Wine in Wonderland at Cata Vinos

When you think wine, Arizona is probably not one of the first places to come to mind. While its not Italy, France or even California, Arizona actually has some fabulous wine country and terrific tasting rooms, if you know where to look.
If you live in Tucson, are a corks throw away or happen to be passing through, Cata Vinos is one of those places.

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Cata Vinos - don't blink, or you'll miss it!  Located at 3063 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712 (on Alvernon, between Grant and Ft. Lowell on the west side of the street, there's additional parking in back if the front lot is full.

Cata Vinos – don’t blink, or you’ll miss it!
Located at 3063 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712 (on Alvernon, between Grant and Ft. Lowell on the west side of the street), there’s additional parking in back if the front lot is full.

A quiet, quaint yet charming tasting room, with both indoor seating as well as a beautiful outdoor patio area, Cata Vinos offers tastings several days of the week (check their website to be sure of weekly days and times, as they do fluctuate slightly) as well as a quite impressive array of local and imported wines by the bottle, most for $15 or under.
Flights, or tastings, are $10 a person and are served with palette cleansers (cheese and crackers), most of which are also available for purchase. Flights consist of six wines, with a specific theme, which varies from week to week, so there’s always something new!
And, if you’d like an additional glass, or even a bottle, after your flight, that can also be arranged.

Top photo is a sparkling moscato that is a favorite of ours! If you like sweet and a slightly effervescent wine, this is worth a glass or bottle, even if it's not on the tasting list that week. Bottom two pictures from our visit this last weekend - the red a Tuscan Chianti and the white a Loire Vouvray (which, we enjoyed enough to purchase an additional glass of. Very similar to a German Riesling).

Top photo is a sparkling moscato that is a favorite of ours! If you like sweet and a slightly effervescent wine, this is worth a glass or bottle, even if it’s not on the tasting list that week. It’s the wine we enjoyed several bottles of at our reception, due to a generous hostess and loving friends. Bottom two pictures from our visit this last weekend – the red a Tuscan Chianti and the white a Loire Vouvray (which, we enjoyed enough to purchase an additional glass of. Very similar to a German Riesling).

Craig and I have frequented Cata
Vinos for about three years now – we originally stopped in one morning on our way to another function, way before the tasting time began (the shop is open for business, even though tasting may not yet be occurring), but owner Yvonne was slow and more than happy to serve us regardless. We were so impressed with the service and quality of wine, we’ve “popped” in here and there ever since.

Meet the Cata Vinos staff! (Well, some of them!) Yvonne, the lovely young lady in the photo at the left, Cuvee the handsome canine and the little monster on my husband's lap is Vino.

Meet the Cata Vinos staff!
(Well, some of them!)
Yvonne, the lovely young lady in the photo at the left, Cuveé the handsome canine and the little monster on my husband’s lap is Vino. And yes, he will try to steal your nomz.

In fact, we had our local wedding reception there when we returned from our California beach wedding, where she was her typical gracious self, adding on an extra bottle as her gift to us.

Pictures from our local reception at Cata Vinos. Craig and I on the bottom, along with my best friend of about 20 years, Amanda (top right), and one of my dearest friends Cassanda (top right). Amanda drove from Phoenix to attend,  and Cassandra from clear across town - both were impressed with the prices, service and atmosphere!

Pictures from our local reception at Cata Vinos. Craig and I on the bottom, along with my best friend of about 20 years, Amanda (top right), and one of my dearest friends Cassanda (top left). Amanda drove from Phoenix to attend, and Cassandra from clear across town – both were impressed with the prices, service and atmosphere! Both keep asking when we’re all going back!

Yvonne is always on the premise as well, chatting with regulars (she never seems to forget a face), getting to know new patrons and often times doing some of the pouring.
Aside from the pallet cleansers, small tapas style plates of meats and cheeses or olives are also available for an additional cost, if you want a little something more to nosh with your nip (I don’t eat meat, but the cheeses and olives are absolutely luxurious).
Pours have always been generous (let’s say on the very full side of what’s legal for a “tasting” in Arizona), service phenomenal and a warm, cozy atmosphere that simply can’t be beat.

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Some weekends feature live music on the patio, however it’s always comfortable enough to carry on conversions without screaming. Again, check the website and sign up for her newsletter to know what’s happening when. Yvonne always seems to have something unique and fun going on.
In all the times we’ve sat in one of her seats, we’ve never had a bad wine. Granted, a few weren’t really our preference, but never anything that tasted cheap, watered down, sour, “skunked” or just downright unpalatable. Flights are always hand picked and compliment each other beautifully, as do the cheeses and crackers selected to accompany each week’s flight.
Do yourself a huge favor and stop into Cata Vinos for a sip and snack soon! Browse her vast selection of vino, admire the ambiance and get to know Yvonne; one of Tucson’s few, true hidden gems.

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