Verde Valley ranked 4th on national list of best wine regions
Verde Valley tabbed by USA Today ahead of California areas
COTTONWOOD – The release of the most recent USA Today’s “America’s Best Wine Region” Awards includes the Verde Valley.
The Verde Valley ranks fourth on the list of U.S. locations with strong winery communities, placing behind Finger Lakes, N.Y., Leelanau Peninsula, Mich., and Temecula Valley, Calif.
The USA Today staff asked a panel of wine industry experts to pick their favorite American AVAs and wine regions, and the newspaper’s readers voted for their favorites from a pool of 20 nominees.
Michael Pierce, director of Enology at Yavapai College, said he feels the aesthetics of the area have a lot to do with drawing in people to visit the wineries in the area.
“We have something special here in the Verde Valley,” Pierce said. “The physical beauty of the area, along with welcoming small towns, help to support the wine scene.”
The Verde Valley outpaced some well-known wine and/or agricultural communities in the U.S. Ranked No. 5 was the Walla Walla Valley (Washington State), Monticello (Va.), Mendocino (Calif.), Lodi (Calif.), Texas Hill Country and Paso Robles (Calif.).
The No.-1 ranking for Finger Lakes was the second in a row for the New York region, while California nearly always has at least one region in the top five. The U.S. is home to 244 American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs – grape-growing regions designated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christian Oliva del Rio, said securing the No.-4 spot on such a list is a great honor for the area -- and the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
“At the Chamber, we serve not only our membership base promoting and encouraging local business, but we also serve as the destination marketing arm for the area to bring more awareness about what Cottonwood and the Verde Valley have to offer,” Oliva del Rio said.
Oliva del Rio said part of the destination marketing includes promotion of a local non-profit entity, the Verde Valley Wine Trail. In conjunction with the chamber’s destination marketing efforts to secure media placement, digital, print, and television marketing, it also promotes the wine industry through the same efforts.
“This accolade of being ranked so high reassures us of something we already knew: Our wine industry is amazing and more people should visit to sip, savor, and enjoy the product,” Oliva del Rio said.
Pierce pointed out that wine enthusiasts are often also, to an extent, history buffs, and luring them to the area allows the Verde Valley to then educate visitors on both its indigenous and Anglo heritage.
“We have a story, and a place to share with people, plus, world-class wines,” Pierce said. “It’s great to see this recognized on a national level.”
The full list can be found here: https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-wine-region-2019/