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Town approves new wine room

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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A new wine-tasting room is one step closer to opening in Camp Verde after the Town Council gave its blessing at its Oct. 28 meeting.

Ignacio and Sue Mesa run the Clear Creek Vineyard and Winery, past Verde Lakes off of State Route 260.

The winery was built in 2014 and now the Mesas have been working to build a tasting room to serve as an attraction as the wine industry continues to grow in the Verde Valley.

The Town Council voted unanimously to approve a use permit for the tasting room to operate on the site.

The tasting room also fits in with the town's efforts to allow "agritourism," which is visiting a working farm, ranch, agricultural or horticultural agribusiness to experience a rural lifestyle.

This wine-tasting room under consideration would sit on just over 10 acres of land.

Camp Verde Community Development Director Michael Jenkins said that there were no objections from surrounding property owners nor major concerns from government agencies.

The Camp Verde Fire District requires that there be enough room for a fire truck to turn around on the property.

There are no fire hydrants in the area, but there is a pond on the property that carries hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, according to Jenkins.

He said the Mesas have agreed to build a suction pump in the pond to allow the fire department to hook up in case of an emergency.

"If it weren't for the pond, Ignacio would be looking at a fire hydrant and we all know how expensive that can be," Jenkins said.

The only issue for the Arizona Department of Transportation is that if the tasting room generates significant increased traffic, new ingress and exit options may have to be considered.

The only recommendation from the Forest Service was that a land survey eventually be conducted to make sure any activities at the tasting room don't impact forest land.

Currently, the winery operates out of an older barn on the property.

The permit allows the Mesas to convert part of it into a tasting room temporarily, as long as it meets code, until a new tasting room can be opened.

That permission is also being issued in perpetuity, Jenkins said, based on how the Camp Verde Planning and Zoning Commission issued its recommendation to the Town Council.

"Usually they will always set a timeline, around six months, but I believe they feel comfortable with this," Jenkins said.

Members of the Town Council also seemed comfortable.

"I think that this is a great idea," Councilman Bradford Gordon said. "I think this will be really great for this area."

Sue Mesa said that work was already underway to get the tasting room running.

"Whether or not it's six months, we are doing it immediately," Mesa said, adding that she appreciated the support the project has received.

Tom Pitts, a Camp Verde resident who has worked with the Verde Valley Wine Consortium, also said he was looking forward to the tasting room.

"I think we all feel the same way about this project," Pitts said. "It's been a long time coming. I'll just say point blank, both as someone who has worked with the wine industry and as a resident, I think this will be a huge value to the town."

Pitts said that the winery would be able to take advantage of the growing wine industry network around the state to help market their business.

"This will open the door to Camp Verde to join that party," Pitts said, adding that the town should work to make sure the Mesas get the support they need.

"We should expedite the process to bring people here to show them what a great show piece we have in Camp Verde," Pitts said.

The vineyard plans to have the tasting room open in 2016.

Copyright 2015 The Camp Verde Journal, Camp Verde, Arizona. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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