Mon, March 30

Editorial: Verde Valley leading charge in success of AZ wine industry

The Verde Valley’s stock in the Arizona wine industry has taken a big leap in the past week.

First, on the education front, the Cottonwood Economic Development Council Monday will present a $10,000 pledge for the Yavapai College Verde Campus Southwest Wine Center.

The Southwest Wine Center will include a 15-20 acre vineyard, planted in the foothills of the Verde Valley campus, will provide students with hands-on, scientific experience in vineyard establishment and management including, plant science, water management, vine selection, land preparation and planting and harvesting the grapes. Students will learn about producing wine and the marketing and business part of running a winery. The winery will have both production areas and barrel and case storage that will produce 3,000 cases of Yavapai College-labeled wine per year. The winery will be complete with a tasting room and patio. The Yavapai College Foundation will run the wine sales and tasting operations.

“We are sending a big message to the community that the CEDC supports great economic development initiatives such as the Southwest Wine Center. This is a big deal for us, the wine industry and Yavapai College,” said Casey Rooney, Economic Development Director for the City of Cottonwood.

In addition, last week two key players in the Verde Valley wine industry were elected to important positions on the Arizona Wine Growers Association. Barbara Predmore of Alcantara Vineyards is the new Verde Valley Regional Vice President, and Cottonwood Economic Development Director Casey Rooney is the association’s new secretary.

And next week, one of Camp Verde’s key economic drivers of the year returns with the 13th annual Pecan, Wine & Antiques Festival. It’s also important to note that the creation of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium was key to the revitalization of Old Town Cottonwood. The future of the Verde Valley’s economic strengths no doubt lies in the expansion of professionals in the wine industry.

Finally, consider this: The Arizona Office of Tourism reports that the Arizona wine industry generates about $18.1 million in direct spending, plus an additional $15 million in indirect revenue.

Success breeds success and the Verde Valley is leading the charge in the success of the wine industry in Arizona.

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