Drive down a long, ruddy dirt road and come to an oasis known as Alcantara Vineyards. This gem in the middle of the Verde Valley is one of Arizona’s newest wineries located on the way to Arizona’s North Country.
Owner Barbara Predmore defines herself as a farmer. And indeed, she is farming some wonderful grape varietals and producing excellent wines! Barbara is serious about winemaking and in particular, wine making in the central and northern part of Arizona. Her approach to winemaking comes from her farming background. Alcantara Vineyards is located on 87 acres of sloping limestone where the Verde River and Oak Creek meet. It’s the perfect climate for growing grapes and has been compared to winemaking regions in Italy and France.
Barbara calls Alcantara a “holistic approach” to tasting wine; enjoying a good glass of locally-made wine with friends, surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of the Verde River and the cliffs that border the basin. From personal experience, we can say that this is in fact the truth!
On our first visit to Alcantara, the temperatures were still a bit cool and required us to don our jackets. When we walked into the tasting room, we felt as if we were in someone’s home. There are cozy sofas and chairs surrounding a fireplace. There are tables for two or more. A wine tasting bar seats several people at a time. The back wall is all windows; so much the better to see the vineyard and the limestone cliffs. Outside, there are ample tables and chairs for several wine tasting visitors, either on the deck or on the lawn. All overlook the beauty of the ancient limestone cliffs and the sprawling vineyard.
We decided to try the wine tasting which we felt was a great value at $10.00 each including your choice of five wines to taste and an Alcantara wine glass to take home. We enjoyed tasting the 2008 Pinot Grigio, the 2007 Tempranillo, the 2007 Merlot, the 2006 Sangiovese and the 2006 Petite Sirah. The very knowledgeable wine pourers were expert at describing the wine and we came away feeling that we had learned a great deal. Our favorites were the Sangiovese and the Pinot Grigio.
While we were enjoying the wine tasting, we noticed that there were other visitors who had brought along their dogs and were sitting outside on the deck. We asked if Alcantara was a “dog friendly” vineyard and we were pleasantly surprised to find out that it is! The only requirements are that your pooch is well-behaved and on a leash at all times and that you check in first to make sure that Barbara’s two German Shepards are not on the premises.
On our next visit to Alcantara on a Saturday afternoon, we took our Whippet, Collette along. This time it was in the warmer months so we knew that we would be comfortable sitting outdoors with her. Collette was welcomed and we chose a table out on the lawn where we could enjoy not only the wine but the beautiful, natural surroundings. Instead of the wine tasting, we ordered a bottle of the Pinot Grigio and a delicious cheese and cracker platter. We spent a leisurely afternoon relaxing and enjoying the wine and Collette enjoyed all the sights, sounds and smells.
Good wine, accompanied by a relaxing, “holistic” atmosphere, a friendly and knowledgeable staff and a dog friendly environment makes Alcantara Vineyards a wine lovers destination.
Barbara and her husband have many plans for Alcantara including a Bed and Breakfast Inn with a restaurant and concerts under the stars. We are looking forward to watching the progress and making more visits to taste the top-notch wines that this beautiful oasis in the desert has to offer.