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Our Story

 Innovating in Arizona Since 1990
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Founder, Kent Callaghan, on the founding of the winery:

My parents (Harold and Karen) and I planted our Buena Suerte Vineyard in May/June of 1990. Our planting happened to coincide with a vicious heat wave, one consequence of which was that Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix was shut down for a few days. Nobody had tested passenger jets at temperatures over 120F. But it was only 105F in Elgin …Needless to say, we lost a few (thousand) vines.

This experience set the stage for what would become the Callaghan M.O. – replanting – always with an eye toward grape varieties and rootstocks better suited to our arid, windy, sun-bleached region. So, over many years, we have tossed out our original Bordeaux mindset and moved to one rooted in the Mediterranean. Spanish varieties, in particular, seem best-suited to our site – Graciano, Mourvedre, Grenache. We have found that one Bordeaux variety, Petit Verdot, provides us with a distinctive spicy/peppery/meaty blending component. Finally, Tannat, a black, burly variety from just north of the Pyrenees, has shown itself to be well-adapted to southeastern Arizona’s terroir. As for white wine, we have only one estate white now – Lisa’s – a blend of Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Malvasia Bianca, Clairette and Petit Manseng. The object is to produce an uncommonly nuanced white wine with great freshness and flavor "chew". With all of our wines, our primary concerns are depth of flavor and complexity. Textural considerations are secondary and best addressed by appropriate cellaring and/or food pairing.

Approximately 85%of our time is spent working in the vineyard. Any discussion with any serious wine producer in the world is always dominated by viticultural details and the weather patterns of any given vintage. Wine potential is determined in the vineyard. So our winemaking approach is decidedly simplistic –no gizmos, lots of barrels (new to fifteen years old), aging on the lees and little racking.

From our first vintage in 1991, our wines have received accolades from the most respected wine writers & publications in the world: Robert Parker, Decanter, Karen MacNeil, Oz Clarke, Tom Stevenson, The Wall Street Journal. 


Accolades

CALLAGHAN VINEYARDS HAS BEEN HONORED BY HAVING ITS WINE SERVED AT THE WHITE HOUSE FOUR TIMES:

  • Callaghan 2013 Caitlin’s, a Petit Verdot based blend, was served at the White House Governors Dinner, January 2017

  • Callaghan 2004 Claire’s, a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Petite Sirah, was served at President George W. Bush’s dinner for retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

  • Callaghan 1998 Buena Suerte Cuvee, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, was served in 2000 at President Bill Clinton’s last State Dinner with the Prime Minister of India.

  • Callaghan 1993 Buena Suerte Cuvee, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, was served in 1996 at a White House dinner for the Democratic National Committee.

  • Robert Parker/Wine Advocate - “As I have said so many times in the past, this is one of the most interesting wineries in America.”

  • In 2006 Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano designated Callaghan Vineyards as one of Arizona’s Treasures

  • Le Monde listed Callaghan Vineyards as one of the six most interesting wineries in the U.S. “Astonishing, concentrated and fruity wines. This pioneer symbolizes the spirit of the wines of the New World.”

  • 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition: Caitlin’s 2013 - Double Gold Medal and 98/100 points.

  • 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition: Greg’s Petit Manseng 2015 - Double Gold Medal, Ann’s Malvasia Bianca 2015 and Petit Verdot 2015 - Gold Medals.

  • 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition: Ann’s Malvasia Bianca 2016 - Double Gold Medal, AZ Dry Rose’ 2016 Gold Medal.

  • 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition: AZ Tannat 2016 - Double Gold Medal and Best in Class

      • Come join us, relax and taste our wines. We’re just one hour south of Tucson, Arizona. Callaghan Vineyards is open to the public Thursday through Sunday, from 11- 4pm

Callaghan Vineyards
Kent & Lisa Callaghan
Owners & Third Generation & Fourth Generation Tucsonans