Sedona/Verde Valley Wines & Vineyards

•  Tasting tour down Page Springs Road
In terms of the Verde Valley wine industry, page Springs road is where it all began. In 1998, new York Attorney John Marcus took a chance and opened Echo Canyon vineyards and winery on not far from the famous springs. Over the last few years, several other vineyards and wineries have followed suit, including Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery and Javalina Leap Vineyard and Winery. Today Echo Canyon is for sale, but the others are open and a main attraction for visitors following the Verde Valle wine trail. Page Springs Road runs between Cornville and State Route 89A.

•  Tasting rooms of Cottonwood’s Old Town
If one town has successfully tied itself to the valley’s wine industry, it is Cottonwood. Today there are several wine tasting rooms in Old Town. They include Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Burning Tree Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Company and Fire Mountain. Spread along the funky shopping district, the tasting rooms are a huge draw and bring in hundreds of visitors a week. They have also brought in other businesses such as antique dealers, art galleries and specialty shops.

•  Sip a glass in historic Jerome
Jerome needs no introduction. The funky former mining town, perched on the slopes of Cleopatra Hill is known far and wide for its eclectic charm. But in recent years it has added a few wine tasting rooms to the list of charming businesses, including the Jerome Winery (Cellar 433), Passion Cellars and Caduceus  Cellars (Arizona Stronghold Vineyards), founded by recording artist Maynard James Keenan.

•  Sip a glass on the Verde River and watch the eagles
Alcantara owners Bob and Barbara Predmore have created the quintessential Tuscan vineyard experience, on the banks of the Verde River where it meets Oak Creek. The vineyard’s 13,000 vines produce 12 varietals wines, which can be enjoyed from the tasting room’s “patio with a view.” This picturesque setting is also home to a breeding pair of bald eagles that arrive every winter and nest in the cliffs above the confluence. The eagles are typically around throughout the winter and spring, heading north in late May along with their fledglings. Alcantara is located off State Route 260 via Thousand Trails Road. Follow the signs.

•  How many painted wine barrels can you find
The “Painted Barrel Project” is a public art exhibit being coordinated through the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce. The project celebrates artistic excellence and diversity in the Verde Valley.  The painted barrels have become fixtures throughout the Verde Valley and have become an identifying factor to the region. The first year of the project saw about 40 barrels go to auction, and most of those barrels are in the Verde Valley and Sedona. Another 40 barrels are expected to be ready for auction in 2013. All together, it is estimated that close to 60 painted barrels are currently in locations throughout the Verde Valley at wineries, tasting rooms and other businesses.

•  Take a Water to Wine canoe/kayak trip on the Verde
One of the most unique and popular tours available to visitors in the valley is the “Water to Wine” tour offered by Sedona Adventure Tours and Verde River Rafting.The tours launch in the middle of February and run throughout the spring, summer and fall. The tour begins with a one-hour trip in an inflatable “ducky’ kayak on a scenic section of the river that has just enough riffles to get a thrill without all the risk. The river trip finishes beneath a grove of cottonwoods and a pathway leading to Alcantara Vineyards were a wine tasting awaits. The entire adventure lasts about three to four hours. For more information visit http://www.sedonaadventuretours.com/

•  Verde Canyon Railroad Grape Escapes
The Verde Canyon Railroad’s Grape Train Escape wine-tasting events are scheduled for selected dates of the Saturday Starlight Rides.  During the Starlight Tours specialty options are offered for these romantic summer evenings. In first class, the Grape Train Escape is a rolling wine-tasting event with select wines paired with special appetizers. For information on Grape Train Escape dates and reservations, call (800) 582-7245 or go online to info@verdecanyonrr.com. Verde Canyon Railroad is located at 300 N. Broadway in Clarkdale.

•  Yavapai College’s Southwest Wine Center
The Southwest Wine Center, located at 601 Black Hills Dr. on the Verde Valley campus of Yavapai College, will soon be the premier academic center supporting wine growers throughout the southwest United States. The Center plans to grow 100 percent of its own wine in a state-of-the art, on-campus winery. A tasting room also is planned. The Center will serve as a hub for education, research and economic development for the young and rapidly developing viticulture industry in the Verde Valley.  Going beyond sustainability, the Center is developing a “best practices” approach to wine making and grape growing in an arid region. The Center’s winery is designed to be state-of-the-art environmental facility, emphasizing efficiency in its buildings heating, cooling, lighting and insulation. The building’s large roof will collect water for storage, making the Center a zero-water use facility.





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