Eric Glomski, the founder and winemaker for the state’s largest and arguably most successful winery, has thrown his cork into the under-$10 market long dominated by California, Washington and Oregon winemakers.
Glomski released his new Provisioner Wines to retail outlets and restaurants around the state. The wines have a suggested retail price of $9.99 for red and $8.99 for white, a price point that until now Arizona winemakers had not served.
“I’ve never been this person who wants to see people excluded from enjoying the wines from our place because of cost,” said Glomski, owner and winemaker of Page Spring Cellars in the Sedona area and Arizona Stronghold in Cottonwood that has vineyards in the Willcox area.
“I think there’s space in the marketplace that’s not being filled by Arizona wine and I think he’s done that,” added Arizona Winegrowers Association President Rod Keeling, who owns Keeling Schaefer Vineyards in Pearce.
“It’s obvious that Eric sees a marketing space that is underserved in his opinion. I actually think it’s probably a good thing,” Keeling said.
Glomski said he spent the past decade toying with the idea of a less-expensive wine and the past year bringing it to fruition using grapes grown on the 40-acre Fort Bowie Vineyard east of Willcox. Glomski has operated those vineyards — some of the oldest vines in the state — for five years.
The Provisioner white, which was released in late June, is a blend of mostly French Colombard with 30 percent Chenin Blanc and 13 percent Malvasia grapes, all grown on Fort Bowie.
“It’s very, very fruit-driven with lots of citrus notes, lemon, grapefruit, things like that,” Glomski said. “But it also has a little bit of mineral, like licking a wet stone, that gives it the freshness.”
The red, which was just released, blends mostly Merlot with equal parts Syrah and Barbera, and some Pinot Noir to create “something that you can drink every day and it’s versatile enough that you can pair it with a bunch of foods, too,” Glomski said.
“We wanted it to be serious enough that people don’t cast it aside with the pink Merlots of the world,” he added.
Keeling said Glomski might be opening a door that could bring more wine drinkers to Arizona wine.
“It’s a proven fact that wine drinkers start out at a lesser price (point),” he explained, recalling his own introduction to wine 30 years ago when he started with cheap box wines. “I think you’ve got to be a little humble here and look at the marketplace and see where people are coming from, especially the younger people. … Provisioner will attract a broader audience and that audience will want to move up to more expensive wines.”
“I just think it’s exciting. I’d like to think this is a foot in the door,” Glomski said. “I think if anything it will enhance other Arizona wines.”
Glomski’s Arizona Stronghold is regarded as the largest of Arizona wineries, with distribution to nearly 40 states and Canada, New Zealand and Australia.