The Verde Valley -- encompassing Sedona, Jerome, Cottonwood, and Camp Verde -- is going to experience an influx of visitors in the next year because Lonely Planet just named the Arizona vacation spot as one of the Top 10 U.S. Travel Destinations for 2013. The big draw? Not only are the red rocks beautiful, but the wine country is gaining national attention. Other locales to make the list are Louisville, Philadelphia, American Samoa, and Glacier National Park, Montana.
As Lonely Planet describes, "The Verde Valley region is beautiful, with green canyons rimmed by red rocks, and towns like Cottonwood, Jerome, and Sedona that have long drawn visitors for good food, art, and mining lore. But the Verde boost is all about wine." The publications specifically pointed to Alcantara Vineyards as a destination that can be reached in a unique way: by kayak.
Other wineries on the Verde Valley Wine Trail are Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards, and Javelina Leap Vineyards, each with its own tasting room. Other places to stop, enjoy a glass of wine, and take in the scenery includeDionysian Cellars, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, and Jerome Winery.
If you're in the area, look out for Caduceus Cellars, the wine label owned by Maynard Keenan of TOOL. The musician worked with Eric Glomski of Page Springs to create a film titled Blood into Wine that documents the process and passion that goes into producing each bottle of wine.
There are reasons to visit the Verde Valley aside from wine, including outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and kayaking. With the region's temperate climate -- not too cold, but not too hot -- it can be a great destination throughout the year and makes a perfect daytrip from Phoenix.