2007 marked an important year in wine history with the coming together of two men who launched Arizona into the fine wine scene. Eric Glomski (Founder of Page Springs Cellars and previously Winemaker at David Bruce Winery) and Maynard Keenan (Owner of Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards & Orchards) are co-founders of Arizona Stronghold Vineyards.
Keenan and Glomski, knowing that quality fruit is the key to all winemaking endeavors, acquired the former Dos Cabezas Vineyard near Willcox, Arizona. The core of the red plantings are Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo and Sangiovese with Viognier and Malvasia Bianca anchoring the white plantings. (Several other varietals also supplement these grapes.)
Eric’s love for wine grew during his previous profession as a vegetation and landscape ecologist. During a two year research project in Central Arizona, Eric harvested heirloom apples, pears, peaches and quince from abandoned homesteads that he came across in his field journeys. It was sniffing his first apple wine that led him to realize that wine is “liquid landscape”. More than just the fruit that was harvested, the wine somehow captured the essence of the whole landscape that that plant had grown and fruited in. The French call this term “terroir”. These first forays at home winemaking led him to California.
In the mid 90’s he briefly worked harvest at Limerick Lane, a small Old Vine Zinfandel producer in Sonoma County California. After leaving Sonoma, Eric worked for several years at David Bruce Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Working his way up from Cellar Worker, Assistant Production Manager, Production Manager and Assistant Winemaker over the course of five years, he became Co-Winemaker and Director of Production in 2001. During his tenure at David Bruce, Eric also pursued a great deal of coursework at the University of California at Davis in Viticulture and Enology.
My mission statement and manifesto for Stronghold Vineyards, in Cochise County, Arizona, may at first glance appear to be somewhat eccentric, and all around romantically delusional. But allow me to bend your ear over a glass or two of our juice, and you may find our overall goals here to be quite utilitarian and down right grounded. By the time you get to the bottom of the glass you may very well have forgotten for a moment that I'm one of those "artist types." Or more convinced. Either way, allow me to take the long way around what should have been a relatively simple explanation.
It feels as though we as a culture have become disconnected. We're constantly dreaming up ways to give away more and more of our power. We've lost touch with our ability to make fire, find fresh water, to hunt, gather, or cultivate our own food, even to have a simple conversation without utilizing some electronic gizmo. So in a nutshell, for me, this project is about reconnecting. It's about rekindling a relationship with the Earth, to our community, to each other. A sustainable bullet-proof relationship that can withstand the most hostile of climates. In the wake of extreme changes, be they political, social, environmental, only a relationship such as this can survive.
Cochise and his family and community are the perfect examples of such a relationship. Hostile territory is an understatement. But their connection with the Earth and with each other was their salvation.
Connection, Communion, Co-existence, Compassion. Cochise. Stronghold. Salute'!