At Tlaquepaque, an open-air mall in Sedona, I found a gourmet shop offering tastings of Arizona wines. I couldn’t resist, of course, and ordered four tastes. As I sat outside, sipping a rather odd white and three overheated, overly alcoholic fruit bombs, I noticed people looking at me. One fellow sitting on a bench kept turning my way to see what I was up to, and a whole family turned their heads when they passed.
I wondered what the heck was going on here. Do people not drink wine in Sedona? Or was it that I had a flight of four glasses in front of me? Or maybe I looked like an illegal immigrant?
Finally, one older gentleman wearing a sun visor stopped dead in his tracks, not 15 feet in front of me, and just stared. I looked back at him, confused, but he maintained a steady gaze. “Can I help you?” I asked.
“Oh no, you’re giving me all the help I need, drinking those wines!”
“What are you all drinking there? Merlot? I like Merlot. It’s easy on the throat.”
“Oh yeah, well, these are actually blends of some different varieties. They’re all Arizona wines.”
“Don’t you think it’s sacrilegious to mix wines together?”
“Isn’t it sacrilegious though? I think it’s sacrilegious. But sometimes I like to do it a little bit. Ha!”
“Well, it’s not sacrilegious if you like it. That’s what I say.”
“Ha! That’s right! That’s absolutely right. Well, that makes me feel a lot better! A lot better.”
I’m not sure my definition of “sacrilegious” would pass muster with the Inquisition, but I’m glad I could help. In Sedona, it seems, you can get away with being a little loosey-goosey. Unfortunately, the winemakers of the red-wine floozies I was tasting seemed to feel the same way.