Verde Valley Wineries

Forget Napa Valley's wine tours when you are looking for a great glass of wine. The Verde Valley has its own. With its volcanically enriched soil, good water, plenty of sunshine, cold nights, and warm days, Arizona is the perfect place for a vineyard.

To begin visiting your "liquid landscape in a bottle," as Page Springs Cellars owner and winemaker Eric Glomski quotes, try visiting Page Springs Cellars itself, first on your list. As the process of fine wine making is as enjoyable as discovering the perfect bottle of wine, Page Springs Cellars offers tours of what a vigneron does exactly.

Glomski demonstrates how the influences of a good wine begin with the soil and ends with the quality of the barrel it is stored in. With Page Springs Cellars growing their own grapes and bottling their wines on the premises, experiencing what goes into the making of a fine bottle of wine gives one a new appreciation of wine itself.

Page Springs Cellars is located on Page Springs Road on the banks of the Oak Creek, offering guests the opportunity to find their favorite glass of wine in the tasting room and enjoy it in a pristine setting.

The tasting room is open Thursday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and tours are available by appointment. All 2003 wines are available and the 2004 crush is complete. Offering a stunning Syrah and hopeful to introduce the wonderful grape, Carignan, to you in the near future, Page Springs Cellars also made two different whites this year -- Viognier and Malvasia. The Viognier will be a fairly big and ageable wine and the Malvasia will be an early release as it is lighter and fruitier. 2004 was a ripe year and Glomski cautions that the wines are going to be rich with fairly high alcohol levels. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Eric Glomski at 639-3004 or visit the Web site at www.pagespringscellars.com.

Once you have enjoyed your Page Springs Cellars winery experience, just a stones throw away on Page Springs Road is the Oak Creek Winery. Deb Wahl, owner and winemaker, offers you another perfect country setting with gourmet wines and excellent cheese plates.

"Arizona is perfect for wine making," says Wahl. "Especially for hearty reds."

Wahl planted her crop three years ago and opened the tasting room a year after that. Watching the popularity of wine tasting increase, Wahl feels having multiple vineyards close by to each other is perfect.

"People want to go wine hopping and our location is perfect for that."

Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery are producing full bodied, flavorful reds, and crisp lean whites in small batches. Attention to every barrel is emphasized. With expansion every year, Wahl is planning to produce an additional 250+ cases in 2005.

The tasting room is open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and if you schedule your trip on the weekend, Deb Wahl is there to meet you and discuss the subtleties of her Chardonnay or the spices of her best wine, the 2000 Zinfandel. For information, contact Wahl at 649-0290 or visit the Web at www.oakcreekvineyards.net.

From the Oak Creek Vineyard, sober up before traversing into the scenic hills of Jerome. The Jerome Winery sits on Cleopatra Hill and is between Prescott and Sedona in the historic town of Jerome. Its views are as intoxicating as the vino.

Featuring over 30 uniquely handcrafted, individually distinct wines, owner John McLoughlin's philosophy is very spartenistic; "create wines that are enjoyable for the novice and the connoisseur alike."

Starting with a sassy white Zinfandel, one transcends through the lighter wines such as the Pinot Grigio and Mourvedre, progressing to the more robust red Zinfandel and Syrah, finishing with the smooth Muscat and Champagne.

For masterful enjoyment, McLoughlin reserves library wines including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Syrah, 15-year-old Port, and others soon to be added.

The Jerome Winery has a lovely European setting with a veranda overlooking the colorful town of Jerome. With a stunning view of the red rocks of Sedona, it is available for a variety of events. Engagements include company outings, private parties, corporate and executive meetings, weddings, and popular food and wine pairing events. All functions are offered as a formal sit down or a casual buffet.

In addition, the Jerome Winery offers executive chef dinners several times each year pairing exquisite cuisine with newly released wines. Some sample pairings include Dill Salmon Rolatan with Pinot Noir and Ventian Bow Tie Pasta with Cuesa Sangiovese.

The tasting room is open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information on events, call John McLoughlin at 639-9067 or e-mail him at info@jeromewinery.com.

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