The word is out about Arizona wines, and it’s a great time to visit and see for yourself just how good they are. Verde Valley, located in Yavapai County, is one of the three major wine-growing regions of the state. The area’s unique topography and climate create complex flavor profiles every wine lover should experience.
Just a few hours north of Phoenix, Yavapai County is an easy drive up I-17 making for a fantastic excuse to take a road trip. You’ll not only get to explore some of the best wineries in Yavapai County, but you’ll also have the opportunity to see small-town Arizona at its finest.
Some of the best Arizona wineries can be found in the nearby town of Jerome, and in Old Town Cottonwood which is considered the “Heart of the Verde Valley Wine Country.”
Plan to spend at least a few days in this region as you enjoy the gorgeous scenery, visit small towns, and taste what Yavapai County wineries are all about.
Yavapai County Wineries
Exploring the Town of Jerome, Arizona
Start your Yavapai County wine tour in the Town of Jerome. It’s an old mining town carved into the side of a mountain and one of the largest ghost towns in the country.
When the copper mine closed, the town was nearly abandoned. And, although “ghost town” refers to an abandoned town, some of the buildings are said to be haunted, including the Jerome Grand Hotel and the aptly-named Haunted Hamburger.
The road through town is a series of steep switchbacks winding through houses that have stood for hundreds of years. The town has retained its Old West character and is an interesting place to visit.
Wineries in Jerome, Arizona
There are a surprising number of wineries packed into the small Town of Jerome, and they are all worth trying. Here are some favorites.
- Caduceus Cellars: Owned by a local legend and musician Maynard James Keenan from the band Tool, this Jerome winery offers an experience you can take home. They not only have great wine, but also have mouthwatering accouterments like a wall of chocolate to pair with your wine.
- Cabal Cellars: A wall of unique wine blends crafted with the help of their very own employees!
- Passion Cellars: Offers a fun atmosphere, passionate staff, and is downstairs from the Haunted Hamburger– so make your way up if you dare.
- Vino Zona: A local favorite scoring rave reviews as a fun and casual place to enjoy.
Things to Do in Jerome, Arizona
Take some time to wander while visiting Jerome. You’ll find plaques throughout town calling your attention to historic places that share stories from the past.
Be sure to visit Jerome’s art galleries where many artists sell their handiwork. The Raku Gallery offers glass blowing demonstrations while the Jerome Artists’ Co-op offers an eclectic mix of local artwork. And if you’re lucky, the local potter will be at work in his studio, Made in Jerome Pottery, which is just up the next turn in the road.
If you want to learn about Jerome’s unique history, visit the Gold King Mine or the Mine Museum. You’ll also want to check out Jerome’s Sliding Jail, which slid off its foundation in the 1930s and remains standing today.
And of course, there are ghost tours you can take to learn about the town’s shadowed past.
You’ll also find some great restaurants in Jerome. The Haunted Hamburger offers incredible views along with some great burgers and other casual offerings. Bobby D’s BBQ is another great casual option as well. The Clinkscale is a great upscale restaurant if you want something a bit fancier. There is also The Asylum and the Bordello of Jerome if you’re looking for a bit of local fun.
If you decide to stay for the night—which is a good idea if you are checking out Jerome wineries—there are several hotels in town. The Clinkscale has a few rooms, or you can check out the Jerome Grand Hotel at the top of the hill. But if the ghost rumors turn you off, the Connor Hotel is in close proximity to several wineries.
Cottonwood: “Heart of Verde Valley Wine Country”
The picturesque small town of Cottonwood is your next stop for Yavapai wineries. Main Street is a lovely historic area. Though it’s only a few blocks long, you’ll find a surprising number of great wineries and restaurants.
Cottonwood is a bit of the Old West meets hippie enclave. You’ll find a bit of both worlds in this charming small town, and it’s well worth exploring.
Popular Wineries in Cottonwood, Arizona
The wineries in Cottonwood are some of the best in the state. Most of them are located right on Main Street and within walking distance of each other.
- Merkins Vineyards Osteria and Tasting Room: Founded by the creator of Caduceus Cellars in Jerome, this is a top spot for great food and wine. The Chupacabra line is quite good.
- Pillsbury Wine Company Tasting Room: Founder and director Sam Pillsbury established this winery which offers one of the best experiences and some incredible wines.
- Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Tasting Room: A cute, dog-friendly winery offering tapas style bites.
- Burning Tree Cellars: One of the best-known tasting rooms in the area, this one is a fun, casual spot with tasty wines.
- Tantrum Wines: Support a female-owned winery with a touch of attitude and great wine options.
Things to Do in Cottonwood, Arizona
There are a surprising number of fun things to do in Cottonwood. Spend some time exploring the charming shops on the main drag in town. They can make for a great break between wine tastings.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is picturesque and has a lot of easy trails to wander. Visit the fun Hippie Emporium and check out the Clemenceau Heritage Museum to learn the history of the area, including Cottonwood, Jerome, and nearby Clarkdale.
If you’re interested in Native American history, check out the nearby Tuzigoot ruin. There is a small museum, and you can climb into a recreated structure that once stood in the area.
Cottonwood has some great restaurants to try too. Favorites include Pizzeria Bocce and Merkin Osteria, where you can enjoy a tasting with your meal.
Crema Craft Kitchen and Bar is a great breakfast spot with tons of delectable choices. Nic’s Italian Steak and Crab House is good for an upscale meal, and the Tavern is a nice casual spot with great food.
If you decide to stay in Cottonwood, check out the Iron Horse or the Tavern. Both are within easy walking distance of the wineries.
Cornville, Arizona Wineries
You’ll also want to head next door to Cornville and visit two other popular wineries in the region.
- Javelina Leap Vineyard Winery and Bistro: Try a tasting sampler or a bottle of this famous Arizona wine. Pair it in the bistro or enjoy the lovely Arizona Room.
- Page Springs Vineyard and Cellars: Enjoy a wine tasting and a bite in the bistro, tour the vineyards, take a yoga class, or get a massage.
Cornville is only a 10-minute drive from Cottonwood.
Visiting Sedona, AZ on Your Trip
The enchanting city of Sedona is a top-day trip from Phoenix that you don’t want to miss. Its gorgeous red rock buttes make it a stunningly beautiful area with a resounding spiritual vibe.
Hikers, hippies, artists, and spiritual gurus have sought Sedona’s beauty and solace. There are hiking trails for all levels and art galleries all around. You’ll also find crystal shops and maps around Sedona to the vortexes and energy centers.
Sedona Wine Tours
Though there aren’t many wineries in Sedona, there are a lot in the area. Given what a popular place Sedona is to visit, you won’t be missing out on wine when you go. It’ll just be a different experience.
Take a wine tour and let someone else drive while you enjoy the incredible wines from this area. Some of these companies offer personalized experiences so you can create your own adventure.
The most popular wine tours companies in Sedona are:
- Arizona Winery Tours
- Sedona Vineyard Tours
- Bliss Wine Tours
- Sip Sedona
- Elevated Sedona Wine Tours
For something more unique, check out Sedona Adventure Tours. They offer a 2-hour kayaking excursion on the Verde River, then a stop at a vineyard for a tasting with a sommelier.
Things to Do in Sedona, Arizona
Make sure to go for a hike (or two!) and enjoy the red rock buttes in Sedona. Some have names like Cathedral Rock, Coffeepot Rock, and Snoopy Rock. Finally, check out Devil’s Bridge for a picturesque hike.
Visit the artists selling their fine art and handicrafts around town. You’ll find a wide range from Native American-inspired items to mixed-media art. Some artists moved to Jerome when Sedona became more populated, but many remained.
Check out the quaint Tlaquepaque shops when searching for artwork and souvenirs. And when you go, stop at the Secret Garden Cafe, a place for wine lovers.
Get in touch with your spiritual side at the crystal shops and yoga studios. Or track down some of the vortexes and feel the area’s energy.
For a different side of Sedona, visit Oak Creek. You can hike along the creek’s rocks and recharge your batteries in nature a bit off the beaten path.
Don’t miss the “Church in the Rock.” It’s a gorgeous Roman Catholic chapel, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built into one of the Sedona buttes. It offers incredible views, and you can drive or hike to it.
You’ll find the most options for dining and hotels in Sedona. Some excellent restaurants include the Elote Cafe, Cowboy Club Grill & Spirits, and Tortas del Fuego for casual sandwiches, Mexican style.
There are some incredible hotel and resort options in Sedona as well. Try Amara Resort and Spa for a luxury option, Sedona Real Inn & Suites, and the Inn Above Oak Creek.
Don’t Miss the Wineries in Yavapai County
There’s a lot to see and do in Yavapai County, from visiting the gorgeous Sedona red rocks to exploring small-town Arizona’s finest. There’s no need to head to California or the Pacific Northwest for an incredible wine experience when it’s right here in Arizona!
More Articles From Wander With Alex
- 11 Exciting Things to Do OFF the Las Vegas Strip Including Day Trips
- 15 Popular Things to Do in Chicago, Illinois on Your Vacation
This article 11 Fantastic Yavapai County Wineries in Arizona’s Verde Valley Wine Region originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Photo Credit: [@GiorgioMagini/DepositPhotos]
I’m Sam of TheFlyingLeap.com, on a quest to create a life of travel, pursuing what I want instead of what I should. I love learning new things, snuggling a dog, historic architecture, hiking, bold red wine, and doing things that scare me a little. Join me in creating a life of travel we dream about!