Wine Tasting In The Verde Valley From Sedona
We did wine tasting all over North America in 2019. So when we heard there were wineries in the area, we planned a day to go Sedona wine tasting in the Verde Valley (Green Valley).
Ice wines tastings in the Niagara Region of Canada started our year. We then enjoyed wine tasting experiences in Temecula and around the Napa Valley. Wine tasting in British Columbia let us explore the Fraser Valley wineries and the interesting wine region in the Okanagan Valley.
On our visit to Sedona, we stopped at 3 wineries – the DA Ranch, Javelina Leap and Chateau Tumbleweed. There were some interesting new varietals. And each of the wineries were very different in wines and wine tasting approach.
The Verde Valley Outside Of Sedona
Verde means “green”. The Verde Valley was a short drive outside of Sedona near Cottonwood. There was a wine map trail that we used as a base to start our exploration. The Verde Valley was located above the hot of the valley floor but below the cold of the mountains. This made it good for grape growing.
Grape harvesting (the “crush”) was typically done a little earlier in this region than in areas like California. Usually the crush season starts in late August to early September.
There were some wine tours available that took us around to different wineries. We even saw a bike wine tour when we visited the area. But we chose to drive to a few of the wineries. David has a much narrower range of wine likes that I do. So we shared wine flights and he could still drive.
Most of the wineries had actual vineyards to visit. But there was also a small area in the downtown area of Cottonwood with tasting rooms only. We did not visit the tasting rooms on this trip.
For this wine tasting trip, we looked for the smaller wineries. We wanted to avoid the bigger tour groups.
Our First Stop At The DA Ranch Winery
Our first stop was at the DA Ranch Winery. The DA stands for “Dancing Apache”. The winery was located on a working ranch. The dirt road in made us glad we rented a jeep! The grounds around the tasting room were lush and inviting. The tasting room was in a lovely wooden building with many rooms inside and a great broad porch to enjoy wine outside.
We got lucky and had the entire building to ourselves when we arrived. This meant we had amazing personalized service. And Becky was very patient as we set up our wine photo shots. A couple of small groups arrived as we left. This small winery does not encourage large tour groups to visit. But private events can be hosted.
We tasted our way through the Ranch Flight. This gave us one white wine, a rosé and two red wines. We were interested in the grape varietal “Tannat”. But when we learned it was perfectly paired with spicy food, we knew we would find it spicier than we liked. But I took a bottle of the rosé home. It was a nice refreshing wine.
The DA Ranch wines used 100% estate-grown grapes and release limited production wines. Other vintners had grapes planted on the property too. We loved the entire experience visiting DA Ranch when we went wine tasting in the Verde Valley.
Javelina Leap Winery For Wine Tasting Around Sedona
The second winery we planned to visit was the Javelina Leap Winery. It was a small winery. And David really hoped he would see the pygmy pigs (“Javelina”) that the winery was named for. Unfortunately he only found pig art. When we stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain in Tucson later on our trip, we finally did see a family of javelina.
The tasting room was very small and the crowds made getting any information very hard. The tasting menu had 9 wines and sangria on the menu. We picked 4 different red wines for our tasting. I found most of the wines we tasted to be very tart and too dry. But then I was surprised by the Red Canyon Cuvée. The cherry taste just popped in my mouth.
The winery had won many awards. We would have loved to learn a little bit more about the Javelina Leap wines when we went wine tasting in the Verde Valley.
A Stop To Eat
From the wine route on Hwy 50, we headed towards the small town of Cottonwood. We did the first two wine tastings on an empty stomach. So we needed to fix that before we did any more wine tasting in the Verde Valley!
We were drawn in when we saw a sign for the Black Bear Diner in Cottonwood. David was a bit disappointed that they really did not have bear on the menu. He loved to try new foods. But there was a broad menu and we had no trouble picking our lunch choices. Finishing the massive portions was a little more challenging!
We were most impressed to see that the restaurant credo was printed right on the placemats. It was clear that customer service was at the front of the restaurant offering. This was probably why this restaurant chain has grown so big!
Wine Tasting At Chateau Tumbleweed
Refreshed and full we went through Cottonwood to find Chateau Tumbleweed. I must admit I thought David had made up the name when he added this to our wine tour list. But I was certainly glad he found this spot.
Chateau Tumbleweed does not have its own vineyard. It buys most of its grapes from the Willcox area. And the vintners also work for some of the local wineries.
Chateau Tumbleweed had three different flights to try. One had just white and rosé wines. One served all red wines. And we tried the mixed flight and had a white, rosé and three red wines. At the end of the tasting, we also got to try a new release called The Bigness. We were intrigued by the wine names. And the creativity of the labels.
This was a young winery. They continued to experiment with both different varietals and with different mixes. The tasting room was small. But every guest was taken care of. We learned about the wines and the two wine regions in Arizona as we tasted. We learned there was a wine festival on in the Willcox area when we were booked to stay in Tucson. Perfect timing for us!
We were definitely glad we visited Chateau Tumbleweed when we went wine tasting in the Verde Valley.
A Short Detour Through Jerome
While we were in this part of the country, we decided to do a quick stop in the “Ghost Town” Jerome. The road took us higher and higher up switchback roads. The view out over the valley was great to catch as we climbed. We saw the edge of the green Verde Valley.
Jerome was a copper mining town. We stopped and looked down over the copper mine on our ride up. The Jerome State Historical Mine Park Museum would be a great place to stop for more information about this mining area.
We were amused as we drove through town to find signs for the bordello and the Ghost City Inn. These were certainly remnants of this wild west town. We were surprised to find the town very busy and no parking was immediately found. Most people were shopping for local art or trinkets.
Jerome would be worth a longer visit. But not at the end of a great wine tasting day. The town was setting up for the annual nightly Ghost Walk. This would surely be a big draw.
We Were Happy We Planned Sedona Wine Tasting In The Verde Valley
We were glad we planned Sedona wine tasting in the Verde Valley on our visit to Sedona in the fall. It was great to try a new wine region. And it added a visit to the Willcox wine area for our stay in Tucson.
Did you do Sedona wine tasting in the Verde Valley? Were you convinced to visit the Willcox area in Arizona too? Did you have a favourite winery?
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