I had previously written a summary article about Arizona’s Wine Industry, but I had never taken the time to actually visit some of the wineries and taste some wine. My wife and I decided we would visit some of the northern Arizona wineries first. We set out to Prescott to set up a wine tour base camp with the objective to visit wineries south of Sedona in the Verde Valley and also tour the Chino Valley area.
ALCANTARA WINERY FACTS
From Prescott we drove State Highway 69 to Dewey and took State Highway 169 to Interstate 17. We traveled north on I-17 to State Highway 260 then took the exit driving toward Cottonwood. After approximately 7 miles, we turned right on Thousand Trails Road and arrived at the Alcantara Winery turn-off to the left, just before a huge RV park front gate. The Winery was located down a windy gravel road on the banks of the Verde River. My wife did not appreciate the narrow, windy road, but it really is not that bad.
Alcantara Vineyards and Winery sits on an 87 acre tract that has approximate 20 acres in vines and a potential to plant about 22 more acres in the future. We proceeded to the wine tasting room and met our wine server Jennifer and another couple, Ron and Phyllis. With Jennifer pouring our wines, all of us had a great time tasting and discussing the 16 wine offerings of Alcantara. Of the 16 wines, we were told that 9 were made from grapes grown on site and the others were made from grapes purchased from other vineyards. There was a nominal fee to taste the wine, but Jennifer happily wrapped our two included complimentary wine glasses for our trip home.
ALCANTARA FEATURED WINES
White wines that Alcantara features include Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and a Merlot Rose. Red wines included Merlot, Mourvedre, Confluence IV, Sangiovese, Syrah, Nebbiolo, Cabernet Sauvignon and a blended wine. A true dessert wine called Moscato was also a part of their wine offering.
OTHER NORTHERN ARIZONA WINERIES
Of course, there are other wineries in the area that are just a few miles away in Cornville, Arizona. You could stop at the Page Springs Winery where Eric Gromski will happily meet and greet you with wine tasting and a tour of the place. Near there, owner Deb Wahl has developed the Oak Creek Vineyards that tout their stainless steel rather than oak vats. You will have an interesting time visiting Javelina Leap Vineyard and meeting Cynthia and Ron Snapp. Two of their best customer greeters are “Vinny”, a 255 pound mastiff, and the wispy haired “Diva”, a Chinese Crested.
The second day we drove State Highway 89 from Prescott to Chino Valley. Our goal was to visit and enjoy the Granite Creek Winery. This winery sits on a 100 year old estate on the northeast end of the town of Chino Valley. Granite Creek Winery is one of only a handful of wineries in American that is a Certified Organic Wine producer with no added sulfites. The rustic, sway back, double door red barn serves as the main eye catcher when arriving at the winery. The front entrance was shaded so well by several trees that we missed the entrance to it not only once but twice.
PLANNING A WINE TOUR
Each of the wineries I mentioned above will surprise you with the wines that they offer. When planning a tour, visit their individual web sites to get the specifics regarding when they are open, wine tasting fees, directions and wine offerings. Many of these wineries offer discounts on multiple bottle and case orders. Maybe you can arrange to have your purchase shipped home. In any event, you will find friendly people that work hard to make Arizona Wines notable.
My last comment is to buy the wine you like, store it properly in a wine appliance, serve it at just the right temperature and enjoy it with one of Arizona’s great sunsets.