“For top quality, that means a lot of work on foot and by hand. It is monotonous and tedious, but its the only way to produce high quality wine in any region.” – Kent Callaghan, Dirt Blog
In Santa Cruz County, in the southeastern corner of Arizona, Callaghan Vineyards has been crafting exquisite wines which express the region’s unique soil and climate for over 25 years. Pioneers of Arizona’s burgeoning wine industry, Harold and Karen Callaghan first planted the Buena Suerte vineyard in 1990, only to have it decimated by a heat wave. Undaunted, the Callaghans began anew, patiently learning the terroir and experimenting with different varietals and rootstocks to discover which grapes were capable of fully realizing the potential of Arizona’s wine country. The challenges presented to viticulturists in the region run the gamut from hot, dry winds to monsoon downpours, and everything in between; but Callaghan Vineyards, now helmed by Kent and his wife Lisa, has overcome these adversities and now boasts an impressive roster of exceptional wines.
Keeping with his parents’ love of European wines, Kent mostly cultivates Spanish varieties: Grenache, Mourvedre, and Tempranillo, as well as unusual French varieties such as Petit Verdot and Tannat. The unique mix of altitude, harsh climate, and calcium-rich, caliche soils favor these thick-skinned grapes, and lend the wines distinctive aromas and flavor profiles. Through years of hard work and dedication, the Callaghans have discovered how to express the singular terroir of their vineyards in their intense, earthy reds and fresh, dry whites.
The Callaghans have been hailed as pioneers of Arizona winemaking, and Kent and Lisa continue to lead innovation in the burgeoning industry as a founding member of the Arizona Vignerons Alliance (AVA). Callaghan’s wines have earned accolades from from the likes of The Wine Advocate and Decanter Magazine, and have been served at no less than three White House dinners.