Looking for adventure? Looking for something really fun and invigorating to do? Want to enjoy the best of Arizona wines and the best of Arizona’s outdoor scenic world? Well, Sedona Adventure Tours has bundled a variety of their tours and activities into a fun day of wine and water called their “Grand Water to Wine Tour.” This tour combines a classic wine tasting at one of Arizona’s finest vineyards and wineries with a great boating adventure on the Verde River.
Over two years ago Sedona Adventure Tours created their “Water to Wine” tour where wine lovers floated on the Verde River in a rubber kayak for an hour to the Alcantara Winery which is located on the banks of the river. It’s very popular and has received statewide and national attention for being a fun and creative way to enjoy Arizona wines.
The “Grand Water to Wine” tour is designed to give everyone a real “water in the desert” river adventure as well as the fun and pleasure of wine tasting at one of Arizona’s most reputable vineyards and wineries.
The trip starts at Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery on Page Springs Road in the heart of the Verde Valley wine-grape growing region. A van from Sedona Adventure Tours drives everyone to the Verde River “put-in” point, about 30 minutes from the winery. From here the group launches their three-hour float down the river. The river is very scenic with reeds, trees, and grasses adorning the banks, the air filled with the sounds of birds and the scent of fresh, cold water descending towards Phoenix after emerging from deep springs upstream.
The guides are very helpful instructing everyone on proper river etiquette and are on hand to assist on the trip. The river, rarely deeper than waist high, is quite easy to maneuver and everyone has a lot fun guiding their rubber “ducky” inflatable kayak in and out of small sporty chutes and paddling the smooth, flat pools.
Kid-like antics and water fights using supplied water cannons breakout from time to time and are a refreshing break from the Arizona sun.
After the three-hour river trip we all got back in the van for a trip back to the winery. We took time out for a picnic lunch in the shade of a grove of 50-year-old Mesquite trees outside Javelina Leap Winery before going into their wine-tasting room.
Rod and Cynthia Snapp own Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery. They started the winery in 1997 on ten acres of sloping volcanic hillsides. The vineyard has matured and now grows some of the best wine grapes in the state. They have bottled five new wines for 2011: a Barbera, a Syrah, a Sangiovese, their Estate Zinfandel and a Petite Sirah. We joined a dozen other wine lovers in the tasting room and enjoyed a flight of wine using a gift certificate included in the river trip package for tasting and buying wine.
We really enjoyed Javelina Leap’s new round, old western tasting bar, everyone’s camaraderie and sharing stories about their river trip.
Learn more about all the trips and tours offered by Sedona Adventure Tours at their website: SedonaAdventureTours.com or call (928) 204-6440. They also offer tours of the wineries of the Verde Valley including the new tasting rooms in Old Town Cottonwood and the historic ghost town of Jerome.
Article and Photos by Al Comello
Originally Published in Arizona Vines and Wines Fall 2011 Issue