VERDE VALLEY - Along with the growth of grapes has grown the reputation of the Verde Valley. Visitors to the Verde Valley recently have looked at the color in the wine glass as well as that of the Red Rocks or the ancient ruins.
Lisa Pender of Pillsbury Wine Company in Old Town Cottonwood said, "Verde Valley vineyards have become very popular especially with people from Phoenix. When you mentioned Cottonwood in the past, you would have to remind them it is near Sedona. Now, you mention the Verde Valley and they say, 'Oh, the wine area.' Phoenix-area residents are now taking weekend trips, just for the wine. You see a trickling of those from out of state to wine country, but that is growing trend."
"Shipping wines is not very common at Alcantara Vineyards," according to Tasting Room Attendant Julaine Shier, unless you are a member of the wine club programs.
The operation has buyer programs at three different levels that ship the winery's products several times a year. The wine is automatically shipped and participants get a discount as a member.
The winery along the Verde River near Camp Verde sells shipping boxes, though. Julaine suggests that, "since Southwest Airlines allows two checked bags, people can substitute a case of wine for one of the bags. It costs less than shipping."
"Wine shipping is state-government controlled," according to Corey Turnbull, Tasting Room manager at Arizona Stronghold in Old Town.
"You can't personally ship wine through the mail or UPS. You have to have a liquor license or be a winery to ship wines and have people on the other end have to sign for it."
Be sure to check the shipping rules for the state in question.
"Rules for shipping wine are specific state by state," said Turnbull. "It is a Commerce clause, if you want to ship your wine from our state, you have to allow other states to ship in. Some states are worried that if they allow states to ship in, it will hurt local business, especially wine. In some cases, they are state-controlled liquor like Pennsylvania and Utah are highly restrictive or prohibitive."
Another consideration is timing.
"Timing is especially important," reminds Thomas Riccobuono at the Caduceus Cellers and Merkin Vineyards at 158 Main in Jerome.
"Wines are sensitive to heat and cold. We stop shipping at Caduceaus during the summer and winter because of temperature. It is too hot between May and September and too cold during the winter. So, if friends and family would enjoy some of the Verde Valley wines for the holidays, we suggest that you need to ship early before its too late in December."
Shipping costs can be pricey, so, the more you ship at one time, the less the cost.
Pender at Pillsbury suggest that a lot of people take in the baggage. "Remember, you can't take it as part of the carry-on, because of TSA's three-ounce restriction for liquids on a plane."
"When it arrives, you need to lay it out and let it settle down for a couple of days, because its going to get 'bottle shock.' Just going up and down in temperature affects wine and baggage handlers aren't always the gentlest. Put fragile on bags. Arizona Stronghold has the shipping bags."
"We have shipper boxes, especially if you are going back East, we will package the wine for you. We have 2-bottle. 6-bottle shippers and then case-size shippers. So you can take it on the plane, and it would be the extra luggage. We had a couple from Canada and they bought a couple cases of wine and they just shipped it with their luggage on the plane and they paid for the shipping."
There is a small handling fee for the boxes.
Turnbull says Arizona Stronghold has dropped all shipping charges for wine sold through the holidays. That may apply at other tasting rooms and online services.