9 Central Arizona Wineries and Tasting Rooms to Try

Arizona’s Verde Valley is home to the Grand Canyon State’s burgeoning wine industry. Here are nine labels not to miss 

By Kelly Vaughn

Cottonwood’s quirky tasting rooms and restaurants have emerged as the heart of the booming Verde Valley Wine Trail. Photo by Dawn Kish.

Named for a circle of 16 cottonwood trees near the Verde, one of Arizona’s last free-flowing rivers, Cottonwood was founded as a farming settlement in 1879. Hay, grain and vegetables thrived in the rich, river-fed soil — as did grasses, cactuses, and mesquite and juniper trees. Today, though, that same sweet dirt is best known as the foundation for the state’s wine culture.

Many Arizona wineries — Alcantara, Caduceus (powered by Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan), Javelina Leap, Arizona Stronghold and Page Springs Cellars among them — have popped up in the Verde Valley over the past decade, taking advantage of the sunshine and rocky soil that grows enviable grapes. Stress, it seems, causes a vine to produce fewer but more intensely flavored fruit — brave, bold fruit that makes the type of wine that master makers (and consumers) crave. In turn, the wineries have sparked the Verde Valley Wine Trail. Here are nine of the winemakers that have brought new life to the region.

COTTONWOOD

Alcantara Vineyards and Winery

3445 S. Grapevine Way

alcantaravineyard.com

Arizona Stronghold Vineyards

1023 N. Main St.

azstronghold.com

Burning Tree Cellars

1040 N. Main St.

burningtreecellars.com

Fire Mountain Wines

1010 N. Main St.

firemountainwines.com

Pillsbury Wine Company

1012 N. Main St.

pillsburywine.com

Winery 101

747 N. Main St.

winery101.com

CORNVILLE

Javelina Leap Vineyard & Winery

1565 N. Page Springs Rd.

javelinaleapwinery.com

Page Springs Cellars

1500 N. Page Springs Rd.

pagespringscellars.com

JEROME

Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room

158 Main St.

caduceus.org

Trail Mix // Click here to join us as we explore Cottonwood, the heart of the Verde Valley Wine Trail.