Keeling-Schaefer Vineyards

Keeling Schaefer Vineyards. September 17 2016 Wine Event

About

Welcome to Keeling Schaefer Vineyards! At 5000 feet above sea level, the summer climate of warm, sunny days and cool, high desert nights combined with the unique rhyolite volcanic soils and hands-on winemaking has created Arizona's finest wines.

Location Description

Located along Rock Creek on the western slope of the Chiricahua Mountains in far southeastern Arizona.

Features

  • We produce estate grown and bottled Rhone-styled wine.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Average Bottle Price

$ 18

History

My granddad, M.h. "Monty" Montgomery, was an Arizona farmer for all of his life. He grew cotton, alfalfa and grapes west of Casa Grande for over 50 years. Monty was extremely dynamic in the community, serving on the neighborhood school board and the Casa Grande City Council. Conceived in 1885, his lifelong passion was his family and his ranch.

At the present time, my brother, Doug Keeling, farms on 4000-acres with his family. The core of this Keeling ranch is the 160-acre Montgomery "home place". Doug has been blessed to own and build Montgomery Farms throughout the last 38 years.

One night around 15 years ago, our good friend and partner, Roger Egan, took me over to the new PF Chang's on Mill Avenue. It appears strange now, however there were no wine bars to speak of in Phoenix in those days and PF Chang's, with just two restaurants, was one of the only of places that had an extensive wine-by-the-glass selection. Roger has a long history of very successful restaurants in California, Arizona and Idaho, and he was very involved in the rising wine industry in northern California 30-40 years back. Roger ordered a glass of Grgich Hills Zinfiandel, and all my thoughts about wine and what it can taste like forever.

Needless to say, some individuals that have a wine epiphany start to collect wines and even build a cellar to store them in. Not me, I wanted to begin making my own wine at home. After a couple less than successful tries with hobby kits, I realized I needed real grapes to work with. I started a relationship with Al Buhl and his partner, Sam Pillsbury at Dos Cabezas close to Willcox. My harvest day was a three hour drive down to Willcox to get grapes from Al, a mad dash home to Tempe and after that a late night with the neighbors crushing grapes.

On a weekend vacation to the Chiricahua Mountains in 2000, Jan and I found a small farm for sale on Rock Creek, 12 miles south of the National Monument. It was all grass, with oak and ash trees along the creek in the back. We began questioning is this could be a vineyard estate for us. We ended up buying the property and started the adventure that has headed us to our new home in wine country.

We drilled our well in 2002, did all of the work to get our permit, and built the winery in 2003. Along the way we needed to explain to the district and our neighbors what we were doing, prove out the easement for electricity, and endure the application process and the public hearings for our winery licensing.

Practices & Techniques

Keeling-Schaefer wines are produced from fruit grown on our estate vineyards. We harvest 21-acres of mostly ENTAV ensured French grapevines on our Home Place Vineyard and our Rock Creek Vineyard. One thing different about us compared to many other wineries is that we grow our own fruit and make all of our wine in the winery placed on the vineyard. It is such an advantage to be able to control all aspects of winemaking, including all of the harvesting decisions.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

The home place vineyard was planted in 2004 and we harvested our first fruit in 2005. A small harvest from the young vines, but we made wine and after 18 months in the cellar, we began sales operations in 2007. Jan and I were still working in Tempe and we would dash down to the vineyard every Friday night to work on the vines all weekend. Early on Monday, we would get dressed for work and drive 3 hours back to Tempe for Jan’s 8AM Staff Meetings. The first two years, we did everything and we trained every vine and made all the wine ourselves.

Jan and I retired from our long time jobs in Tempe and sold our house in 2007. We moved down to the vineyard in July of 07 and lived in the winery tasting room for the next 18 months! After two years of hard work, we moved in to our new house on the vineyard the day before Christmas, 2008.

The best part is the vineyard is productive, the wine is good and people like it! After all our hard work and investment, we are living the vineyard life in the foothills of the most beautiful “sky island” in America.

Awards

Our wines have been featured and reviewed in Arizona Highways, Arizona Republic, Growing, the Wall Street Journal and are some of the highest scored Arizona wines by Wine Spectator.

Wine Spectator Ratings for Keeling Schaefer Wines:

KEELING SCHAEFER Syrah Cochise County Three Sisters 2007
89
Quite ripe, with boysenberry, fig paste and currant confiture notes woven with licorice snap and espresso notes. Stays nice and creamy through the smoke-tinged finish. Almost heady in the end, but pulls it off. Drink now. 971 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2010

KEELING SCHAEFER Viognier Cochise County Best Friends 2009
89
Ripe and broad, but with good cut, as star anise, dried pineapple and white peach flavors fill out through the juicy finish. Very tasty. Drink now. 55 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Dec 31, 2010

KEELING SCHAEFER Syrah Cochise County Three Sisters 2009
89
This has a heady ripeness, with dark blackberry compote, plum sauce and blueberry preserves notes, but there's a lacing of mesquite and singed vanilla that lends texture and length on the finish, keeping this honest. Drink now. 539 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2012

KEELING SCHAEFER Partners Cochise County 2007
88
Ripe, fleshy and smoky, with mulled fig, plum sauce and spice bread notes liberally laced with black tea and roasted vanilla bean. A touch shy on focus in the end, but with good range. Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Drink now. 264 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Dec 31, 2010

KEELING SCHAEFER Shiraz Cochise County Keeling Brothers 2009
88
Quite ripe and a touch heady, with raisin, dark plum, prune and cocoa notes framed by mocha and spice. Plush in feel, but perhaps a touch extreme in style for some tastes. Drink now. 42 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2012

KEELING SCHAEFER Syrah Cochise County Three Sisters 2010
87
This has heft, with baker's chocolate, plum, prune and ample roasted wood notes, but there's good flesh and polish, with enough definition on the finish for balance. Drink now. 431 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2012

KEELING SCHAEFER Syrah Cochise County Home Place Reserve 2007
87
This sports fig, prune and plum notes along with fruitcake and toasted raisin notes. Plush and mouthfilling, but a touch shy on freshness and purity. Drink now. 96 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2012

KEELING SCHAEFER Shiraz Cochise County Keeling Brothers 2007
87
This is dark and toasty, with raisin, roasted plum and fig jam flavors liberally coated with a roasted vanilla note. Drink now. 72 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Dec 31, 2010

KEELING SCHAEFER Shiraz Cochise County Keeling Brothers 2010
86
Rather overt style, with thickly layered plum, prune and blackberry jam notes, liberally framed with roasted spice and toast. A touch heady in the end, but may have some fans. Drink now. 44 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2012

KEELING SCHAEFER Syrah Cochise County Home Place Reserve 2006
86
Mature, with soft raisin, cinnamon, baked plum and licorice notes held together by a toasty frame. Drink now. 72 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2010

KEELING SCHAEFER Chardonnay Cochise County Best Friends 2008
86
Juicy and fresh, showing open-knit apple, pear and peach notes liberally laced with a buttery note. Drink now. 76 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2010

KEELING SCHAEFER Grenache Cochise County Two Reds 2007
86
Lively, with raspberry and mulled cherry fruit flavors laced with spice and incense notes. A touch jammy on the finish, but stays supple enough. Drink now. 631 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2009

KEELING SCHAEFER Turkey Creek Caldera Cochise County 2007
85
A late-harvest style, offering ripe blueberry, chocolate-covered blackberry and raisin toast notes, with the raisined edge lingering on the lightly firm finish. Syrah. Drink now. 101 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2010

KEELING SCHAEFER Partners Cochise County 2010
84
Ripe and friendly, with a mix of blueberry and raisin notes laced with a pain d'épices note, but turning a touch airy in the end. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Petite Syrah. Drink now. 485 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2012

KEELING SCHAEFER Partners Cochise County 2008
84
A dark, fleshy style, with a Port edge to the raisin, blueberry cobbler and warm fig notes. The toast- and cinnamon-filled finish is broad. This is a touch top-heavy in the end, but may have some fans. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Petit Sirah. Drink now. 195 cases made. –JM
Country: Other US Region: Arizona Issue: Web Only - 2011

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Hours

Summer Hours: Thursday - Sunday: 11-5

Address

154 N Railroad Ave
Willcox, Arizona 85643
United States

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