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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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11/23/2009 9:23:00 AM
Verde Valley Wine Consortium building on its success story
Steve Ayers/VVN
The symbiotic relationship between the valley's wineries and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium is beginning to pay dividends for both the wineries and their supporters, as the world discovers all the valley has to offer.
Steve Ayers/VVN The symbiotic relationship between the valley's wineries and the Verde Valley Wine Consortium is beginning to pay dividends for both the wineries and their supporters, as the world discovers all the valley has to offer.

Steve Ayers
Staff Reporter


COTTONWOOD - It has been almost a year and a half since a group of wine enthusiasts, business owners and local leaders formed the Verde Valley Wine Consortium.

Dedicated to the proposition that wine is good for the body and soul as well as the economy, the consortium has proven itself to be one of the most effective promotional tools for the valley and one sorely needed in the face of a difficult economy.

The consortium consists of local wineries, restaurateurs, representatives of all the valley's chambers of commerce, a panoply of business and economic development organizations, along with a fair share of regular folks.

It is as community-based an organization as you can get.

But what sets the consortium apart from other promotional organizations is its effectiveness in promoting the Verde Valley and its product on the big stage.

"In a very short period of time we have put together an amazing track record," says consortium Chairman Tom Pitts.

That track record includes its own Web site (www.verdevalleywineconsortium.com), another Web site dedicated to Verde Valley wines (www.verdevalleywinetrail.com), numerous partnerships, including the University of Arizona and Yavapai College, and an incredible amount of press coverage.

Articles on the valley's wines and wineries have appeared on most major networks, several major newspapers across the country and, recently, some members of the consortium helped host a writer from Scotland's largest newspaper.

Their next big project is to turn the former jail in Cottonwood's Old Town into a tasting room.

"People are starting to come here just for the wine," Pitts says.

Now, flush with success from the recent "Walkin' on Main" fund-raising event, where they actually raised $1,800, the organization is looking to expand its influence locally.

"We think it's time we involved more of the community," Pitts says. "We want the rest of the valley to become a part of what has become the most exciting thing in town. The bottom line is it's for everyone. Everyone is benefiting"

With the growth of the consortium has come a list of benefits for business members as well as individual members that include advertising opportunities, discounts at local restaurants and wineries, and invitations to social and educational events hosted by the consortium.

For details visit www.verdevalleywineconsortium.com.

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