But Keenan and Glomski have faith, and they have drive, and they have resources. (From Keenan’s journal: “What rockstar that you know of owns an excavator or a bulldozer?” Let alone a fully functioning winery operation.) And in Keenan’s fan base, they have an audience with a reason for taking a risk. Hence the Whole Foods tour. “It’s a different demographic than I’m used to hooking up with for wine,” says Glomski, who spent years in the California wine industry before returning to his home turf in Arizona. “We’re turning a lot of people on to wine who may not have drunk it previously.” Fame may get ’em through the door, but Keenan and Glomski are hoping that Arizona juice is what will get them to stay.
“Wine is really an expression of a place on the planet,” says Glomski, who first discovered terroir in a homemade apple wine. “It really reminded me of the place — not just the flavor of the apples, but the soils, the leaves decaying in the fall, the stream flowing by. I was just possessed by it. Our job as winemakers is to artistically interpret a landscape through this liquid. I’d been working as an ecologist for years. This was a chance to become an artist.” He hooked up with Keenan after his California sojourn and, before launching his own project, Page Springs Cellars (though he still “functions as a winemaker” for Caduceus). Now, the two of them had begun a joint project: Arizona Stronghold. “It’s an expression of our combined interests, trying to put Arizona on the map nationally, in a value-based sense.”
Keenan, meanwhile, is finding that his return to the land is also a return to his roots. From his online journal: “I know very little about Great Grandfather Marzo. I know only that he and his family grew grapes and made wine in Northern Italy…Uncle Herb was quite pleased to hear about my new venture in Arizona…. I told him how I would be doing a new blend in honor of his Grandfather…called Nagual Del Marzo. I explained that I knew next to nothing about him, including his full name. Herb said, ‘His name is John Marzo, but his nickname was Spirit’…. I then explained to Herb that ‘Nagual Del Marzo’ means ‘the Spiritual Essence of Marzo.’ Eyes filled with tears of joy, the heavens parted, music flooded the room, angels sauntered down, and we all retired to the dessert room for chocolate soufflé and 1822 Madeira.”