Arielle DeSoucey pours her heart into her career.
As Tap & Bottle’s wine director, she yearns to educate the public on vinification. She’ll lecture about “Desert Grapes: An Exploration into Arizona Viticulture” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, with the Center for Regional Food Studies at the UA Forge Building.
During the event, guests will learn about the viticultural decisions made by Arizona grape growers and wine producers, including what grapes grow best in the Arizona desert climate and what consumers can expect when purchasing an Arizona wine.
Those 21 and older are invited to stay for a complimentary guided tasting of two Arizona wines following the lecture.
“The main purpose of the lecture is to inform the community what grapes are grown in Arizona and why,” she said. “There’s a big gap in that knowledge. People assume because we’re so close to Arizona that we have the same grapes as California. It couldn’t be more different.
“That inspired me to make this lecture really focus on localized producers and their viticultural decisions.”
Born in New York, DeSoucey moved to Tucson two years ago. She studied in France during college and worked as a teacher in the Rhône Valley upon graduation.
When she returned to the States, she waitressed at a Washington, D.C., wine bar. She was told she had a good palate, and she should explore careers in the F&B industry.
She earned the WSET level-three certificate in 2012, moved to New York and got into hotel management, thanks to her knowledge of the French language.
DeSoucey started working toward other certifications and “really enjoyed it.” She and her husband moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to be closer to family and she took a job as a wine buyer.
She was hooked.
“It has taken over my life — in a good way,” she said with a laugh. “I love the history, sociology and chemistry, rather than representing it as an alcohol product. That’s where my interest lies.”
Before they moved to Tucson, she and her husband lived in the Czech Republic for his job from 2018 to 2021. There, DeSoucey created her own brand, Civil Wines.
In creating English-speaking videos and writing articles covering Czech wine, she injected an American spin on wine education in a foreign country.
“The transition from in-person tastings to virtual tastings expanded my reach, enabling me to host tastings around the world,” she said in a statement.
“The experience was unforgettable, a catalyst in my own personal wine journey. Whether you’re just getting started in wine or you want to learn more, I strive to be the answer to your wine questions, a friendly bridge between you and the enormous wine world.”
For two years, she has worked for Tap & Bottle. Now, she directs the wine program for Tap & Bottle, Tap & Bottle North and Westbound — all of which have curated bottle shops offering a wide selection of beer, wine, cider, seltzers, hard kombucha and nonalcoholic beverages.
“There was always wine with Tap & Bottle,” said DeSoucey, who will also host Wine Walk at Westbound at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. “The owners, Rebecca and Scott Safford, enjoy drinking wine, but they didn’t have a cohesive vision of where they wanted it represented.”
DeSoucey has a goal for her educational events.
“I try to host events that are a little more inviting, a little more community led, more so than trying to make people feel weird about wine,” she explained.
“Wine’s a complicated topic. I think people are intimidated by it. By doing these events and lectures, I open it up to people to have the conversation.”
Arielle DeSoucey: Desert Grapes: An Exploration into Arizona Viticulture
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26
WHERE: Forge Building at Roy Place, Catalina Room, 44 N. Stone Avenue, Tucson
Wine Walk at Westbound: Wines of the Southwest; Sip 15 Wines from Arizona and Mexico
WHEN: 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28
WHERE: Tap & Bottle Westbound, 267 S. Avenida del Convento, Tucson
INFO: 520-867-8308, https://bit.ly/TBWineWalkOct28