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Visionaries in Sedona and the Verde Valley think it is possible to diversify our local economy.

Rather than rely solely on tourism to bring jobs and tax dollars into our communities, they are looking for an industry capable of supporting itself while also possibly attracting visitors to the area.

These entrepreneurs are turning to the vine to create new business and jobs.

Several vineyards now operate in the Verde Valley and off-site tasting rooms are popping up in the communities.

Since last year, the nectar from the vines produced in Northern Arizona has drawn more attention.

The return of the Sedona Winefest on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25, signals the blossoming of an industry just budding last year.

Vineyards from around Arizona participate in the festival, and last year’s crowd was quite possibly the largest I’ve seen at an event in Sedona since I moved to the Verde Valley five years ago.

The event takes place at the Sedona Airport where the first 1,800 attendees will receive a commemorative wine glass. All participants receive six taste tickets. Wine drinkers will also be able to purchase wine by the case, bottle and glass from participating vineyards.

Take a trip up to the airport and see where the future of Arizona wine is headed.

Cheers to a fruitful future for the Verde Valley.

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  • Sally Smithwick

    Please remember, driving and drinking aren't good mixers for a wine tasting!

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