Maynard James Keenan, renowned as the frontman of the iconic rock band Tool, has embarked on an ambitious expansion of his Verde Valley winery and vineyard located in Arizona. To fund this exciting project, Keenan turned to TMC Financing, a West Coast finance company with a distinguished reputation as a major provider of Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, primarily in the Grand Canyon State. This partnership marks a significant milestone for TMC Financing, as it ventures into uncharted territory by supporting an Arizona vineyard.
The Texas-based Comerica bank played a pivotal role in bringing TMC Financing into the fold to back Maynard James Keenan’s ventures, Caduceus Cellars, and Merkin Vineyards. Geoffrey McGivern, Senior Vice President and Business Development Officer at TMC Financing, expressed his enthusiasm about the collaboration, noting that while they had worked with various businesses in the wine industry before, this marked their inaugural foray into supporting a winery and vineyard in his 26-year history in the industry. “I’ve spoken to some vineyards but never had actually gotten one done before, so this was terrific,” McGivern remarked.
In October 2023, Maynard James Keenan unveiled the Caduceus Cellars Hilltop Facility & Velvet Slippers Club Ventura Room. Situated in Cottonwood, this magnificent establishment overlooks the picturesque Verde Valley and sprawls across seven acres on the former site of the area’s Masonic Lodge. This expansive project, which has been in the works for two decades, was finally able to come to fruition with the infusion of financing.
The project includes a state-of-the-art production facility spanning an impressive 9,500 square feet and a sprawling 4.5-acre vineyard. Prior to this expansion, Keenan, along with his wife Jennifer and co-winemaker Tim White, had been producing approximately 8,000 cases per year in their underground concrete facility affectionately known as “The Bunker.”
But that’s not all; the project also encompasses the Merkin Vineyards Hilltop Winery & Trattoria, a charming 6,600-square-foot restaurant. This restaurant is not your typical dining establishment; it boasts an integrated winery, a barrel room, an on-site greenhouse, and a bottle shop, creating a unique and immersive experience for visitors.
Maynard James Keenan’s vision behind this endeavor is to provide context to Arizona wines. He believes that by placing such a multifaceted establishment in the heart of Cottonwood, complete with five acres of vines and comprehensive winery facilities, it becomes possible to break down preconceptions about Arizona wines and showcase them in a new light. “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,” Keenan explained.
TMC Financing, with its history of working with various Arizona companies in diverse industries such as Someburros, Adobe Alarm, and Advanced Autism Center, now sees the opportunity to expand its presence in the state’s flourishing wine industry. McGivern anticipates that collaborating with Merkin Vineyards will serve as a conduit to partnering with other wineries in Arizona, especially given the growing number of wineries in regions like Camp Verde, Cottonwood, and even places in the southeastern part of the state, such as Sonoita.
Notably, in fiscal year 2023, TMC Financing earned recognition as the leading provider of SBA loans in Arizona, having disbursed 92 such loans amounting to a total of more than $118 million. This accomplishment solidifies their position as a trusted partner for businesses seeking financial support in the region. As they continue to expand their horizons, the partnership with Maynard James Keenan’s wineries adds an exciting new dimension to their portfolio, bringing the flavors of Arizona wines to a broader audience.