We're in the Verde Valley at Page Springs Cellars' House Mountain Vineyard talking with vineyard manager Jeff Hendricks.
What is the wine growing region called?
I would call the region “Verde Valley” or sometimes we’re called “Northern Arizona”. We don’t have an AVA here yet, and maybe never will.
What types of grapes are grown and why?
House Mountain has Pinot Noir (which I am photographed pruning), Petite Sirah, Counoise, Teroldego, Syrah and Grenache. Syrah, Grenache and Petite Sirah have always done well here but Counoise, Pinot and Teroldego are guesses based on varietal data etc… We’re still in an experimentation phase, some folks are having great luck with Italian varietals and we also have a short list of tried and true based on a dozen years of data which isn’t much.
How do you use volunteers to help with the labor?
We hold workshops generally and place as much attention on educating as we do on utilizing volunteer help. It’s important to me to try and move Arizona wine forward in any way I can, and getting people involved in the process usually ignites a little fire inside people that results in more workshops and involvement in this emerging industry. There’s nothing like seeing the first step (farming) through the last step (drinking wine). These same people will come bottle and help in the cellar too.
Do you have a special type of growing method or trellis?
Most of us in the state use the VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioned) but there’s some others out there I’m sure but this is probably 99% of the acres in Arizona.
This report is part of the Vintage 2015 project. To see how the 2015 vintage is shaping up in other parts of the country, visit www.vintage2015.com.