The third annual Verde Valley Wine Festival has an official date: Saturday, May 12. Following a successful two-day event last year, partner hosts Four Eight Wineworks and the Clarkdale Foundation have opted to return to Clarkdale Town Park for a single-day event.
According to last year’s festival coordinator Shelby Scheer, 2017’s attendance topped out at approximately 2,000, with nearly 1,400 attending on Saturday. 2016’s festival, which took place over a single Saturday, attracted 1,100 people.
According to Michelle Barry, press lead for the event, a portion of proceeds from the event will go to the Clarkdale Foundation’s philanthropic programs and the Arizona Vignerons Alliance, which promotes Arizona wines. Though the application period for wineries and wine vendors has closed, organizers are still looking to attract other vendors.
A complete lineup of wineries, restaurants, breweries, distilleries and crafts and food vendors will be announced on Feb. 20.
“We’re also on the lookout for media and business sponsors, as well as local community members interested in volunteering to help run the event,” Barry stated in a press release.
“There are several tiers of sponsorship participation that can meet the budget needs of local businesses who want to raise their profile within the community.” According to Barry, the event is still in need of volunteers for tasks including taking tickets at entry, overseeing VIP guest check-ins, setup and breakdown of exhibits, as well as other duties.
At the 2017 event, Barry stated, “locally-sourced wine of more than 20 area winemakers, local beer breweries and distilleries, and 20 local specialty food vendors” were featured.
The hope, according to David Baird, director of the Verde Valley Wine Festival and tasting room manager at Four Eight Wineworks, is to attract an even greater number of vendors and guests in 2018, creating a sustainable, signature area event.
“[The event] highlights the community of Clarkdale and the Verde Valley at large, offering the finest of Northern Arizona’s growing ecosystem of wineries, breweries, spirits and restaurants,” Baird stated in the release. “We’re committed to creating homegrown products for locals and visitors to enjoy, and we expect the 2018 festival to be even bigger than last year, with more choices and experiences.”
The Clarkdale Foundation Board of Directors President Nick Hunseder praised the event for its successful run, which highlights an increasingly important regional asset.
“The wine industry is quickly becoming an important economic and cultural part of the Verde Valley, and this is an opportunity for the public to get to know the winemakers who live and work in their local communities,” Hunseder stated in the release.
Email Baird at David@vvwf.com for information about sponsorship, volunteering or applying as a food, beer, distillery or craft vendor.