A Journey...

In 2005 I began my journey into the world of wine. Freshly minted with a History degree from Arizona State University, I did what every liberal arts major would do - I pursued a job in the restaurant industry. I was afforded the opportunity to delve deep into a world unknown to me. One that offered the ability to travel to far away places without ever leaving my glass. A place where you can taste the exact creation someone made from across the seas, and gain the same benefit as anyone else savoring that same juice that same day. Wine, a magical and noteworthy pursuit indeed.

A Plan...

While learning the ins and outs of the wine industry from the server and sommelier side of the craft, I began to envision myself as a winemaker. While I enjoyed providing the enjoyment to guests that the service industry offered, I knew deep inside that I wanted to create wine with my own two hands. The barriers to such a pursuit are many and quite overwhelming to say the least. Being an AZ native, I was lucky enough to discover the burgeoning wine industry right under my nose. Like most ventures in their infancy there was high risk in pursuing wine-making in Arizona. However, with high risk usually comes the benefit of high reward. I planned on the latter.

A Passion...

Armed with a plan I began to chisel away at my goal. I started making wine in 2007 with PurVine Winery in Tempe, AZ. Three years were spent making Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and learning as much as I could under the tutelage of winemaker John Allen Burtner. In 2009 I traveled to Walla Walla, WA to work a harvest with Waters Winery under winemaker Jamie Brown. There were a plethora of parallels to be explored between Walla Walla and Arizona. The experience really opened my eyes to the potential of a burgeoning wine industry. From Walla Walla, I ventured to Paddy Borthwick Vineyards in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand for the harvest of 2010. Here I gained an international view on the craft whilst working with Burgundy varietals for the first time. This international experience led me to Kosta Browne, the Pinot Noir powerhouse based in Sebastopol, CA. I came to KB in 2010 as a harvest intern and stayed on until 2012, finishing my post as Cellar Master. Working in the heart of wine country was great. The best parts were the friendships I forged and the camaraderie involved with pursuing wine in a group of dedicated and like-minded individuals. In 2012, I was lucky to have the opportunity to return to Arizona to ply my trade. I arrived in Willcox, AZ during the summer of 2012 to take the helm as Winemaker with Aridus Wine Company. A dusty and lonely wine destination is SE Arizona, Willcox truly is a petri dish of wine industry growth. Working with AZ fruit for the first time was eye-opening after traveling around the world and back. To me, it presented a challenge. One that will last my entire life no doubt.

Rune...

In 2013 I founded Rune Wines. With the culmination of my knowledge thus far coupled with the knowledge gained with each additional vintage, I finally began to reap the rewards of the hard and passionate work that has led me down this path. Rune is about doing things differently. Experimenting, honing, focusing, crafting, and producing something that is truly unique and enticing for those that would be intrigued.

Thank you for sharing in my craft and discovering new and exciting things alongside yours truly.

-James Callahan

Winemaker - Rune Wines