By Justen Ollendick, Arizona Farm Bureau: This week Arizona Agriculture has the privilege of meeting Robert Carlson III of Carlson Creek Vineyard in Cochise County! Carlson Creek Vineyard is located off Kansas Settlement Road, just outside of Willcox, which features the
An interview with Bob Carlson of Carlson Creek Vineyard – Willcox, Arizona
Part of an ongoing series about Arizona farming and ranching families.
Tell us about your farm, ranch, or agribusiness operation(s): Carlson Creek Vineyard is a family-owned vineyard and winemaking operation based in Willcox, AZ. We have 160-acres of vines that produce Rhone-style varietals of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon,
A common saying in the wine industry is that wine is made in the vineyard, emphasizing the importance of the way in which your grapes are grown.
We, and many
Bob Carlson and his sons, John (left) and Robert III, are establishing a solid reputation for Arizona wine-making.
Why did you choose to go into agriculture? I was a stockbroker with an appreciation for wine who was ready to leave corporate America, and with our family’s farming background this seemed like a natural fit.
What changes have you seen in your lifetime as it relates to farming, ranching, or agribusiness? The biggest change I’ve seen is the spotlight of consumer attention focused on farmers’ practices. An inquisitive and informed consumer no longer blindly accepts or trusts what his grocer put on the shelves. This focus started in the organic trend but has spread to all aspects of the food chain. It is my belief that this trend will not diminish but accelerate and become the norm at all levels of production.
Will anyone in your family -
The Carlson Creek Vineyard tasting room in Willcox.
Would you ever consider changing your business model? Always. The world moves fast and the modern farmer must find a balance between tradition and technology. To not do so is to be rendered obsolete. The modern business world has come to the farm and cannot be ignored.
What are your community activities? We support
Why are you involved? By combining our efforts we not only amplify the footprint of a great
What do you enjoy doing? There’s nothing like spending a day in the vineyard, whether it’s planting, harvesting or even fixing a water line. But another aspect of the business I also really enjoy is selling our final product, meeting with vendors and getting our wine in the hands of the consumer.
Why are you a farm bureau member? The bureau is the voice of farming. We are members because this organization protects us from ignorance in legislation and provides a forum for us to move forward as a greater industry.
How will the next generation of agribusiness leaders have to operate? Part showman, part politician, part preacher. They will have to be able to cut through the noise of the world while maintaining that sense of place and authenticity that allows them to tell our stories.
Not selling you, but talking with you. Not campaigning
“From our family to yours, we hope you enjoy our care and commitment to fine wine.” –Bob Carlson
Editor's Note: This makes our second wine-making farm family we've profile in our Arizona Agriculture series. Our first family, Meet Arizona Agriculture's Graham Family, appeared in April of 2014. Their Golden Rule Vineyards label is becoming another well-known Arizona wine. We plan to profile other wine-making farm families in the near future.