1D CuO/ZnO nanocomposites were grown on Si(100) substrates by means of an original two-step synthetic strategy. ZnO nanorod (NR) arrays were initially deposited by plasma enhanced-chemical vapor deposition (PE-CVD) from an Ar–O2 atmosphere. Subsequently, tailored amounts of CuO were dispersed over zinc oxide matrices by radio frequency (RF)-sputtering of Cu from Ar plasmas, followed by thermal treatment in air. A thorough characterization of the obtained systems was carried out by X-ray photoelectron and X-ray excited-Auger electron spectroscopies (XPS and XE-AES), glancing incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXRD), field emission-scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction (ED) and energy filtered-TEM (EF-TEM). Pure and highly oriented CuO/ZnO NR arrays, free from ternary Zn–Cu–O phases and characterized by a copper(II) oxide content controllable as a function of the adopted RF-power, were successfully obtained. Interestingly, the structural relationships between the two oxides at the CuO/ZnO interface were found to depend on the overall CuO loading. The obtained nanocomposites displayed promising photocatalytic performances in H2 production by reforming of ethanol–water solutions under simulated solar illumination, paving the way to the sustainable conversion of solar light into chemical energy.