"This shows that our arduous efforts have been fruitful."
The Verde Valley in Yavapai County, which stretches from Camp Verde, Arizona up into to Jerome and Clarkdale, has just been declared an American Viticultural Area — the third span of land in Arizona to join the club.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau made it official, and this designation put Verde Valley’s unique geography, topography, soils, and climate on the radar of out-of-towners. Additionally, it’s now a federally recognized grape-growing region.
Arizona’s first two AVAs were Sonoita and Willcox and now Verde Valley has the opportunity to describe the specific origin of the grapes used to make their savory wines. The entire designation process was four years in the making.
“I am ecstatic with this announcement,” said Tom Schumacher, president of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium. “The Verde Valley AVA petition was submitted to the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau by the Verde Valley Wine Consortium in 2017. This shows that our arduous efforts to submit the petition have been fruitful.”
An admirable landscape
It’s possible you’ve driven through the area while heading up to Flagstaff or Sedona.
The Verde Valley spans across an area of 219 square miles in the northeastern Yavapai County centered on the junction of Oak Creek and the Verde River — approximately 79 square miles is privately owned land.
Grapes, acres, and tasting rooms galore
According to the Verde Valley Wine Trail, the valley includes 19 commercial vineyards farming more than 136 acres of wine grapes, and 24 additional vineyard acres are planned within the next three years. Oh, and most importantly — for wine drinkers — the region has at least 25 tasting rooms.
The vineyards grow more than 40 wine grape varieties to produce wine, including the white grape varieties Malvasia Bianca, Viognier, Chardonnay, Vermentino, Seyval Blanc, and Picpoul Blanc. Red grape varieties in the Verde Valley include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Tannat, and Barbera.
For more information about the Verde Valley AVA, visit verdevalleyava.org.