Autumn at Page Spring Cellars, located in Arizona's Verde Valley
When most people picture Arizona, it's usually visions of cactus, red rock formations, and the Grand Canyon that spring to mind. Golf courses are about as verdant as the imagery gets.
But Arizona's Verde Valley yields a little-known secret: The Grand Canyon State can produce some pretty darn good vino. Seriously. Your supermarket may not yet have a section for Arizona appellations, but, as with Baja bottlers, it may be only a matter of time before the region earns a reputation for its vines. Hey, whoever thought Washington and Oregon would become major oenophile destinations? You never know.
The Verde ("Green") Valley is located a grape's throw away from Sedona, the artistic community famed for its red rocks, pine-scented canyons, and hippie-luring vortices. That puts it about midway between the Grand Canyon's South Rim and Phoenix -- close enough for a day trip from either of the two. At least four wineries, comprising the Verde Valley Wine Trail, call the valley home: Alcantara Vineyard, Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards, and Javelina Leap Vineyards.
Eric Gomski, Page Springs Cellars Owner & Winemaker says, "2009 is one of those rare vintages where everything was perfect: no rain, perfect temperatures, and no late season frost. The harvest was not only bountiful, but the character of the young wines indicates this year's grapes will produce one of the finest vintages ever."
If you want to get in on the secret, visit the Verde Valley Wine Trail website for more information, including harvest times, events, and special rates.