Amazing Grapes Part I: Unlocking the Doors
By Steve Ayers, Verde News
Thursday, November 06, 2008
There is a growing belief that the Verde Valley will one day become a world-class wine destination. Geographically, geologically and climatologically, it possesses many of the attributes found in the great vineyard regions of the world. This three-part series explores where that vision is now, where it has been and where it is going.
In the spring of 1867, William Abraham Bell and a party of surveyors employed by the Kansas-Pacific Railway Company visited the Verde Valley while searching for a practical rail route to the west coast.
Bell, an Englishman by birth, astute observer by training and member of the Royal Geographical and Geologic Society of London, chronicled his trip in the book "New Tracks in North America: A Journal of Travel and Adventure."
Of the Verde Valley he wrote:
"The soil is rich, water permanent, and sufficient for all purposes of irrigation, the elevation being only 3,000 to 3,500 feet above the tide, Snow is unknown; and the valley having a deep sandy soil, is richer than the valley of the Rio Grande; it is mixed, like the latter, with the detritus of lava deposits, and, being admirably sheltered by mountain-walls on each side 1,200 to 2,400 feet high, is especially adapted to the production of wine and fruits. Wild grapes are everywhere abundant."