Jack and I started our big adventure in Phoenix but didn't stop in the city. We were headed north for the Verde Valley and Cottonwood. Our itinerary was planned by the Arizona Department of Tourism and our first day was an exploration of the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
We started at Alcantara, the largest producer of estate wines in central Arizona. Located on the Verde River, its lush setting complements the wines. Owner Barbara Predmore invites visitors to taste, stay and enjoy the scenery and the wines.
Our next stop was Javelina Leap where owners Rod and Cynthia Snapp specialize in rich, red wines. They grow Zinfandel on four and a half of their 10 acres and get grapes for other varietals from Southern Arizona. (Their white wines are made in California.) They provided us with a lovely picnic lunch -- far more than we could eat in one sitting, so they boxed the left-overs for another day's picnic!
By the fourth winery, I was ready to join Jack! The deck at Page Springs Cellars, overlooking Oak Creek, was particularly appealing. And, by appointment, you can get a massage in the vineyard! That sounded great. Page Springs touts its Rhone-style wines and gourmet snack selections -- they'll even pack you a picnic basket.
One of the many highlights of our trip was an excursion on the Verde Valley Railroad. The scenery was
spectacular on the four-hour trip from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back.