March 31, 2023

Driving Arizona Wines


The Arizona wine scene is still in its infancy really. Most of the people involved in the business here run a mom & pop operation, and on a small scale are simply following a passion that took hold of them. While even the largest of Arizona wineries is considered small versus the size of major producers in California, there are a few driving forces that are laying the foundations for premium wine production in the state. Some are becoming modestly sized wine businesses, proving that success can be achieved in the Arizona wine market.

I’d like to introduce you to what I think may be the driving force in Arizona wine – Eric Glomski and Page Springs Cellars.

Eric hails from the Midwest originally, but fell in love with Arizona while backpacking the West as a young man. He studied ecology at Prescott College and developed a serious interest in rivers. He formed a river restoration company shortly after college and worked extensively in northern Arizona. His work in remote areas of the state brought him across old heirloom orchards near abandoned home sites.

Eric had dabbled in homebrewing before and decided to try his hand at cider making one year after harvesting a few bushels of apples from an orchard near Granite Creek in Prescott. He also sweetened the batch to produce a bit of apple wine. The first bottle was opened several months later at a party, and from that point on, he was hooked. Eric began expanding his wine repertoire, tasting different varieties and regions from the around the world, and continued to produce his own home wines out of anything he could ferment.

The next stage in the career was work at commercial wineries. Eric managed a job as a harvest hand for a very well known Pinot Noir producer, David Bruce. They kept him on after the season and under the mentorship of top winemakers, Eric progressed from cellar worker, to assistant production manager, to production manager, assistant winemaker, and finally co-winemaker.

But, Eric always had it in the back of his mind to return to Arizona and realize a dream of making world class wines here in the central highlands. A meeting with Jon Marcus, who had just begun operation of Echo Canyon Winery along the banks of Oak Creek, and changes taking place back at David Bruce Winery, prompted a return to Arizona in 2003 as the winemaker for Echo Canyon.

Two events brought Eric on his current course. The first was a chance encounter with a rock star. The second, an ideal piece of property hit the market. Out of nowhere, Eric formed a partnership with another name in Arizona wine (not to mention music, but both of those topics are for another time), Maynard Keenan. Maynard had stopped by Echo Canyon one day to pick their brains as he was in the process of planting his own vineyards just down the road. The two are currently involved with several Arizona endeavors that are leading the way for premium Arizona wines. Aside from that though, Eric was able to purchase the foundation for his Arizona wine dream, Page Springs Cellars. Page Springs was founded in 2004 on the banks of Oak Creek just south of Sedona. The vineyard was planted to mostly Rhône varieties, namely Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and an obscure grape called Cabernet Pfepper.

Eric initially purchased California grapes to produce his wines while his young vineyards developed to maturity. Page Springs has been a clear leader in premium Arizona wine since its inception though, and as of 2007, Page Springs Cellars was in full operation with Arizona fruit. Every year his business continues to grow, and with new partnerships, vineyard purchases, and even lobbying the state congress on behalf of Arizona wine growers, Eric is undoubtedly a man putting Arizona wines on the map.

I was fortunate to meet Eric shortly after my own return to Arizona. I’ve tasted many of his wines from barrel to bottle and cannot recommend them highly enough. When you have the time, and when the weather is nice, do yourself a favor and stop by Page Springs Cellars. Try the wines, and relax on the deck overlooking Oak Creek while enjoying life.

For more information, check out Page Springs Cellars online at Cheers to your success Eric! Remember to enjoy responsibly.

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