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Callaghan Vineyards – Elgin, AZ Pt. 1
Episode 224th February 2020 • The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast • Forrest Kelly
00:00:00 00:06:39

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Welcome to The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast. I’m your host Forrest Kelly from the seed to the glass. Wine has a past. Our aim at The Best 5 Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all grape minds think alike. Let’s start the adventure.

Our featured winery is: We venture to Arizona. Callaghan Vineyards. Dr. Gordon Dutt, doing some research for a project that he was working on, was surprised to find that there were no wineries in the state, even though the soil composition was similar to Burgundy France after some funding. The wine business was born in Elgin, Arizona. The state of Arizona has over 100 wineries, but in a particular area, we’re talking about is fifteen, including Kent, Callaghan Vineyards.

So we go back to summertime 1990, Ken’s parents decide to start the vineyards along with Kent. But Mother Nature didn’t exactly greet him with open arms.

Well, we planted in the middle of a heatwave. It was the first time, as far as I know, Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix had shut down. Think it was 122 for a couple of days. It was 105 here in Elgin.

So we lost a lot of our plantings right off the bat in Cabernet, which was about 9000 of those vines to us, probably twenty-five hundred.

It’s going to be all that hard work. Then to see those vines die because of the extreme heat, you probably wonder whose idea was this anyway?

It was my dad’s idea. He had been a real home winemaker, so they thought this parcel man asked me to come on to help them plant the starting point of entry and start a winery. I was right out of college at that point, basically.

So you graduate from college. Where did you to college? Pomona in Claremont. Okay. In Southern California. And graduated with a degree in philosophy. So from that to the current time, you’ve been doing this. What? Let’s say you do the math. You’re a little over 30 years.

Yeah, 30 years. 30 of vintage this year and then 31st first year growing.

How big is pruning into the success of a vineyard? It’s huge. In my opinion, the single most important thing that you do if I had to rank them.

Why is it so critical? Well, It sets the stage for basically everything else. If you prune correctly, you know, you’re just setting yourself up for success the vine architecture, the way the vine grows is going to give you hope what you know, he’s intending to get with less need for inputs, particularly manual input.

Without getting too philosophical, how would you describe your vineyard, your winery? We’re not looking for a huge crop. I think we’re looking for quality fruit. It’s the whole focus on what we do.

Are you one of the bigger wineries? Biggest acreage, one of the smaller wineries. Our output is not particularly large. We’re probably the third our fourth-largest, something like that out of fifteen. Yeah, well, I was the whole goal from the start was never to be a large operation, but a quality one.

It’s a winery. What are you most proud of? I mean, just enjoy it. I guess we’re best known for. We’re still experimenting. I mean, it’s been quite a long journey in trying to figure out what varieties grow best and not only in Sonoita, where we are specifically on our specific site. And that is something that’s still ongoing. It’s been fun and somewhat now. I’m consuming, obviously, but mostly rewarding. Otherwise, you’re not just our own, but for the folks that are consumers that enjoy our wine. I think it’s interesting for them to see, you know, the library historical data to see how the wines age, what’s done well, you know, and how the vintage is different are different because we definitely have vintage variation in Arizona in general and particularly in Sonoita due to the monsoon rainfall that we get, everything depends on how much rain falls when it falls. If we have a cloud cover at critical times when it rains and that kind of thing. So all of those things affect and that obviously is effects your wine, not only air quality but also the character of the vintage.

Ok. Due to time constraints, that concludes part one of our interview with Kent of Callaghan Vineyards. So that brings us up to our listener voicemail.

Hello. This is Savannah from Corona, California. I would like to know who invented the corkscrew and when. As far as historians can recall the earliest reference to a corkscrew was in the 1680s. They called the crude instruments a steel worm. We do know that Reverend Samuel Henshall received the first patent in 1795. Thank you, Savannah, for your question.

Thank you for listening. I’m Forrest Kelly. This episode of the Best 5 Minute Wine podcast was produced by IHYSM, if you like the show tell your friends and pets and subscribe. Until next time pour the wine and ponder your next adventure.

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