Saturday, April 10 was an unseasonably warm day, but a light breeze made it just right for enjoying the 43rd “Blessing of the Vines” at Sonoita Vineyards.
Fr. Greg Adolf, a friend of the vineyard’s founder, Gordon Dutt, officiated at the first blessing in 1978 and has returned each year. He was joined on Saturday by two members of his “Clergy Gang:” Fr. Robert Neske and Fr. Ramonito Celestial, also from St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Sierra Vista.
The prayer of blessing, held among grapevines that are just starting to bud, includes the passage, “In Your goodness protect our vineyards from wind, hail, drought...” Seizing on the reference to lack of rainfall, one wag in attendance quipped, “Yes, father, be generous with that holy water.”
Back at the winery, awaiting those who participated in the long and winding procession to the vineyard, was live music and wine tasting, as well as food provided by two caterers.
Normally, neighbors in the surrounding AVA (American Viticulture Area), including Village of Elgin Winery, Elgin Distillery, Twisted Union Wine Company, Autumn Sage, Hannah’s Hill Vineyards, Deep Sky Vineyards and Lightning Ridge Cellars, are invited to showcase their products at the event.
The coronavirus ensured that didn’t happen this year. Instead, those producers offered discounts to festival goers.
Judging by the high amount of vehicle traffic in the normally serene roadways, other establishments nestled among the rolling hills of Sonoita/Elgin saw plenty of visitors on Saturday as well.