Estate Vineyard

The Southwest Wine Center features a total of 12.95 acres of vines planted in the foothills of Mingus Mountain on Yavapai College’s Verde Valley campus. The vineyard provides students with hands-on, scientific experience in vineyard establishment and management including, plant science, water, pest and weed management, vine selection, land preparation, and planting and harvesting the grapes.

The vineyard is home to 12 varieties and a total of 12,157 vines

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Year Planted Varietal Acres Vines Average Tons Average #/vine 2015 Harvest (tons) 2016 Harvest (tons) 2017 Harvest (tons) 2018 Harvest (tons)
12.95 12,157 0.76 1.83 6.91 24.79
2012 Tempranillo 0.9 763 1.71 4.49 0.41 0.78 2.02 3.65
Sangiovese 1 875 1.25 2.85 0.24 0.37 1.97 2.42
Viognier 1.1 1101 1.25 2.26 0.11 0.34 1.48 3.05
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon 1.1 1100 0.47 0.85 0.00 0.06 1.34
Malvasia Bianca 1.75 1533 1.29 1.69 0.15 0.79 2.94
2014 Barbera 1 976 1.47 3.02 1.47
Refosco 1.1 977 1.38 2.83 0.16 2.61
Aglianico 1 1020 0.85 1.66 0.18 1.52
2015 Grenache 1 972 1.84 3.79 0.25 3.43
Carginan 1 972 1.16 2.39 0.20 2.13
2016 Tannat 1 918 0.24 0.52 0.24
2017 Piquepoul Blanc 1 950

Vineyard History & Timeline

Acres #2-4 (May 2012)

In the spirit of the educational aspect of the vineyard, Merkin Vineyards planted the entire acre in Negroamaro, a variety native to southern Italy that’s name means ‘black bitter.’ This is the first planting of Negro Amaro in Arizona.

Acres #2-4 (May 2012)

Individuals, business, community, and government leaders from the Verde Valley community took part in the first annual Plant-a-Vine(yard) event to help with the planting of 3 acres of vines which included Sangiovese, Tempranillo, and Viognier varietals.

Acres #5-6 (May 2013)

One acre of Cabernet Sauvignon and two acres of Malvasia Bianca vines were added to the student-run vineyard when over 150 community volunteers participated in the 2nd annual Plant-A-Vine day. The Malvasia becomes the second white varietal to be planted. It has a mid-season budbreak with good production. It is a very fragrant Mediterranean grape and probably the best Arizona white.

Acres #8-10 (May 2014)

In 2014 the vineyard added three new varietals; Aglianico, Refosco, and Barbera – a family of dark-skinned grapes found in several Italian wine regions. Like so many Italian wine grape varieties, these each have ancient origins and have flourished in warm dry climates.

Acres #10-11 (May 2015)

The Southwest Wine Center’s 4th annual Plant-a-Vine Day brought out over 100 community members to help plant two varietals of Spanish red grape vines, Grenache and Carignan

Acres #12 (May 2016)

Tannat a hardy red found in France and Uraguay, was added to the vineyard in the spring of 2016.

Acre #13 (May 2017)

Final Acre Planted – New grape varietal – Piquepoul.

Piquepoul, Picpoul, or Picapoll is a variety of wine grape grown primarily in the Rhone Valley and Languedoc regions of France as well as Catalonia, Spain. It exists both in dark-skinned (Piquepoul noir) and light-skinned (Piquepoul blanc) versions, as well as a very little grown Piquepoul gris. Piquepoul blanc is the most common of the Piquepouls, with 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) cultivated in France in 2000, and an increasing trend.

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