My initial instinct upon uncovering the wine regions was to keep them completely to myself. But... when it came time for my wine-loving parents to come visit me all the way from the deep South, I decided to share the love, and take them for a journey an hour or so north to the beautiful and soft-spoken wine region of Verde Valley.
This particular wine region has a handful of vineyards and tasting rooms, of which we had ambitiously preselected four to try out. We arrived at the first stop after a sharp divergence from Hwy 260 followed by several minutes of winding our way along the countryside to the sounds of James Taylor. Cresting the final hill, a picturesque villa atop acres and acres of sloping vineyard welcomed us. It was lovely.
And the tasting proved no less gratifying. We snagged one of the few tables in the backyard of the villa, and found ourselves nestled amid the rolling vineyard, glowing rocks of Sedona, and aside the quiet river bed of Oak Creek Canyon. They say you experience the soul of the wine from the terrain in which it’s grown. We had the pleasure of not only tasting, but surrounding ourselves in the distinct topography of the wine we sipped. After chatting with the winemakers themselves and signing their guest book boasting a grab bag of destinations, we departed with a half case of wine.
Our second stop belonged to an internationally known rock musician. Making our way into the lively “tasting room,” we were greeted by a tattooed staff member, which made perfect sense given the ownership. We made our flight selection, and were on our way to our second experience of brilliant wine. The staff was refreshing in their knowledge of the product, offering us tailored narration behind each subtlety we picked up on. Several bottles of the Viognier under our arm, and pleasantly surprised for the second time that day, we headed out and ventured towards stop number three.
In less than twenty minutes, we found ourselves at another charming estate, again with outside seating among the vineyard. We sampled their dessert wine, and as the sun began to set, we found ourselves content from a day’s worth of great conversation, and decided to call it a day.
Turns out… sharing the good times is better than having them all to yourself. Want to plan a trip of your own to some of Arizona’s vineyards? Grab your friends, family and a designated driver, and start learning about local vineyards with our helpful feature stories, Raise Your Glass and Exploring Arizona's Wine Regions.
Or, visit the Arizona Wine Grower’s Association.
Rebekah Bell is Advertising Manager for the Arizona Office of Tourism. She manages consumer advertising initiatives related to broadcast, print and outdoor media.