My mission in this Planet Wine series is to show you the amazing reach of viticulture on our planet, and to demonstrate that wine isn’t something you just find in France, Italy or California. Lately I’ve taken you to wineries in Israel, England and Canada. Here’s perhaps the most unexpected landing site of all: Arizona??!!?!
Yes, it’s true. In the above picture, look just to the right of the cattle crossing sign (nice touch, BTW) and you can barely see a few small grapevines in what’s obviously a young vineyard. This is Caduceus Cellars in an unincorporated area of Arizona (Caduceus’s tasting room is located in the town of Jerome), and this particular winery may have special resonance for those of you who (like me) love heavy metal and hard rock music. Caduceus is owned and operated by Maynard Keenan, singer for the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle. He established the winery in 2004 far away from the area where the rest of Arizona’s admittedly few wineries are situated, but Keenan, who is descended from a family of Italian winemakers, was convinced this area would be perfect for viticulture.
Keenan seems to have been right. He broke the mold, putting out wines with strange names like Chupacabra, Anubis and Shinola, but his wines have won several awards, most recently from the Arizona Wine Growers Association. He also makes a cabernet sauvignon that is said to be excellent. I have tasted a Caduceus wine in the last six months, but for the life of me I can’t remember which one it was–though I recall it was very good, and I was surprised to learn it came from Arizona. I also mentioned Caduceus in an article on the wines of heavy metal that I did in 2013.
Keenan’s journey into winemaking and the birth of Caduceus Cellars was the subject of a 2010 documentary, Blood Into Wine.