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Wine Tour Benefits NAU Student

Some lucky Northern Arizona University transfer student will soon be toasting benefactors, thanks to a combined social and philanthropic wine tasting tour organized by the NAU Alumni Prescott chapter. 

Two dozen NAU alums and supporters visited the Southwest Wine Center (SWC) located on the Yavapai College Clarkdale campus last month. They took an educational tour of the modern viticulture and enology facility, getting to see the vineyards and the wine fermenting and bottling area.  

Barely a year old, the NAU-Prescott alum chapter selected the tour as its first fundraising project. NAU alums and Prescott residents Cindy and Bill Nyman, who serve as co-chairs for the Prescott chapter, called the event a great opportunity to collaborate with Yavapai College and NAU. “The funds we raised are dedicated to a scholarship for a YC student transferring to NAU,” said Bill. “This event alone raised $600.” 

The Nymans said the tour would become an annual event.  

The viticulture and enology program at YC is the only such degree-granting college program in the Southwest. Begun in 2009, it is housed in the renovated former racquetball court. The latest equipment in wine-making technology is a feature in the building. 

With a staff of six, the program has about 100 students enrolled, said Valerie Wood, one of the SWC founders and a host at the tasting room.  

Jodie Filardo, community and economic development director for the Town of Clarkdale, told visitors, “The Southwest Wine Center has become a hub for education, research and economic development, not just in the Verde Valley, but for the entire state of Arizona.”  

Prescott attorney Robert Pecharich, a 1971 NAU graduate, told the crowd that in his view, investing money into scholarships for students “…is one of the most thoughtful and generous ways you can give back to an institution that helped you.” QCBN 



By Ray Newton, QCBN 

Photo by Ray Newton 






Arizona Wine Industry Is Big Contributor to Economy     

Northern Arizona University alumni who participated in the tour of the Southwest Wine Center in Clarkdale likely learned information about the Arizona wine industry that the general public has never heard.  

Research conducted by the NAU W. A. Franke College of Business revealed the following about Arizona wine tourism: 

  • The wine tourism industry created an estimated $56 million in economic output. 
  • Wine tourism generates more than 640 full-time or equivalent jobs. 
  •  Wine tourism generates about $3.6 million in state and local taxes because of wine tourism expenditures and its indirect effects. 
  • Most visitors to wineries and vineyards – 57 percent – are day visitors, while 43 percent stay overnight or longer. 

Other memorable facts:  

  • Wine is big business internationally – three billion cases a year. 
  • Top five wine consuming nations in gallons per year:   No. 1: France;  No. 2: United States; No. 3: China; No. 4: Italy; No. 5: Germany. 
  • The largest per capita consumer of wine in the world:  Vatican City. QCBN 


By Ray Newton  




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