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Page Springs Vineyards and Cellars
With his shoulder-length blond hair and blue eyes, Eric Glomski looks like he’d be more at home on a surfboard in Newport Beach, Calif., than in a windowless cellar in Cornville. Nevertheless, as owner and winemaker at Page Springs Vineyards and Cellars, he’s produced 5,000 cases of wine under the Page Springs label and 3,000 cases for clients each year. Eric bought the picturesque property – both Page Springs and Oak Creek run through the vineyard – in 2004 and harvested his first grapes from the four-acre vineyard in 2006, though the wine isn’t ready for bottling quite yet. (Eric manages an additional 12 acres for other labels.) For now, Eric relies on grapes grown on 60 acres in Kansas Settlement in southern Arizona as well as fruit from Northern California and Colorado.
Page Springs focuses on Rhone-style wines such as Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Viognier, and Mourvedre. Eric hopes 75 percent of the grapes in Page Springs wines will come from the Cornville vineyard by 2010. An ecologist by trade and a devoted Pinot Noir drinker, Eric has been in the wine industry for 12 years. “I firmly believe you can grow any grape on the planet somewhere in Arizona because this is such an incredibly diverse state ecologically, but there’s a risk involved,” he says. “A mentor once said making wine is easy but growing grapes is hard and growing grapes organically is crazy, and that’s what we do.”
This means controlling weeds and pests with a flock of chickens, ducks, and geese that roam the lush property. An idyllic pathway lined with stone walls, vine-covered trellises, and fragrant lavender leads to a deck overlooking Oak Creek that’s open to the public. Mesquite and juniper trees shade the grounds. The tasting room sits above the cellar and has an open air deck. A wine club, with 600+ members, gets free tastings, discounts, and quarterly shipments, says club manager Susana Meister. Bottles range from $15 to $45 and are sold at the winery (also by the glass for $5-$10). Tastings cost $8 for four wines.
Eric envisions the Page Springs area one day as home to B&Bs, cafes, markets, and family-owned wineries. But he’s plenty busy as it is. “It’s a renaissance job,” he says. “I live across the street and I’m a farmer, mechanic, chemist, production manager, winemaker, and marketer. One day I’d like to create a cultural center here where food, wine, and humans overlap.
Page Springs Vineyards and Cellars – 1500 N. Page Springs Rd. in Cornville
Open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 928-639-3004; www.pagespringscellars.com
San Dominique Winery
The pungent smell of garlic drifts down the pothole-ridden driveway leading from Hwy 169 to San Dominique Winery, giving away owner and winemaker Bill Staltari’s other passion. Marinades, barbecue sauces, olives, and vinegars line wire racks on one side of the shop, overlooking the mismatched tables and chairs that sit in the middle of the room. A bar with a cardboard sign that reads “wine tasting area” and chili pepper lights hanging above it, a large industrial kitchen, and two wandering Yorkshire terriers complete the scene. Things haven’t changed much since the winery opened in 1981 when Bill says he thought it would be “romantic” to start a vineyard.