In 2013, the Norton family began planting Italian varietal grapes on their Camp Verde farm located on Salt Mine Road. Five of the varietals are primary, Kevin Norton said, though there are eight varietals in all at the 5.5-acre farm.
Three months ago, Salt Mine Wine opened.
“When people come up here they get to know the family, they get to learn about the endeavor,” says Chip Norton, Kevin’s brother and business partner. “For us, the more this experience appeals to them, they’ll come back.”
The bulk of Salt Mine Wine’s client base is “the locals,” Kevin Norton says.
“They come back, like to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine,” he says. “But we’re starting to see more people coming from the Phoenix area, doing the Verde Valley wine trail.”
Chip Norton says the wine industry is “an expensive hobby.”
“I like all parts of it, the vineyard and the wine tasting,” he says. “An enjoyable way for me to spend my time.”
Chip Norton calls Salt Mine Wine a “boutique vineyard.”
“We’re unique that at the beginning, what we wanted to do was have a small vineyard, a family operation where Kevin is doing all the heavy lifting,” he says. “We’re doing everything. The plan is limited production, really strong personal interaction between the family and the patrons.”
So connected to the personal experience that Kevin Norton says the family business is “not interested in developing a regional or statewide brand.”
“We’re focused on this area and we’re contributing to Camp Verde’s agritourism,” Kevin Norton says.
For folks out of the area who want to make sure the wine they want is available, they can call and arrange to buy wine, Kevin Norton says.
“We don’t ship anything,” Kevin Norton says. “It all happens here.”
Who harvests the wine? Friends and family, the brothers say.
“The median age might be 65,” he says. “It might be higher. It’s a good time. Everyone comes out to help. It’s not so much a commercial thing as much as a family and friends experience.”
What and when
Hours at Salt Mine Wine are from noon until 5 p.m. on Saturdays. But the establishment is also open during holidays and Camp Verde’s signature functions, such as Fort Verde Days, coming up Oct. 12-14.
Address is 536 Salt Mine Road. Call 928-910-2075 for more information, or visit saltminewine.com or follow Salt Mine Wine at Facebook.com/saltminewine.