Wine Part I: Arizona Wines


Situated in Northern Arizona, the Verde Valley Wine Trail has gained national recognition for its amazing vineyards and winemakers. This region is consistently producing award-winning wines.

The Verde Valley Wine Trail spans an area of overwhelming beauty that covers Sedona, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, Cornville and Camp Verde. Along the trail are four featured wineries: Oak Creek Vineyards, Javelina Leap Vineyards, Page Springs Cellars and Alcantara Vineyards. In addition to the vineyards, there are five tasting rooms to sip on the local goods. The tasting rooms are Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Pillsbury Wine Company, Bitter Creek Winery, Jerome Winery and Caduceus Cellars.

Bob and Barbara Predmore own the Alcantara Vineyard. Ms. Predmore spent several years studying the craft of winemaking before starting this venture. After four years researching with consultants from University of California:Davis and the University of Arizona, she started the vineyard with support from her family and experts at the Martin-Weyrich Vineyard in California. Her aim is to produce a wine that rivals those from Europe and California.

When tasting along the Verde Valley Wine Trail, look for some affordable lodging options in Cottonwood. These range from charming bed and breakfasts to hotels to RV Parks, making it easy to stay local and explore the Verde Valley. Featured in Wine Enthusiast magazine, Annabel Inn is a quaint European cottage in Cottonwood that is walking distance from Old Town restaurants, shops and galleries.

Traveling south, the Sonoita and Elgin Wine Trail has nearly a dozen wineries and tasting rooms. The climate in this region allows Mediterranean and Spanish varietals such as Tempranillo, Petite Verdot, Sangiovese and Zinfandel to grow well. There is an array of award-winning wines coming out of this area from bold and complex to crisp and fruity, making it an ideal location to spend a day tasting wines. A few of the vineyards in this region include Callaghan Vineyards, Charron Vineyards, Four Monkey Winery and Rancho Rossa Vineyards.

Four Monkey Winery is best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Playful Monkey. This wine was the 2007 Governor’s Choice Wine Competition Silver Medal Winner. Other local award winners include Village of Elgin Winery’s Dry Rosé, which was a Governor’s Choice Best of Class in the Rosé category.

Retired soil scientist from the University of Arizona, Dr. Gordon Dutt, founded Sonoita Vineyards. Along with colleague Blake Brophy, this pair started the first experimental vineyard in Southern Arizona in 1973. Combining the unique altitude of the Sonoita area with the intense Arizona sun, Sonoita Vineyards produces brilliant red color grapes with the perfect amount of acidity.

If touring along the Eglin Wine Trail, consider a stay at the Xanadu Getaway Ranch. This is a hybrid bed and breakfast that is one the oldest homesteads in Sonoita. The ranch offers shuttle services and customizable tours to the local wineries, allowing guests to relax and unwind safely and in style.

About the Author

Bobby Fitzgerald

Bobby Fitzgerald is a 20 year restaurant veteran and passionate foodie. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and began working at the legendary Dancing Crab as a teenager. After studying culinary arts and food management at Johnson & Wales University, Bobby was a chef in Napa Valley and spent six years with Houston's Restaurants opening restaurants in five U.S. cities. In 1999 he started his company which today has locations in four states under The White Chocolate Grill and Cinzetti's Italian Market brands, serving 25,000 meals a week in from-scratch kitchens. All-the-while Bobby has dined in more restaurants then most food critics and creating fresh recipe ideas is a big part of his life. Bobby lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and three children and serves on the Board of Directors of The Arizona Restaurant Association as well as the Phoenix-Metro American Cancer Society. His current projects include Restaurants Against Cancer where Bobby is rallying the restaurant community to support camps for kids with cancer by donating the food and supplies needed to run the camps.  Bobby is the author of "The Customer First Manager" available at Amazon.com.