WHERE IS THE VERDE VALLEY AVA LOCATED?
Located in the basin of the Verde River, in the geographic center of Arizona, the Verde Valley AVA boundaries define an area of 219 square miles in northeastern Yavapai County surrounding Cottonwood, which bills itself as the “Heart of Arizona Wine Country.”
WHAT ELSE DOES THE VERDE VALLEY OFFER VISITORS?
The Verde Valley is a world-famous art and history destination with Jerome, where the whole town is a National Historic Landmark, and nearby Sedona, a town centered on Oak Creek and surrounded by red rock cliffs, both known to artists and collectors worldwide. They and Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Cornville, Cottonwood, and the Yavapai-Apache Nation feature a wide range of locally owned galleries, restaurants, cafés, hotels, resorts, and a casino. The Verde Valley offers an array of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, birding, camping, and river rafting, along with a unique selection of National Monuments, museums, and state parks featuring spectacular scenery, and western mining, ranching, military, and Native American historic sites.
WHAT GRAPES ARE GROWN IN THE VERDE VALLEY AVA?
Owners of vineyards in the Verde Valley AVA have planted more than 40 grape varieties, including the white grape varieties Malvasia Bianca, Viognier, Chardonnay, Vermentino, Seyval Blanc and Picpoul Blanc. Red grape varieties include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Tannat and Barbera.
WHAT IS THE CLIMATE IN THE VERDE VALLEY AVA?
The Verde Valley is located in the transition between the lower elevation hot summer Mediterranean and the higher elevation cold semi-arid climate zones. Average annual rainfall is 13.83” and the annual mean temperature is 64.1° degrees Fahrenheit. The average diurnal shift ranges between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY DIURNAL SHIFT?
Diurnal shift is the difference between daytime high temperatures and nighttime low temperatures. High daytime temperatures foster sugar development in grapes. Cool nights slow down grape and vine maturation. This preserves aromas and natural acidity, which translates into more complex, fresh, fruity flavors in wines. The Verde Valley’s high-altitude diurnal shift is a huge advantage for winemakers.
HOW DO THE SOILS OF THE VERDE VALLEY AVA AFFECT GRAPE GROWING?
The soils of the Verde Valley AVA are primarily alluvial soils that provide good drainage and have above moderate levels of nutrients.
HOW DOES THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE VERDE VALLEY AVA INFLUENCE GRAPE GROWING?
The Verde Valley AVA is located in the basin of the Verde River and is surrounded by mountains that rise up to 8,000 feet elevation. The higher elevations and steep slopes of these mountains cause cool air to drain into the Verde Valley providing a prime environment for grape growing.
HOW WILL WINERIES DESCRIBE THE VERDE VALLEY AVA AS THE LOCATION FOR THE GRAPES IN THEIR WINE?
Any winery in the state of Arizona that uses 85% or more grapes in a wine harvested from vineyards inside the Verde Valley AVA can then state on their labels and other advertising materials that the Verde Valley is the origin of their grapes. For a winery to also state that heir wine is “estate bottled,” the regulations are much stricter. To say “estate bottled,” the winery must use 85% or more grapes from the estate, the estate grapes must be harvested from vineyards on the winery property, and the wine must be produced and bottled entirely on the winery property.