A Vine Adventure
A growing part of the “Sedona experience” for many visitors is an encounter with local viticulture. Winemaking throughout Northern Arizona has climbed on the fast track in recent years, with vineyards, winemakers and tasting rooms popping up everywhere. It would be easy to assume that this is “oh by the way” wine, meant to cash in on Sedona’s popularity as a tourist destination. In fact, local producers are creating enduring, award-winning wines of considerable distinction.
Newcomers to area winemaking may be surprised at the high quality, considering Arizona’s reputation for hot temperatures and desert landscape. Northern Arizona, it turns out, offers significant advantages in climate, soil and growing conditions. With plenty of sunshine and a long growing season, many grape types flourish here.
While the rising profile of Arizona wines is a recent development, winemaking in the Copper State is not. Spanish missionaries brought Old World growing methods and grapes to the American Southwest as early as the sixteenth century. Once their sporadic efforts at cultivation subsided, permanent vineyards were a long time in coming.
Commercial use of Arizona grapes got underway in the early 1980’s. Despite the late start compared to other, better known winemaking regions, such as California, Arizona has already proved a good home to several thriving varietals. A nice mix of both reds and whites have matured into worthy estate wines here.
So what to do to enjoy the best local wines? You can visit the scene of the crime, at four nearby vineyards, or stop in at any of a dozen tasting rooms within a half hour radius of Sedona Real.
Fifteen minutes south of the hotel, three wineries sit just a stone’s throw apart in Page Springs. Situated in the Oak Creek watershed, they benefit from a potent combination of abundant sunlight, efficient hillside drainage and hospitable, volcanic soil. The result is a lovely mix of reds and whites, including a sparkler or two.
While each of the three produces both reds and whites, it is fair to say that Page Springs Cellars has had great success with Rhone-style red varietals. Javelina Leap knocks out peppery, earthy reds, and Oak Creek Vineyards excels at crisp, well-rounded whites.
Another waterside vineyard is Alcantara, overlooking the Verde River, just a few hundred yards from the confluence with Oak Creek. Known for robust reds and nicely balanced whites, Alcantara produces estate wines as well as blends using grapes sourced in Arizona and elsewhere.
All four of these wineries offer tasting, occasional cellar and/or vineyard tours and of course, wine for purchase by the bottle or case. Three of the four accommodate visitors on a deck or patio overlooking the water. All four serve edible accompaniments such as Panini, cheese, deli items and more.
In Sedona proper, four tasting rooms showcase local wines. Four more can be found in Old Town Cottonwood, twenty minutes from the hotel. Jerome has three of its own, about thirty minutes away. Some tasting rooms represent a single area vineyard or producer; some sell wines produced from local as well as out-of-state grapes.
Even Yavapai College is in the wine business. The college just broke ground at the new Southwest Wine Center, where students in the viticulture and enology degree program will learn their craft by cultivating seventeen acres of grapes.
Sedona Real is the ideal jumping off point for all your area wine touring. Close to in-town venues, you will also be nearer here than at any other Sedona hotel to Page Springs, Cottonwood and Jerome.
Here is a list of options for your tasting pleasure.
In Page Springs: Page Springs Cellars; Oak Creek Vineyards; Javelina Leap.
In Camp Verde: Alcantara Winery.
Tasting rooms and Wineries.
In Sedona: Sedona Wine and Beer Company; Made In Arizona; The Art Of Wine; Tasting Arizona.
In Cottonwood: Arizona Stronghold; Pillsbury Wine Company; Old Town Wine Cellar; Burning Tree Cellars.
In Jerome: Merkin & Caduceus Cellars; Jerome Winery; Grapes; Bitter Creek Winery.
Join us at Sedona Real Inn & Suites this summer! We are having a great special from May 28th-August 15th. Stay 2 nights and save 20%. Stay 3 nights or more and save 25%! Find out more here: sedonareal.com or us at 800-353-1239. Our concierge team can make all your arrangements for winery visits, dining and Sedona activities.
Blog contributed by: Tod Young, Concierge at Sedona Real Inn & Suites