Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards Open New Cottonwood Development

Arizona winemaker Maynard James Keenan and his team behind Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards have opened a new development in Cottonwood, Ariz., where locals and visitors alike can sip, eat, shop and discover Arizona wines. 

Located at 760 Verde Heights Drive on the former site of the area’s Masonic Lodge, the Cottonwood development includes the new Caduceus Cellars Hilltop Facility and VSC (Velvet Slippers Club) Ventura Room for private tastings as well as the new Merkin Vineyards Hilltop Winery & Trattoria that overlooks the verdant Verde Valley. The project is a culmination of 20 years of work by Keenan and encompasses a winery and cellar, tasting room, restaurant and retail space, food production greenhouse, gelateria and a vineyard set in the heart of historic Old Town Cottonwood. 

“In the many years I’ve been working towards this moment, one of the things I discovered when it comes to bridging the hurdle of exposing people to Arizona wine is context,” says Keenan, who is also a well-known musician from the rock bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. “So by putting a place like this in the middle of Cottonwood with five acres of vines, to winery facilities with a full greenhouse, and a full kitchen, all the context becomes visible, and you kind of break down the barriers of whatever preconceptions you have of Arizona wines.”

The Caduceus Cellars Hilltop Facility and VSC Ventura Room feature a 9,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art production facility, along with a 4.5-acre vineyard consisting of Graciano, Tempranillo and Garnacha grape varieties and a new VSC private tasting room. Private tastings and tours will be offered to take visitors behind the scenes into the history and mechanics of Caduceus Cellars.

The Merkin Vineyards Hilltop Winery & Trattoria includes a winery and barrel room, an on-site greenhouse and a bottle shop and also serves as the new home of Merkin Vineyards award-winning restaurant, the Trattoria. Helmed by Chef Chris Smith, the 6,600-square-foot restaurant boasts a stunning 270-degree view of the Verde Valley, a large bar and an outdoor patio and serves a menu consisting of fresh salads, handmade pastas and wood-oven pizzas. The neighboring winery, which guests can view as they enter the restaurant, features an 8,000-case production facility and display barrel room with six custom concrete fermentation and aging cubes.

Located at the base of the Cottonwood complex is the Merkin Vineyards Pocket Park Gelateria where customers can purchase freshly made gelato and secure a token for the Hilltop Tram that transports them to the top of the development as a reminder of the area’s copper mining past. Gelato Master Kelley E. Foy oversees the gelateria’s production and rotating selection of seasonal gelato flavors.

The Merkin Vineyards Hilltop Winery & Trattoria is now open daily Sunday through Thursday from 11a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. The Merkin Vineyards Pocket Park Gelateria is also open daily Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. The VSC Ventura Room is open by reservation only. To learn more, visit and merkin

Photos courtesy Greg Bernstein

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