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September 24, 2013

3 Ways to Enjoy Wine in Sedona

By Kristin Conard | Wine

3 Ways to Enjoy Wine in Sedona
Courtesy of L'Auberge de Sedona

Sedona, Arizona, is known for its creative art community, spiritual seekers and, above all, majestic red rocks. But over the past decade it has added to its appeal with a rise in boutique wineries.

The town is located in the Verde Valley, a region that—thanks to its soil (rocky, mineral-rich) and higher elevation (conducive to more complex flavors)—is ideal grape-growing territory. And though the area is in the early stages of its evolution, it is swiftly making a name. “Although we are relatively new to the wine industry, we are the fifth most Googled growing region in the country,” says David Crans, restaurant general manager at L’Auberge de Sedona (rooms from $225; 301 L’Auberge Ln.; 928-282-1661; lauberge.com), a resort with Sedona’s most extensive wine menu. “As this is such a young industry in the Verde Valley, there is much debate still as to what will be the signature varietals.”

In 2011, L’Auberge de Sedona finished a $25 million renovation, which included its Veranda Bar. Overlooking lush Oak Creek, with seating next to a granite bar inside and a fire pit outside, Veranda features Arizona varietals and blends that fill a full page of its 24-page wine list. Try the award-winning Malvasia Bianca, which pairs well with the Mediterranean-style dishes on the bar menu.

Wine lovers can also celebrate the burgeoning region with the lively annual Sedona Winefest (September 29–30; sedonawinefest.com). In its fifth year, the gathering is timed to the grape harvest and features more than 60 wines along with live music, food and art exhibitions.

Or ride down the Verde River in an inflatable kayak to a wine tasting on the Classic Water to Wine tour, led by Sedona Adventure Tours (877-673-3661; sedonaadventuretours.com). A guide takes guests down the gentle river, lined with sweeping willows and cottonwoods, and stops at the Tuscan-style farmhouse of Alcantara Vineyards (3445 S. Grapevine Way, Cottonwood; 929-649-8463; alcantaravineyard.com) after an hour of paddling. Relax and taste the offerings there before taking a shuttle back to the launch site.