Organizers of the first Southwest Wine Competition have announced the winners, among them, Garrett Estate Cellars for “Best of Show.”

One of the best-kept secrets in wine these days is the award-winning wines a handful of Arizona wineries are making. About 100 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona’s Verde Valley comprises several small communities: Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Cornville and Cottonwood as well as Jerome, Page Springs and Oak Creek. With cool evenings and warm, sunny days along with mineral-rich and well-drained volcanic soil, the climate is perfect for growing French and Italian-style grape varietals. Nearby Sedona is home to the beautiful red rocks where one can find tasting rooms showcasing many selections from Arizona wineries.

This weekend, judging gets under way for the first Southwest Wine Challenge, a regional competition aimed to highlight the growing wine presence in the Southwest. The goal: establish an identity around wines of the states between Texas and Nevada.


Domestically, California still leads in grape production among prosperous vineyards due to rich soil and a nearly perfect climate. Yet a few other southwestern states are showing up to the Wine Table. Among those getting a second look, and yes, taste, are Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.