Kief-Joshua Vineyards is a small family business with 20 acres in beautiful Elgin and 40 acres in Willcox Wine Country. Our Elgin tasting room is open daily and is situated right in the middle of what is know as “winery row.”
Winemaker Kief Manning focuses his attention toward a holistic farming approach developed in the 1920s by the Austrian scientist-philosopher Rudolf Steiner. While this philosophy encompasses many principles of organic farming, such as the elimination of all chemicals, it goes further, requiring close attention to the varied forces of nature influencing the vine.
“We strive for excellence in winemaking and sustainability in our vineyard,” says Kief. “With time, I hope to produce outstanding Arizona wines that demonstrate the intensity, richness and complexity of the area.”
Kief purchased the property in the Elgin/Sonoita American Viticulture Area (AVA) that is now Kief-Joshua Vineyards in 2003, while traveling back and forth to Australia to learn the art of grape growing and winemaking. In 2005, he began planting the 20-acre vineyard in Elgin, with expansion plans to plant on his 40 acres in Kansas Settlement near Willcox to include a second tasting room with different grape varietals.
Spending time in Australia has proven very valuable and many of his wines have the European/Australian flair. He specializes in dry, full-bodied wines that are crafted by hand using traditional methods of barrel aging and gentle handling to produce top quality wines for any occasion. He practices traditional winemaking methods of minimal interference, open fermentation and barrel aging.
During his studies, Kief became familiar with Old English Baby Doll Sheep, a small, rare breed that are ideal for weeding and fertilizing the vineyards. “We employ up to five sheep to graze on the grasses and weeds that grow between the trellising and grapevines,” states Kief. “On the downside, they have gotten very enamored with the alcohol-rich fermented grape skins that we use for compost. The sheep love it and it isn’t long before they require a nap.”
The tasting room at Kief-Joshua Vineyards is open daily, from 11 am to 5 pm. The winery is inviting and offers an array of specialty foods and cheeses, special tours and private educational wine classes.
At barely twenty years old, Kief Manning, owner and operator of Kief-Joshua Vineyards in Southern Arizona, knew he had found his passion in the art of winemaking. For the next decade, he would be known as the youngest, professional winemaker in Arizona. Inspired by the dream to sustain his vineyard for generations, Kief is determined to grow vines that are virtually free of all pesticides and herbicides.
Although his first “winery” was at his home in Tempe where he first started making beer and wine in his closet while attending classes at ASU, the Chaparral High School Graduate quickly enrolled in Viticulture and Enology classes at UC Davis before transferring to Victoria, Australia where he earned both a graduate degree in enology and viticulture at the University of Melbourne and an undergraduate degree in Wine Technology and Marketing from Monash University.
“Top 10 Wineries, 2014 “
2013 Silver & Bronze medal, Festival of the Farm
2012 Gold Medal,
Peoples Choice Award,
Festival of the Farm
Every April, Kief hosts the Southeastern Arizona Wine Growers Festival, featuring 20 of the best winemakers and farmers from around the state. During the summer, guests can enjoy the summer concert series every Saturday. A fall harvest festival is scheduled the end of August. For details, please visit www.kj-vineyards.com.
Kief Joshua Manning, Winemaker. Kief grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona and first started making beer and wine in his closet while attending classes at Arizona State University. From the moment he decided to open Kief-Joshua Vineyards, Kief immersed himself into every aspect of the business. His firsthand experience was complemented by a graduate degree in enology and viticulture at the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Kief, who also earned his undergraduate degree in Australia in Wine Technology and Marketing, works full-time in his vineyard South of Tucson. Inspired by the dream to sustain his vineyard for hundreds of years, Kief is determined to grow vines that are virtually free of all pesticides and herbicides. He is and avid reader and is focusing his attention toward a holistic farming approach. While this philosophy encompasses many principles of organic farming, it goes further, requiring close attention to the varied forces of nature influencing the vine. It also emphasizes a closed, self-sustaining ecosystem.