El Portal Guest Blog Submission

The summer season is winding down across the state, but Sedona is not going to let it go without a final month of events for visitors to enjoy. Headlining this month is the Sedona Wine Fest: a two day festival that showcases the many local wineries and their great wines from the Verde Valley, Prescott and the Southern Arizona regions. This year the Wine Fest will take place on September 27th and 28th, so come over the weekend and enjoy the delicious wine as well as the food, music, and vendors!

The soil in the Arizona hills is so rich that it has even been compared to Burgundy, France, and the wine festival is the perfect opportunity to learn about this region and the world-class grapes it grows. If you’re interested in sampling these premium Arizona wines, then Sedona Wine Festival is the perfect way for you to spend the weekend – learning about all things wine, trying premium local reds and whites, and enjoying the food, music, and vendors that come with it.   If you find yourself wanting to learn more than the two day festival can hope to teach you, then consider going on a tour of the local vineyards – many of which have tastings and even jeep tours for interested parties. Arizona is growing in reputation, so wrap up the summer and kick off the fall with this annual event that draws people from near and far!winetasting1

While you’re enjoying the festival, you will need a place to call your home. Let that place be El Portal Sedona Hotel – a local, pet-friendly artisan hotel. The boutique hotel is centrally located and with knowledgeable staff who offer personalized concierge services for the Sedona area, El Portal Sedona is the perfect place to rest and relax between these events!

El Portal Sedona Hotel  Courtesy Sunflower Studios


Guest Blog submission by Roger Naylor

Grapes, like people, need to overcome a little adversity to develop true character. If everything comes too easy for them they simply grow up to be grapes. Maybe they get a chance to pursue a career as jelly, juice or raisins but that’s as far as they go. Yet under the right conditions, grapes can mature into fine wine.

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Sedona and the Verde Valley offer the ideal location and climate to develop award-winning wines. The serenity of Sedona today belies its violent past when fierce volcanoes towered over the landscape. What remains is a layer of rich volcanic soil blanketing hillsides above the creeks and streams providing exquisite settings for vineyards. Dramatic temperature swings—warm days and cool nights—coaxes the complexity and intense flavors from the small fruit. These are the traits coveted by winemakers who then work their magic.

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Thanks to the burgeoning wine industry, visitors can spend languid afternoons exploring lush vineyards just outside of town. Tasting rooms pour Syrahs, Zinfandels, Chardonnays and more. Restaurants proudly stock an array of local wines to pair with meals—full-bodied reds and lean crisp whites.

Green Wisteria grow free on this pathway to Page Springs Vineyards & Cellars

Most important of all, everything slows down for good wine. You stop and taste and savor. Wine gives you permission to relax. It keeps you in the moment. And sitting in Sedona with a glass raised, toasting a vibrant sunset is exactly the kind of moment to hold onto ever so tight.

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Grapes have discovered what everyone else already knew: Sedona is the perfect place to grow and flourish and to become the best possible version of themselves they can become.


Guest Blog submission from Arizona Travel Writer Roger Naylor

Everyone knows Sedona provides a feast for the eyes and nourishment for the soul. But it’s not your soul that starts growling around lunchtime.

Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.

Fortunately, visitors will have no trouble satisfying rumbling tummies. Culinary options are as varied as the fanciful red rock formations defining the magnificent landscape. From casual cafes to white tablecloth dining rooms, health-conscious vegetarian to cowboy-style steakhouses, spicy Southwestern to elegant Italian, and everything in between, Sedona has emerged in recent years as a destination for lovers of fine food.

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While the idea of eating local has become a popular culinary trend, it never went out of style in Sedona. The town was first settled because of year round water and fertile soil. Local fruit and produce, along with trout pulled fresh from Oak Creek are menu mainstays. Varietals of grapes grow on sloping hillsides just outside of town and produce some of Arizona’s finest wines.

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What you won’t find are many chain restaurants. Chef-owned eateries, brimming with passion, define the dining experience. Sedona is a destination meant to be savored, in every way imaginable. You can dine creekside, on a patio in the shadow of soaring red rocks or at a sidewalk table in the midst of the bustling historic main street district. Some of the best side dishes served throughout the town are the views.

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Don’t worry too much about over indulging. Everyone who visits Sedona is pulled outdoors. It only takes a few hours hiking, biking, kayaking, golfing or swimming—all the reasons you came in the first place—to work off last night’s dessert. When it comes to calories, what happens in Sedona, stays in Sedona. You only take home the delicious memories.

#Sedonacuisine


Snow covered red rocks lead travelers into Sedona from Oak Creek Canyon

Driving into Sedona from Oak Creek Canyon is a spectacle

Sedona’s winters are so breathtaking and dramatic, it instantly pushes real-world thoughts far, far away, setting up the perfect opportunity for true romance. Since Sedona is located in the high desert of Arizona, each season offers perfect sunny days and crisp starry nights. Whether hiking between iconic red rock monoliths and canyons, or relaxing in a serene spa, it is easy to find a way to luxuriate in free time while in Sedona. Savvy romantics know to head to airport road for sunset from atop the rocks, but intimate lodging, dining, nightlife and spa options are abundant here.

Seeking solitude? Try staying in a secluded rustic cabin or B&B surrounded by a lush forest or overlooking the crisp mountain spring waters Oak Creek. Fires blaze inside log cabins where a local red wine is a special treat for a chilly winter night.

An off-road trail overlooks Sedona's scenic mountains

Take an off-road adventure during the winter season for extreme fun and stunning scenery

Seeking adventure? Hop on a four wheel or (four legged) excursion that will take you out into Sedona’s red rock outback. If you are here to witness an unusual snow storm, make sure your camera is handy. A light white snow dusting atop rusty red mountain tops illuminate the colors drastically; brick red becomes electric orange and crimson.

Sedona’s new Holiday Central event will have couples singing carols, kissing under the mistletoe, cuddling in front of fun new festive city wide decorations, and sipping hot mugs of home grown apple cider. Horse drawn carriages, stunning lights, and even an ice skating rink are parts of Holiday Central Sedona! holidaycentralsedona.com

Seeking the opinion of an outsider? See why Travel + Leisure chose Sedona, Arizona as one of “America’s Most Romantic Winter Destinations”! travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-most-romantic-winter-destinations/2


There’s a mistaken notion that Arizona doesn’t have seasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sedona, for example, rolls out all four seasons in dramatic fashion. And if that isn’t enough, even throws in a bonus fifth season.

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Autumn is the standout.  It is a stealthy, albeit radiant, season. Autumn doesn’t show up on the high slopes where you’d expect it. The rocks don’t blush any redder in fall. Colors erupt in drainage, in canyon bottoms and along stream banks. The multi-hued ribbon of Oak Creek is graced by the colorful leaves of cottonwood, velvet ash, Arizona sycamore, box elder and willow. Clustered sumac, a viney tangle of canyon grape and Virginia creeper enhance the kaleidoscope effect. For visitors who want to experience it firsthand, hiking trails such as West Fork, Huckaby and Allen’s Bend plunge you right into the heart of this riparian riot.

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As autumn unfolds, another season begins in Sedona. Harvest has been part of the cultural heritage of the community since the first pioneers planted crops, orchards and vineyards. Today, a handful of estate wineries huddle along Page Springs Road. Taking advantage of the rich volcanic soil and excellent climate, these wineries are producing handcrafted wines in both white and red varietals as well as library wines and multi-grape bottling. Their annual harvest and grape crush celebrates the very best of all the seasons.

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Come out and reconnect with the land, that rich earth of the Verde Valley. Sip a glass of vino and breathe deep the crisp air under an achingly blue and brilliant sky. That’s a Sedona-style autumn you won’t soon forget.

West Fork Canyon

West Fork Canyon

To learn about Sedona’s upcoming events, click here: http://sedonachamber.com/article/341.


Foodies Rejoice, it’s Time to Dine!

On June 25, it’s time to begin a genuine dining experience by eating at 21 of Sedona’s finest restaurants! Sedona Dine & Wine Fest is proudly presented by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce. This two month culinary tour of Sedona kicks off June 25 and ends August 31, 2012. We all know how easy it is to get caught in a restaurant rut, so venture out and take advantage of this opportunity to try something new at one of Sedona’s fabulous restaurants for an insanely great price.

This event gives locals and visitors the chance to experience a selection of specially priced meals from a wide variety of restaurants. Guests will enjoy three-course, prix-fixe dinner menus with two choices for each course including an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Restaurants are divided into four categories depending on price. There are two restaurants participating at the Classic dining level where you can enjoy a perfectly priced dinner for $17.00 with choices from Mexican or Southwest/American cuisine. In the Elegant dining level you can savor the cuisine for $25.00 at fourteen different restaurants with menu items such as Ginger Soy Cilantro Glazed Salmon, Molasses and Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin and Sonoran Sea White Shrimp Tamales. For Classic dining you can splurge on a special dinner for $35.00 from one of five restaurants; you won’t want to miss the scrumptious desserts. Price is per person and does not include beverages, tax and gratuities.

Restaurant Fest: 6 Tips

  1. Make reservations for Sedona Dine & Wine as early as possible
  1. If you need to cancel your reservation, do so with as much notice as possible so restaurants have the opportunity to rebook the table.
  1. Look for specially priced wine pairings to accompany your meal – some restaurants offer wines by the glass or pairings to accompany the whole meal at reduced prices.
  1. Tax and gratuity are not included in the prix fixe price. Be sure to show appreciation for good service by tipping generously…it’s good karma.
  1. Tell your server you are there for ‘Sedona Dine & Wine Fest’ when you arrive.

They will then present you with a special menu.

With restaurants offering a wide variety of menus, atmosphere, and food this will be an experience to remember. Don’t miss out, make your reservation today and get out of your restaurant rut. In the words of Virginia Woolf: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

For more information please visit the event website at www.sedonadineandwine.com or call the Sedona Chamber of Commerce for more information at 928-204-1123.