Sonoita and Elgin
Sonoita and Elgin's rich ranching history dates back to the 1800s when as many as 3,000 head of cattle a day were shipped from local ranches by rail to markets in the East. The settlements were founded when the Santa Fe Railroad built an 88-mile-long line that ran the full length of Sonoita Creek, from Benson to Nogales. Ranching is still an active industry with some families working the same land for five generations.
The Sonoita area's 4,970 foot elevation, high rolling grasslands, surrounded by spectacular mountains and canyons, provide some of Arizona's most beautiful weather and landscapes. Mount Wrightson, one of the tallest peaks in Arizona, dominates the horizon. Filmmakers have chosen the charming old west atmosphere and beauty of the Sonoita/Elgin area for several films including, "Oklahoma," "Red River," and more recently, "Tin Cup," "The Young Guns," "The Fantastiks," "Broken Lance," "Tom Horn" and television series such as, "The Young Riders" and "Gunsmoke."
Sonoita, Arizona's Wine Country, is home to several wineries that offer some of the best wines found outside of France. These vineyards represent a rapidly growing industry, which began some four decades in the Sonoita Valley. Each vineyard produces unique vintages which reflect the personalities and attitudes of their owners, from colorful picnic-style wine to serious award winning varietals.
Annual events center around horse shows, wine tastings, and events at the County Fairgrounds, located just south of the crossroads at Hwy 82 and Hwy 83. The Santa Cruz County Fair (last weekend in September), Sonoita Quarterhorse Show (the oldest in the nation), and the Sonoita Rodeo (Labor Day weekend) are just a few examples.