Verde Valley AVA (proposed) Topography Maps
Much of the proposed Verde Valley AVA has elevations between 3,000 and 4,000 feet (914 and 1,219 meters).1,2 An area in the far northwest has elevations between 4,000 and 5,000 feet (1,219 and 1,524 meters). Higher elevations, some of which exceed 7,000 feet (2,134 meters), occur just outside of the western boundary.
Elevation creates pronounced differences in temperature and precipitation. Average temperatures at higher elevations are cooler than those at lower ones. Average precipitation amounts at higher elevations are greater than those at lower ones.
The northern and southern parts of the proposed Verde Valley AVA mostly have slopes less than 5%.1 Slopes in the central part often are between 5% and 30%. Slopes in the far northwestern part are commonly greater than 30%.
Slope represents the change in elevation across an area. It can influence the amount of sunlight directly reaching vines and thus temperatures within a vineyard, as well as cold-air drainage, water infiltration, soil erosion, and use of vineyard equipment.
Many areas along the western boundary of the proposed Verde Valley AVA face north or east.1 Much of the rest of the area faces south or west.
Aspect is the cardinal direction that a slope faces. Like slope, it can modulate sunlight that directly reaches vines and thus temperatures within a vineyard. Locations with south- and west-facing slopes experience higher values of these environmental conditions.
The proposed Verde Valley AVA is centered on the confluence of Oak Creek, which flows from the northeast, and the Verde River, which flows along the valley floor from northwest to southeast.3 Several other creeks, washes, and ephemeral streams drain into and through the area.
Natural features that are perennial, intermittent, or ephemeral and engineered features like canals, ditches, and reservoirs make up surface water. In addition to directing water across a landscape, these features can channel cooler air from higher elevations to lower ones on nights with little to no wind, influencing spring and fall freeze risk as well as diurnal temperature range during summer.