Several years ago I put in five varietal grape vines just to see how they would do. Last summer my Petite Syrah produced about 30 lbs. of grapes (which I juiced). It opened my eyes to the possibilities of making our own wine, which I’ve been wanting to do for years.

Viticulture in the Verde Valley has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last several years. It turns out our climate here is actually very conducive to successful vine growing and local wines are beginning to gain recognition. Our local community college, Yavapai College is offering a viticulture certification course and an Enology (wine making) certification course. So there are many educational and experiential resources for the budding wine maker here in our area.

So this past weekend we’ve taken the first steps towards the creation of our own vineyard. We’ve cleared a plot of land about an 1/8th of an acre and are gearing up to build our perimeter fence so that the javelina, rabbits, squirrels & deer will not get all the fruits of our labor. We have ordered 50 Montepulciano vines which will be arriving in March. The plot will ultimately hold about 85 vines, all red varietals destined toward the creation of our own unique Chianti blend.

Clearing the vineyard to be