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Flying Leap Vineyards [Spotlight]

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Ironically, some of our staff have been enjoying Flying Leap wines for years but only recently found out they were veteran owned. 

Turns out that this southern Arizona vineyard is the brainchild of Mark Beres, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy who then embarked on a diverse and wide-ranging career as a pilot. Starting out as a C-5 pilot working global airlift missions, he went on to serve as an instructor pilot before switching to rotary-wing aircraft. 

Specifically, he flew the unique MH-53 Pave Low helicopter for Air Force Special Operations Command. Following his time in special operations, Beres went to Naval Test Pilot School, working as both a developmental and operational test pilot before finally being medically retired due to injury. 

Growing up in Washington State, with a background in agriculture, Beres already had some familiarity with the wine industry. Seeing an opportunity in Arizona, where demand for wine was growing and land was inexpensive, he started Flying Leap Vineyards. 

Originally, the goal of the operation was to provide grapes to smaller regional wineries, but they eventually started bottling under their own label. However, there’s far more to Flying Leap than wine. 

They also produce an array of unique spirits, including lavender brandies, cask-aged grappa, and blue corn bourbon aged in maple syrup barrels. They even have the advantage of reusing their wine barrels for their spirits. For example, they have a double-oaked Wine Country Rye whiskey that ages in port wine casks. 

While the vineyard and distillery are located in Elgin, Arizona, they have several tasting rooms around the state including Scottsdale, Tucson, and Tubac (the photo shown here was taken at their Tubac location). If you happen to be passing through Arizona, we encourage you to stop into any of their locations and have a pour. 

Otherwise, you can browse their web store at Flying Leap Vineyards.

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