Mingus Mountain in the Black Hills Range, Yava...

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The Verde Valley is making a name for itself as a wine tour destination.

The first time I saw the rows of grapevines on a hillside along Page Springs Road, I was a little bemused. The vines looked parched. Next thing I know, during a later visit, I see one or two signs for wine tastings along the same windy, scenic stretch of road. Wine is making a big splash in Yavapai County.

Yavapai College now offers a vintner course, and on the grounds of the campus in Cottonwood, rows of vines are now growing. There are wine shops in Old Cottonwood, Jerome, and Page Springs. I’ve not been to the Sonoma Valley but wonder how this little piece of the world compares. I just read in the local newspaper that tourism is up thanks to the local wineries.