Wine

Five Arizona Wine Adventures Worth Exploring

The Wine Wagon takes guests on a day-drinking trip from Scottsdale to Cornville.
The Wine Wagon takes guests on a day-drinking trip from Scottsdale to Cornville. Courtesy Holly Morgan Media

Pairing wine with wandering is a favorite pastime of Arizonans, who can indulge in a variety of vino-centric adventures around the state. From the perennial waters of the Verde River in northern Arizona to the forest-framed Santa Rita Mountains down south, here are five forays featuring fermented grapes.

The Wine Wagon
Day trip with a designated driver from Scottsdale to Cornville on a big blue bus. The Wine Wagon departs in the morning and makes stops at three of four wineries (depending on occupancy at each) in the Verde Valley: Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery, DA Ranch, Javelina Leap, and/or Page Spring Cellars. Passengers will spend an hour and a half at each tasting room, making the total trip (with roundtrip transport included) approximately 10 hours. Single-seat tickets cost $99 through the end of August. Wine tastings are not included in the ticket price.

Blasian Southern AZ Wine Tour
For those looking for luxury over hipness, Blasian AZ Wine Tours offers sojourns into southern and northern Arizona in your choice of a Chevy Suburban, high-roof Mercedes Benz Sprinter, or Ford Transit. Their southern tours stop at three of four notable vintners in the certified Sonoita AVA (American Viticulture Area): Charron Vineyards, Deep Sky Vineyard, Flying Leap Vineyards, and/or Autumn Sage Vineyards. Tours include wine flights at each stop, and tickets for a party of two start at $716.09 (or $796 with lunch included), with price points for various packages going up to $2,103 for a party of 12.

Sip and Savor
The Sip and Savor wine walkabout tour in Scottsdale requires a minimum of six participants, so if you like drinking with friends, this could be your best (albeit more pedestrian, literally) option. The walking tour includes three wine hotspots in the Old Town Scottsdale arts district: The House Brasserie, a restaurant known for its wine list and sommelier suggestions, where a sparkling wine flight will be served with puff pastry small bites; the Carlson Creek Vineyards tasting room, where guests will experience a “Black Glass Blind Wine Tasting”; and the Salvatore Vineyards tasting room, where participants get a “Le Nez du Vin” tasting. The tour costs $73 plus tax per person.


Water to Wine Sedona Kayak Experience
You’ll need to drive to Camp Verde to meet your tour guide from Sedona Adventure Tours for this tipsy trip down the Verde River. Start at Alcantara Vineyards, where a shuttle will bring you shoreside. From there, you’ll climb into an inflatable kayak and take yourself on a self-guided river adventure that ends on a sandy beach with a path back to the Tuscan farmhouse at Alcantara Vineyards for an outdoor wine tasting. Tickets cost $111.85 per person on weekdays and $123.52 per person on weekends.

Harvest Wineopoly
The nine wineries of Willcox Wine Country host several signature events throughout the year, including the upcoming Harvest Wineopoly (September 25-26), an alcohol-infused spin on the Monopoly board game, in which visitors collect Wineopoly properties by visiting tasting rooms. At the end of the game, the person with the highest overall property value wins. Winners can nab prizes including dinners, hotel stays, and tickets to the Willcox Wine Country Festival in October. Tickets cost $20-$30 and include a commemorative wine glass and ten tasting tickets.
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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea