When people hear “Arizona” they usually think about a cactus in the desert, or cowboys and Indians in the Open West. Most people do not think of vineyards or wineries on a wine trail, but it’s happened!
Presently there are four wineries: Alcantara Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars, Javelina Leap Vineyards, and Oak Creek Vineyards; and four tasting rooms: Caduceus Cellars, Jerome Winery, Arizona Stronghold Tasting Area, as well as the Pillsbury Wine Company Tasting Room North. The Wine Trail is continually expanding as new wineries and tasting rooms start.
In March the new Arizona Stronghold Tasting Area opened in Old Town Cottonwood. Serving Arizona Stronghold Wineries, Page Springs Cellars, and Burning Tree Cellars wines, it is the perfect spot to stop in to get a tasting. Another tasting area on the other side of the road from Arizona Stronghold Tasting Area will open in April. The Pillsbury Wine Business Tasting Area North will serve wine from Pillsbury Wine Business, which includes Freitas Vineyards found in Cottonwood and a vineyard in southern Arizona, near Sedona.
The Sedona/Verde Valley is one of the most beautiful areas in Arizona with the amazing red rocks of Sedona and Mogollon Rim to the north along with east, the panoramic hills of artsy Jerome, the luscious Verde River and Oak Creek, and the Black Hills and Mingus Mountain dominating the western and southern portions of the valley. The valley is also rich with recreational actions, artwork, and culture. There are several state parks and national monuments in the area that allow for outside recreational chances. The Verde Valley is not only among the most amazing parts of Arizona, it’s an extraordinary spot to grow grapes and make delightful Arizona wine.
Verde Valley as a wine location comes to the surprise of many individuals, but the Verde Valley is extremely comparable to many of the great wine growing regions across the planet! The raising and clime also contribute to the achievement of growing grapes. The Verde Valley is at exactly the same level as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Iran, areas where grapes were first domesticated and the first wine was produced. The level is between 3,800 ft. and 5,000 ft. combined with the appropriate latitude supplies the ideal climate for growing grapes. It is hot through the day and a chilly at nighttime which stresses the grapes, the warmth is needed for sugar creation and also the cool nights is important for acid retention. With No striking change in temperature the grapes don’t cultivate character and intricacy! You may not get the amount which you would if you planted on a fertile plot of land but the quality is a lot better, and that’s what wine-growers strive for to make excellent wine.
Rod Snapp, Javelina Leap Winemaker, claims “Astonishingly, Arizona’s sun, heat, along with the unique rocky soils of the Verde Valley are an outstanding environment for growing grapes. The soils and trying growing conditions compel the vines to fight to endure which causes the vines to set their power into developing less ample but high quality, more intensely flavored fruit – merely the characteristics the winemaker desires to craft excellent wine.”
This previous year is a great year for Arizona wine; Arizona wineries have been winning awards and receiving recognition, and lately the Blood Into Wine movie merely came out. The Blood Into Wine documentary, about creating wine in Arizona focuses on Maynard James Keenan (vocalist of Tool and owner of Caduceus Cellars) and Eric Glomski (possessor of Page Springs Cellars) premiered February 19th, and is now in theaters nationally.
The Verde Valley, Az’s wine country is under-discovered but the folks who’ve been to the area and tasted the wine it produces attest to its excellence – rather a few wines have won national awards for their quality. The wine makers’ offers include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Viognier, Rousanne, Zinfandel, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, just to name several. Every winery has its unique personality and different wines for visitors to discover at each stop over the Wine Trail.