In June, Eric Glomski, the winemaker behind Page Springs Cellars and Arizona Stronghold, released his latest project: a new wine label called Provisioner. Priced at $10 or less per bottle, Provisioner White is made from French Colombard, Chenin Blanc, and Malvasia grapes. It's a light wine, focused around crisp citrus and florals with subtle hints of minerality.
We were curious about Provisioner from the onset. Page Springs Cellars makes some of Arizona's most highly lauded wines, and Arizona Stronghold has appeared on many restaurant wine lists around the Valley since its inception in 2007. Both labels have produced a number of high-quality, respected wines.
So why a new label for Glomski? It's simple, he says.
"To me, wine is like music," he says. "Just because the Rolling Stones were a huge success, did it mean that Keith or Mick didn’t feel an innate urge to do some solo projects?"
Page Springs and AZ Stronghold are just two of Glomski's projects. And while the artful and serious Page Springs is like jazz and Stronghold like "roots with a strong dose of country-Western," Provisioner is more like pop music.
"Serious music lovers bash pop, but hey, if millions of people smile listening to something, what’s wrong with that? That’s Provisioner. Wine for the people."
Named for the general stores that dotted frontier towns during the decades of western expansion in the United States, Provisioner also is a metaphor for Glomski's own vanguard spirit. Making wine in Arizona comes with a unique set of difficulties, but that's part of what seems to draw him to pursue it in the first place. Having worked with some of the best California grapes in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Glomski loved the lifestyle of making Pinot Noir in comfortable Bay Area culture. But ultimately, he says, it just wasn't his style.
"I guess I am more of a pioneer" he says. "I like the idea of exploring new territory, taking greater risks and breaking new ground. Arizona is still very uncharted with regard to wine growing. It’s this sense of discovery and the unknown that fuels my passion and curiosity."
Predictably, the weather presents itself as one of the greatest challenges facing Arizona winemakers. Dramatic swings between heat and cold and unpredictable rainfall can have a great impact on Arizona vineyards. In fact, the grapes used to make Provisioner White, grown in 2014, survived one of the warmest summers in Arizona history, memorably followed by dramatic amounts of rainfall. Glomski and his team had to utilize a diverse set of skills to manage their vines, and were eventually successful in harvesting a large and productive crop.
Some of the largest challenges facing Arizona wines that Glomski is trying to eliminate with the introduction of Provisioner are the perceptions of potential consumers.
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"I want to see more people in Arizona and the world drinking Arizona wine at all price levels," he says. "I think Provisioner provides the first step or two on the proverbial wine ladder. These two rungs have been missing and some folks have been scared to step all the way up to the third one for fear of being let down."
"These are good things, though," Glomski says. "They make us stronger. What value would be there if this whole thing was handed to us on a silver platter?"
Provisioner White is available several places around the Valley, including House of Tricks, Sorso Wine Room, and Gilbert Convenient Mart. Aside from its forthcoming counterpart, a red blend of Merlot, Syrah, Barbera, and Pinot Noir, consumers also can look forward to a pink wine from the Provisioner Label.