Verde Valley Wine Tour Exploring Arizona’s overlooked wine scene in the Verde Valley Article Kory Kilmer | Photography Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce
e it the big city, the remote deserts, the golf, the Grand Canyon, or a variety of other things our state has to offer, Arizona is known as a destination that presents a little something for everybody. Not until recently, however, has the state’s little-known wine industry begun to stake its claim as one of the hottest markets across the country. A little known fact is that Arizona is one of the oldest wine-producing states in the U.S., beginning with the arrival of Spanish Jesuit Priests in the 16th century. The characteristics of the high desert regions of the state (between 4,200 and 5,200 feet in elevation) coupled with the hot days and cool nights make Arizona’s growing climate comparable to some of the world’s most renown wine-producing areas in Argentina. Three distinct regions make up the majority of vineyards in Arizona: The Sonoita/Elgin in Southern Arizona, the Wilcox in Southeastern Arizona, and the Verde Valley in Northern Arizona. Sonoita/Elgin Region
Having once been named one of the country’s “10 great places for local wines” by USA Today, the Sonoita/Elgin region in Southern Arizona may lay claim to the most critical success in the state. Wines from this region have also been recognized by industry leaders such as Wine Spectator and Food & Wine, and have accompanied meals served to dignitaries at the White House.
14 North Scottsdale Lifestyle | February 2014
The Wilcox Region in Southeastern Arizona is the most prolific grape producer in Arizona. Though this region was once little more than a supplier of the fruit to wineries across the state, the last few years have seen a boom of tasting rooms and national recognition. Verde Valley Region
Though either of the other two regions would be a great destination for any would-be sommelier, it is the Verde Valley Region in Northern Arizona that boasts the largest concentration of tasting rooms, including wines that have been labeled as “rising stars” by Wine Spectator and others that have been recognized by the Wall Street Journal.