VVREO: Viticulture a fruitful industry | The Verde Independent

It is not any secret that the Verde Valley is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot, whether or not it a be a visit to the attractive crimson rock nation of Sedona, a day spent exploring the outdated mining city of Jerome, or a day outing searching the retailers and galleries of Cottonwood.

Perhaps much less recognized, however rapidly gaining notoriety, is the wine trade discovered within the space. In December of 2021, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) formally designated a 219-square mile space of the Verde Valley as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). TTB laws describe an AVA as “a delimited grape-growing region having distinguishing features… and a name and a delineated boundary.” This designation offers the realm recognition as an official grape rising area acknowledged by the federal authorities. It additionally helps each wine producers and shoppers to attach sure traits of a wine to the realm the place it was produced.

The topography of the Verde Valley AVA is sort of appropriate for viticulture, or the cultivation and harvesting of grapes. While the perimeter is surrounded by mountains and foothills, the realm inside accommodates light slopes, which makes winery administration much less difficult. In addition, the huge distinction between day and night time desert temperatures (excessive temperatures in the course of the day and low temperatures at night time) prolongs the maturity means of the wine grapes, which ends up in extra intricate wine flavors and permits for an extended rising season. The picture under exhibits the geographic extent of the Verde Valley AVA.

The current designation of the Verde Valley AVA is sort of an accomplishment. There are solely two different areas acknowledged as American Viticultural Area’s in Arizona, each of that are situated in the direction of the southern finish of the state – Willcox and Sonoita. Obtaining this esteemed designation was not straightforward; it took greater than 4 years. The Verde Valley Wine Consortium (VVWC) started petitioning for the Verde Valley to change into an AVA in 2017, not seeing the fruits of its efforts till late final 12 months. The VVWC’s imaginative and prescient is to “[assist] in creating, nurturing and advancing the Verde Valley as a significant and important wine region – locally, regionally, nationally and internationally – in every aspect of winemaking, wine culture, wine education and wine tourism.” The VVWC presents the chance to hitch their group as a member and obtain advantages whereas supporting their efforts.

The VVWC was shaped with assist from the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO). VVREO is an area non-profit group whose mission is to “[provide] access to resources for regional business creation, attraction, retention, and expansion.”

I had the privilege of talking with Paula Woolsey, the present vice chairman and academic chair of the VVWC, the vice chairman of the Verde Valley Wine Trail, and an adjunct professor on the Southwest Wine Center. Paula was one of many preliminary people to advocate for the creation of the VVWC and defined the way it was shaped. Tom Schumacher (who’s now the president of the VVWC), Casey Rooney, and Tom Pitts have been all on the board of administrators of VVREO on the time of the VVWC’s creation and labored with Paula to provide you with the thought and imaginative and prescient for the VVWC. The VVWC wanted VVREO as an “incubator” group since they have been already a longtime non-profit group.

VVREO harbored VVWC for nearly two years whereas they labored on satisfying the entire authorized necessities mandatory with the intention to change into a longtime separate entity.

The winemaking trade has a considerable impression on Arizona’s financial system. According to a 2017 examine carried out by the Alliance Bank Business Outreach Center at Northern Arizona University, an estimated complete of $56,178,643 is contributed to the financial system and 640 full-time jobs are created on account of the Arizona wine tourism trade. In addition, about $3.6 million in state and native taxes are collected. Comparing these outcomes to an identical examine additionally carried out by NAU in 2011, complete financial exercise from tourism within the wine trade has elevated by 49.3% over a interval of 6 years. The 2017 NAU examine is the latest complete evaluation of the matter. However, with the ever-increasing reputation of the Verde Valley space, and Arizona as a vacationer vacation spot generally, it may be fairly inferred that the constructive financial impacts of the Arizona wine tourism trade are even better at the moment, and can proceed to develop.

The Verde Valley isn’t solely a high wine tourism vacation spot in Arizona; it additionally produces among the finest vintners, or wine producers, within the state. The Southwest Wine Center (SWC) situated at Yavapai College presents levels in each viticulture and likewise enology, which is the examine of wine and winemaking. The SWC describes themselves as “a premier wine industry and community resource, offering a comprehensive hands-on education from vineyard-to-bottle with programs in enology, viticulture and business/entrepreneurship through its estate vineyard, teaching winery, fully-operational tasting room, and region-wide wine industry research epicenter.” The wines produced by college students on the SWC steadily win awards, such because the 2018 SWC Viogner claiming the highest spot within the 2019 azcentral statewide Arizona Wine Competition. The SWC was established in 2009 and enrollment in its diploma packages continues to develop. Many of the wineries throughout the Verde Valley are both run by or make use of graduates of the SWC. Paula Woolsey was the primary to show on the SWC and remains to be a professor there 13 years later. She says there have now been 12 wineries that have been began from graduates of the SWC.

The Verde Valley Wine Trail offers helpful info for anybody eager to expertise what the wine trade within the space has to supply. The path map boasts 25 wineries within the space and their web site ( accommodates further details about wine excursions and native sights.

The Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) offers entry to financial improvement sources for enterprise creation, attraction, retention, and growth because the regional voice within the Verde Valley. VVREO has had vital impression within the following key initiatives: capital creation, broadband, workforce housing, schooling and outreach, fiscal agent assist, statewide illustration and advocacy, regional and statewide collaboration, analysis and sources. VVREO packages embody: schooling on key points affecting the Verde Valley, supporting the expansion of recent regional organizations, offering monetary sources and recommendation to new and increasing companies, researching and securing an acceptable broadband infrastructure all through the Verde Valley, and supporting regional sustainable progress. In 2018 the Verde Valley Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan was developed. Through collaborative relationships, six key pillars have been recognized: Regionalism, Talent Attraction and Development, Prosperous Business, Promotion, Sustainability, and VVREO Organizational Viability.

For extra info go to or contact VVREO at or 928-300-1640.

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