The Arizona Wine Industry

When considering the great wine grape-growing regions of the world, Arizona and the Verde Valley probably don’t come to mind. However, wine has been produced in Arizona since the 1700’s by the Spanish Missionaries. By 1900, Arizona was home to numerous vineyards, as well as a significant commercial wine business.

But that all ended with Prohibition and it wasn’t until 1973 that Arizona’s first modern experimental vineyard was planted by university professor Gordon Dutt. Thus was born the realization that wine grapes could yield quality wine in the desert. Since then, the Arizona wine industry has continued to build upon its early successes.

Today, there are over 1,000 acres of wine grapes planted statewide. Arizona wines are highly regarded by wine experts and have even been served at the White House. With more than 80 registered wineries in the state, people everywhere are beginning to recognize Arizona as an up and coming wine producer.

To help the state’s wine industry grow, nearby Yavapai College recently completed building the Southwest Wine Center, where students learn about growing grapes and producing wine. As the only college in the Southwest offering degree programs in Viticulture and Enology, Yavapai College has become a centerpiece for teaching and learning programs for the region’s wine industry.

For more information about Arizona’s growing wine industry, contact the Arizona Wine Growers Association. For information specific to the Verde Valley wine region, contact the Verde Valley Wine Consortium.


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