eric glomski

Keenan splits with Arizona Stronhold

Keenan Arizona Stronghold split

Maynard James Keenan

Maynard James Keenan

Last week the Arizona Republic’s Richard Ruelas broke the news that Maynard James Keenan and Arizona Stronghold had officially parted ways.  According to Ruelas, Keenan will acquire Arizona Stronghold’s southern vineyard and co founder Eric Glomski will keep the Arizona Stronghold brand and Campe Verde winery.


Eric Glomski

Eric Glomski

As for the reasons for the split, neither side is saying much other than there are differences much like there are differences in a band when a band breaks up.  In case you don’t know who Keenan is he’s the lead singer for the Grammy award winning band Tool as well as A Perfect Circle and Puscifer.  Keenan operates two wine labels of his own; Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards.  Both have won multiple awards at the annual Arizona Wine Grower’s Association Awards Banquet.

Eric Glomski is a rock star of sorts in his own right winning 10 awards at the Jefferson Cup in 2011

Hopefully they can sort out their differences and remain friends, because as wine drinkers will attest “Life’s too short to drink crappy wine”

Read Richard Ruelas article HERE


Arizona’s Stage Stop Vineyards 2011 release party

Northern Arizona’s Stage Stop Vineyards is set to release their 2011 vintage this week with a first ever wine tasting at the owner’s house this coming Thursday night.

Arizona Wine Blog

Stage Stop Vineyards 2011 Red Barn Red

The release party is a private-invite only event hosted by Cullum homes and limited to 100 guests who will be joining vineyard owners Melinda, Earl Petznick and their wine maker Eric Glomski.  The cuisine is being catered by Mark Tarbell.

Eric Glomski is the owner and wine maker of award winning Page Springs Cellars.  He was brought in to make this extremely limited 2011 release of Stage Stop Vineyards Estate Grown “Red Barn Red”.  Only 99 cases of this 75% Shiraz, 25% Mourvedre were produced.  Both the ’09 and ’10 vintages are already sold out.

Stage Stop Vineyards is located about 10 miles from Sedona right next to Oak Creek in Northern Arizona’s Verde Valley.  Owners Melinda and Earl Petznick purchased the historic Dancing Apache ranch back in 2002 and began planting in 2006.  The Dancing Apache ranch dates back to the 1800’s and some of the original buildings still remain including the name sake Red Barn, an old school house and a Stage Coach respite house.

Stage Stop Vineyards website

Page Springs Cellars Website

Wine Maker Interview|Eric Glomski

I had a chance to ask Arizona wine maker and Blood into Wine co-star Eric Glomski some questions while at the Arizona Wine Grower’s Festival at The Farm on Saturday November 6th, 2010.  We took a stroll through the pecan groves and chatted a while.

Part one:

Part two:

Dinner with Arizona Chefs and Winemakers up for Auction

The Arizona Wine Growers Association is providing a unique opportunity to enjoy an intimate family style meal prepared by a high-profile Arizona chef along with wines selected and served by a leading Arizona winemaker. Seven such dinner packages will be auctioned off at The Festival at The Farm on Saturday, Nov. 6.

Unlike other chef and winemaker dinners, these meals will be enjoyed at a single table with the chef and winemaker dining alongside auction winners, sharing their creations and stories in an intimate, once-in-a-lifetime setting.

During the live auction, attendees will have the opportunity to bid on a chance for themselves and five guests to enjoy one of these rare dinners with an Arizona chef and winemaker. The dinner-wine pairing lots being auctioned include:

  1. Dick Erath (Cimarron Vineyard – Willcox)  and John Hall (Canela Bistro – Sonoita)
  2. Maynard Keenan (Caduceus Cellars – Jerome) and Mark Tarbell (Tarbell’s Restaurant – Phoenix)
  3. Todd Bostock (Dos Cabezas WineWorks – Sonoita) and Chris Bianco (Pizzeria Bianco – Phoenix)
  4. Kent Callaghan (Callaghan Vineyards – Elgin) and Charlene Badman (FnB Restaurant – Scottsdale)
  5. Rod Keeling (Keeling Schaefer Vineyards – Willcox) and Rod Kass (Cafe Roka – Bisbee)
  6. Sam Pillsbury (Pillsbury Wine Company – Cottonwood) and Greg LaPrad (Quiessence Restaurant – Phoenix)
  7. Eric Glomski (Page Springs Cellars – Cornville) and Jeff Smedstad (Elote Café – Sedona)

In addition to these all-star dining experiences, other auction lots include wine getaways, vacation packages and wine tasting experiences.

Tickets to attend The Festival at The Farm are on sale now and can be purchased online for $65.  Click HERE for tickets

Page Springs Celars Fall Harvest Celebration 2010

Page Springs Cellars fall harvest celebration

Page Springs Cellars

Cornville, Arizona

was held on Sunday September 5th, 2010.  I was lucky enough to have been given a complimentary ticket by my friend Courtney Vickers of Arizona Stronghold.  Page Springs cellars is owned by legendary Arizona winemaker Eric Glomski while Arizona Stronghold is his partnership with Maynard Keenan.

The fall harvest party was held on the Page Springs property in Cornville, Arizona.  Before the party started I wandered around the property looking for things to take photos of.  Lizard hiding in rocksI saw some really interesting lizards and bugs.  I saw lots of grapes, some green some darker some deep purple, some eaten by animals.  After wandering down behind the actual winery structure I came across a beautiful stone pathway that led down towards the creek.  The walkway was covered with a vine covered pergola and the mottled sunlight played off my eyes as I walked underneath.

Vine covered pergola

watch your step!

I took some pictures, took some flipcam footage and then headed off to my accommodations at Desert Rose B&B.  I met up with Rhonni and Josh Moffitt there, and the owner of Desert Rose gave us a ride back to the vineyard, and said he would be back at 11pm to pick us up.  Having a designated driver is really the key toVine covered pergola being able to have a good time if you are drinking.

By the time we arrived the barbecue was in full swing, there must have been at least 175 pounds of pork in the huge barbecue.  I picked up a plate of pulled pork, coleslaw and chips and headed down to the party area.

slow cooked pork


The party area was really well set up I must say.  They had tables and chairs all beneath the big gangly oak tree.  Next to that they had a hay bale maze for the kids, and below all of this, overlooking the creek was the stage for the bands and the dancing area.  There was hay laid on the ground to minimize dust too.  I gobbled down my food and then headed back up to the toll booth to grab a bottle of wine.

I had the MSGp.  Thats right, thats how you spell it… MSGp.   The wine is a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache and Petit Sirah.  It was pretty delicious.  Fruit forward, but not sweet.  Complex enough to justify another bottle.  I liked the earthy component, it was just barely there, and there was also a little bit of thyme on the mid palate aswell.  I would say that this wine is definitely a great party wine!

As the sun set the bands began playing.

A packed dance floor

The first band was great little country band with dueling banjo and mandolin.  The second band was a folksy group from California and featured an interesting instrument called a harmonium.  The third band was a group from Seattle called Luc and the Lovingtons.  They played a great set of get up and dance funk jam reggae rock music.Eric Glomski

Later on I chatted with Eric and remarked that it must be quite satisfying to think that an event like this is the culmination of all the hard work he puts in during the rest of the year.  And all the hard work he has put in over the last 10 years.  This is what its all about; family and friends, good music and food -Great Wine! and just a general feeling of come as you are and let yourself be.  The crowd was so eclectic, there were kids, young adults parents grand parents, people from all walks of life.

If you find yourself in Arizona for Labor day weekend in 2011 you might want to head up to Cornville for next year’s party.

Check out the Weekly Wine Journal’s Facebook Fan Page for lots more great photos of the event HERE

Roadtrip to Jerome Arizona for “Blood into Wine”

On Sunday August 8th I took a road trip to Jerome Arizona to watch “Blood into Wine”.  Blood into Wine is a documentary directed by Ryan Page and Christopher Pomerenke and stars Maynard Keenan and Eric Glomski.  Jerome is located in the Verde Valley which is in northern/central Arizona, about 120 miles north of Phoenix and a world away in terms of climate.  Jerome is a former copper mining outpost situated on the steep slope of Cleopatra hill at an elevation of over 5,000 feet above sea level.  It was once nicknamed the wildest town in the west.  The documentary was playing at the appropriately named “Spook Hall” in Jerome.

I arrived early and the first thing I noticed as I stepped out of my truck was the air.  Humid and cool!  Clouds and fog were caressing the top of the mountain, I could see them passing by, almost as if the earth was rotating right in front of me.  I took a stroll through the town, looking in the store fronts and getting a general feel for the location.  I decided to head over to Spook Hall early, I didn’t know what to expect as there were rumors that Maynard Keenan would be showing up to answer questions.  And as I thought people were beginning to gather, an hour before showtime.  As showtime drew nearer the anxious crowd lined up down the street.  I have never seen the rock concert experience at a movie theatre before, it was quite interesting.  There was an eclectic crowd, some Tool fans, some children, some senior citizens, locals, out of towners.  The doors opened and the crowd surged, but managed to stay composed enough to proceed in an orderly single file.  I sat down in the front.

The film:  I wouldn’t say that I’m a documentary buff, although I do enjoy watching the History Channel.  However, this film is not your average documentary.  The film makers manage to incorporate a real sense of humor.  A quirky sometimes under stated sense of humor.  There were quite a few moments that had everyone in the hall laughing out loud, heartily.  Other times the jokes would elicit chuckling.   One of the funniest bits in the movie is the part where Maynard is interviewed on a show called “Focus on Interesting Things”  I won’t spoil it for you, but that refrain was quite funny.  One of the things that really comes through is that although Keenan is a very serious artist, he does also have a sense of humor.  He has made a career out of not revealing too much about himself outside of what he conveys through his lyrics.  He has been a master of maintaining and protecting a personal brand, the Maynard brand, the mystique,the aloof and sometimes angry rock star.  However, in this film we see that he is also capable of self effacing humor, and that he is also capable of hard work.  Very difficult physical labor.  If you think owning and maintaining your own vineyard is easy, think again.  In fact, if you are up for a REAL challenge go and volunteer at a vineyard during harvest.  Preferably a small one on a very steep rocky slope in the thin air at 5,246 feet.  You’ll feel your oxygen depleted muscles burning in no time.  It’s quite apparent from the film that Keenan is not just lending his name to a wine label, this is not just passing fancy for him.  This is what his life consists of:  He lives in Jerome, tending to his vines and making wine.  To take a break from that he sometimes goes out on tour.  Not the other way around.

After the film  Keenan and one of the films two directors  Christopher

The crowd for the 2pm showing

Pomerenke and Producer Chris “Topper” McDaniel got up on stage for a quick Q&A session.  At this point you could feel the excited tension in the air.  I managed to ask a question.  I wanted to know more about how Tim Alexander managed to “get” Maynard to Jerome.  Keenan answered me with his deadpan humor: “Tim brought me here, he left, and I stayed”  I wanted to know how Tim managed to convince Maynard who was living in L.A. at the time, to get all the way over to Jerome in the middle of nowhere, in Arizona.  Then I remembered a little info from the film.  Maynard said he had a dream about being in Arizona.  So maybe when Tim made the suggestion he thought to himself  “wow that’s a weird coincidence, I just had a dream about that, well okay mr Tim, how do I get there?”  and Tim might have said something to the effect of you go to Phoenix and turn left, left again and then another left.  It would have been interesting to witness that initial response.  The response of the man who wrote about L.A. and California so lovingly in the song Aenema .  He might have stepped out of his vehicle much like I did, surveying the expansive view of the Verde Valley and the Mogollon Rim in the distance.

The view that Maynard Keenan might have seen!

He might have taken a deep breath of that fresh cool mountain air.  He must have realized quite quickly that this is where he was to live for the next 15 years.

One of the more interesting questions which elicited the most forth coming response from Keenan was a question about fame and wine.  The questioner asked if the recent successes and awareness created by the film would allow Caduceus to expand and ship wine out all over the world.  Keenan said that was not the goal.  The goal is to operate a sustainable operation.  A representation of the local terroir, sourced from the local land and for the local people.  Putting the wines in trucks and ships and planes and expending energy and resources to send the product all over the world would defeat the purpose.

After the film everyone in attendance was treated to a free glass of wine at Maynard’s Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards tasting room, in Jerome.  I had the Merkin Vineyards 2009 Shinola, which they informed me has not even been released yet.  The 2006 Shinola was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and only 140 cases were produced.  It was a decent inexpensive representation of Arizona wine.  Good fruit, not to0 ripe, solid tannins.

Also after the film I ran into Christopher Pomerenke on the street

Christopher Pomerenke

and he allowed me to snap a couple of pictures of him.  Totally cool, down to earth guy.  In retrospect I should have asked him if he would do a little video for the Weekly Wine Journal’s Youtube Channel.  Maybe next time.

Blood into Wine comes out of DVD September 2010, look for it, or buy it from the website:

Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards website