Yes, you can drink red wine in the summer in Arizona—you just have to head north. In the Verde Valley, the town of Cottonwood is at the heart of Arizona’s wine country. Surrounded by jagged mountains to the south and west, and named for the trees that grow along the Verde River, the town offers a welcome reprieve from the searing summer heat—paired with some darn good wine.
Unless you have a designated driver, plan to stay the night. We’re big fans of the Cottonwood Hotel, which is within walking distance of all our favorite tasting rooms.
Wines to Try:
The winery that arguably started it all, Arizona Stronghold began as a collaboration between Eric Glomaski and Maynard James Keenan (front man for Tool). While that partnership came to an end in 2014, the winery continues to crank out sip-worthy Sauvs.
There’s something enjoyable about tasting a wine that can’t be purchased anywhere outside of said tasting room. You won’t find any Burning Tree bottles at your local grocery, and we kind of like it that way. Call us snobs, but exclusivity is fun.
The Pillsbury grapes are actually grown down south, in Arizona’s other wine region of Sonoita. But the Cottonwood tasting room offers a more accessible spot to try their wine—and maybe meet Sam Pillsbury himself. Be sure to ask him about his journey from Hollywood filmmaker (by way of New Zealand!) turned Arizona winemaker—and pour a full glass to sip on while you listen.