Arizona's Verde Valley quickly becoming a wine destination

Arizona's Verde Valley quickly becoming a wine destination

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When you think of places that grow fine wine, you think of Napa Valley, maybe Sonoma County. But Arizona, not so much. Well that's about to change.

For the first time ever, two Arizona wines get a 90-point score from Wine Spectator magazine. And those wineries are only an hour and a half away from Phoenix.

Nestled along Oak Creek, an award-winning winery, an oasis about 100 miles from the concrete jungle.

Page Springs Cellars is bottling a first in Arizona history. A 90-point outstanding score in Wine Spectator magazine.

"Our industry has been getting 89 in the wine industry for years -- B plus B plus B plus B plus -- and we all would talk about why wouldn't they let us in the club," says Eric Glomski of Page Springs Cellars.

And now Arizona is "in." Page Springs' 2010 Colibri Syrah clone 174, called "sleek and pure," was given the 90-point honor.

"Very few people know how hard this is. Now we all in Arizona move up the ladder."

Page Springs owner Eric Glomski pours his heart and soul into wine-making.

"Am I proud that we are the ones who broke it, sure. I'm more proud for Arizona though."

Page Springs isn't alone. The 2010 Colibri Vineyard Syrah clone 99 from Burning Tree Cellars near Cottonwood also got a 90-point score on Wine Spectator's online review.

"Small batch unique boutique wines you're only going to find in the Verde Valley," says Corey Turnbull.

Corey Turnbull co-owns Burning Tree Cellars. Turns out he got his start working at Page Springs and still works with them.

"Ever since I was 16 I was into wine. I would go to high school parties and they would have kegs of beer and I would break out bottles of cabernet."

Both Syrahs were made out of grapes grown in southern Arizona on the Colibri Vineyard near Portal. Glomski now owns the Colibri Vineyard, hoping to bottle more great wine.

"It's really worth it when you make a bottle of wine and you hand it to somebody and you see them smile and enjoy it. I wouldn't be in this if there wasn't something personal I got out of pleasing other people, you know," says Glomski.

Sadly, we didn't get to taste the 90-point winners. Both wineries say their award-winning wines are all sold out. But Glomski believes the wine he's bottling today -- his 2012, about to be released -- is his best yet.

"This is not just to sell it because we're going to sell it. I honestly believe they're better than the 10's and I think we'll see when they get sent out that we'll push into the 90's with these."

And that would be another first for Arizona. These local wine-makers, deeply-rooted in proving great wine can be grown and made in Arizona.

Both wineries are open every day 365 days a year for wine tasting.


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