callaghan.
“AZ Uncorked” is broken down into sections based on Arizona’s wine regions, with an introduction by Arizona wine industry professionals and enthusiasts, including co-owner of Scottsdale’s FnB Restaurant Pavle Milic.
“It feels great to finally be finished with it. I joke that it was like my longest pregnancy for years and a hard delivery, but then I got a six-and-a-half-pound baby out of it,” Bonifield said.
Bonifield was attracted to the idea of documenting the local wine industry thanks to her friends at LDV Winery, Peggy Fiandaca and Curt Dunham, who own a tasting room in Old Town.
“I just fell in love with being in the vineyard and photographing the different stages of the vines. And as I went down there, they introduced me to other winemakers in Southern Arizona and I just got hooked on it,” Bonifield said.
Bonifield’s moments in the various vineyards, especially during sunrise and sunset, were her most memorable.
“When the fruit is almost ready to harvest and you can catch the sunlight hitting the grapes, that always gives me a thrill,” Bonifield said.
The most memorable shoot took place at Callaghan Vineyards in Elgin.
“It was just the sunlight coming over the mountain and streaming through the windows in his winery. It took me three separate occasions to get it just right…but it was just breathtaking,” Bonifield recalled.
Her goal was to provide a resource for Arizonans to learn about the many vineyards and wines local winemakers create.
“I just want to support local and to support our winemakers,” Bonifield said. “You don’t have to go out of state to have fabulous wines; it’s available here, and we’re getting recognition from all over the country about our wines.”
The last part of the process, which included designing and laying out the pages of the book, has taken place during the pandemic.
“I had just wrapped up all my shooting,” Bonifield said, adding that staying put at home helped her stay glued to her computer. “The timing was perfect.”
“It took about nine months of physically putting the book together and design, and of course I had to have wine every night while I was doing that,” Bonifield said with a laugh.
Creating the content was a team effort.
Bonifield worked with several writers, including Elaine Chukan Brown, T. Scott Stephens, Darla Hoffmann, Elizabeth Krecker, Cody Burkett, Milic, Nikki Check, Michelle Jacob, Annabel Sclippa, Richard Betts, and award-winning historian and writer Erik Berg.
They wrote 45 stories for the book.
“I had so many great experiences talking with the winemakers, it is hard to pick just one,” Berg said, adding:
“What strikes me most about the various Arizona winemakers is the wide range of backgrounds, personalities, and winemaking styles. You see it in the atmosphere of their tasting rooms, the types of grapes they grow, and their individual approaches and philosophies. Arizona’s wine industry is still very dynamic, growing, and evolving. You really get a sense of that in the book and in Jenelle’s images.”
“Jenelle wanted a short history section for her book as well as some additional help on the winemaker biographies,” he said. “My journal article was mostly read by folks in the history community, so I appreciated the book as an opportunity to get Arizona’s wine history to a broader audience as well as to build upon some of my earlier interviews and discussions with the winemakers.”
“AZ Uncorked, The Arizona Wine Guide” is $111 and available at Changing Hand bookstores in Phoenix and Tempe, at more than 20 different wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms and on Bonifield’s website, arizonawineguide.com.
In Scottsdale, the book is available at Merkin Vineyards in Old Town and Salvatore Vineyards.
Bonifield hopes to complete the second edition of “AZ Uncorked” by this fall.
“There is a lot happening with Arizona wine, and it has come a long way in just the last 20 years,” Berg said. “I am amazed by how many Arizona wine drinkers still have not tried a local wine or visited a local winery. When they do, they are usually pleasantly surprised.”