Did you know that there are vineyards and a wine trail just 90 minutes from Scottsdale? If you’re looking for a fun day trip with friends or have some out of town guests to entertain, why not check out The Verde Valley Wine Trail.
The Verde Valley is located in central Arizona, and it includes the towns of Sedona, Cottonwood, Jerome, Clarkdale, Campe Verde, Cornville and Lake Montezuma. It is appropriately named after the Verde River, which runs through the Valley.
On your first look at the Verde Valley you’ll know why this is Arizona’s grape growing country. The rocky soil, perpetual sunshine and temperatures (hot days, cool nights) have just the right balance to produce high-quality grapes.
The growing conditions are strenuous for the grape vines, but that stress results in very high quality fruit, even though there is less yield. The fruit used has intense flavors and, reportedly, results in incredibly good wines.
The vineyards have a variety of grapes and wines, both reds and whites. Many have won quality awards from wine critics.
There are four vineyards and six tasting rooms on the trail. The vineyards are Alcantara, Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek and Javelina Leap. The six tasting rooms on the trail are Burning Tree Cellars, Passion Cellars, Fire Mountain Wines, Pillsbury Wine Company and Stronghold Vineyards. More vineyards and tasting rooms are anticipated.
Three of the vineyards, Stronghold, Burning Tree Cellars and Page Springs have a “Passport” program. Enthusiasts who visit these tasting rooms and buy 1 bottle of wine at each and receive a free limited edition passport t-shirt.
What’s truly unique about Arizona wine country is the vistas. You’ll be right in the middle of the red rock areas, which are world-renowned for their beauty and serenity.
Beside the vineyard tours and tastings, there are plenty of activities in the area for every member of the family. You can ride the Verde Canyon Railroad to get a birds-eye view of the mountains, go to some of the ancient ruins or take a hike on any one of the many national park trails in the region.
Downtown Cottonwood has a variety of restaurants and shops to visit. The Chamber of Commerce has a unique art exhibit scattered around town – wine barrels painted by local artists. The wine barrels are periodically auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the local community college’s wine program.
If you choose to make your trip to the Verde Valley an overnight excursion, there are many hotel and resort choices in the area, including the renowned Enchantment Resort in Sedona and The Tavern Hotel in Cottonwood.
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