Circa 2007 A.D.
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards was formed to put Arizona on the fine wine map. While small bastions of artistry have made a few waves with wine aficionados, Arizona still remains a vinous backwater in the minds of the wine world. Despite this, there is a distinct hunger in Arizona for indigenous wines. The potential to make great wine has always existed in the Southwest, yet the talent and willingness to invest here had yet to fully blossom until recently. We believe the soils and climate at our vineyards stand up to the finest in the world. Growing fine wines in Arizona is all about elevation. There is a perfect “Mediterranean Band” in the mid Arizona elevations between the heat of Phoenix and the cold of Flagstaff. This is where we farm. We also feel strongly that our wines express, first and foremost, Arizona, and secondarily the grapes and hands of the vignerons involved.
Great wine doesn’t have to be expensive; it doesn’t have to be pretentious; and it shouldn’t be hard to find. It just has to be great and it has to be made by people that care. ASV is all about place, people, quality and value. Enjoy a taste of Arizona from the bottle and open your mind to the potential of our stunning landscape.
Eric Glomski & Maynard Keenan Founders & Vignerons
A HISTORY OF PEOPLE AND PLACE
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards lies between the massive mountains Dragoon and Chiricahua
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards lies between the massive mountains Dragoon and Chiricahua. The most prominent edifice, and the source of our name, lies on the eastern flank of the Dragoons – the Cochise Stronghold.
For fifteen years, this rugged natural fortress was the home and base of operations for the mighty Chiricahua Apache Chief, Cochise. Cochise and about 1,000 of his followers, 250 of which were fighting men, sought refuge within the maze-like rocks of the Stronghold. Sentinels, constantly on watch from the towering pinnacles of rock, could spot their enemies in the valley below and sweep down without warning. No one within a hundred miles was safe from these attacks and few would dare venture into the jaws of the Stronghold.
Historical accounts document Cochise constantly warring with Mexican troops that were encroaching upon Apache homelands. They also suggest that he gave very little heed to burgeoning white settlements until he attended a meeting (under the white flag of truce) in 1861 with the U.S. military to deny charges that one of his people had abducted a white child. The commanding U.S. officer ordered the six attending chiefs seized and bound because they would not confess. One was killed and four were caught as they resisted arrest. Cochise cut through the side of the tent and fled, suffering multiple bullet wounds. Within weeks, all white settlements for miles and miles were laid waste to avenge the hanging of the chiefs that hadn’t escaped. War had begun with the dishonorable whites.
Soon afterward military posts in the area were abandoned as troops were recalled to take part in the Civil War. This falsely convinced the Apache that they needed only to fight to prevent whites from settling in their lands. Cochise and Mangas Coloradas, leader of the Mimbres Apache, later defended Apache pass in southeast Arizona against the Californians, who marched under General James Carleton to reopen communication between the Pacific Coast and the East. The Californians were armed with howitzers which quickly overwhelmed the Apache who fled to their many refuges in the neighboring mountains. Still, the Apache refused to surrender. When United States troops returned to resume the occupancy of the country after the close of the Civil War, a war of extermination was carried out against the Apache.
Cochise, reputed to have been a master strategist and leader, was never conquered in battle. By some historic accounts he was deemed a viscous killer, others deify him as a freedom fighter and hero who refused subjugation. Only one thing is clear - Cochise witnessed the murder of many of his people (including his wife, father-in-law, and many of his friends who were chiefs of his neighboring tribes) at the hands of Mexicans and Whites. One can only imagine the affect this would have on a man.
In addition to his warrior prowess, Cochise was a wise and intelligent man. He realized that despite his peoples’ knowledge of the terrain and their ability to survive with scant resources, he could not fight back the tides. In 1872 he came to terms with the white man and lived out the remaining two years of his life in peace before his death in 1874. Upon his death, he was secretly buried somewhere in or near his impregnable Stronghold fortress. The exact location has never been revealed nor determined.
His oldest son, Tazi, held on to and sought to expand the peace with the white man after Cochise’s death. Tazi, unfortunately, died of pneumonia traveling to Washington D.C. seeking to expand upon native rights. Nachise, Cochise’s youngest son, resumed war on the white man upon becoming leader after his brother’s death. Unequipped for leadership, Nachise was strongly influenced by the fabled Geronimo who befriended him during his adolescence. A respected medicine man, Geronimo acted as a teacher and mentor for Nachise. In the 1880's, Nachise and Geronimo banded together and resumed raids on white settlements. After years of successful campaigns and repeated capture and escapes, Geronimo and Nachise surrendered in 1886 and were moved to reservations.
Today, Cochise, Nachise and Tazi’s descendants live in Mescalaero, New Mexico. Nachise’s are the largest family living there. Apparently, everyone living here knows who is related to each of these prominent leaders.
Our Vineyard, the Cochise Stronghold National Monument, the town of Cochise, the county of Cochise, and the renowned geological feature known as Cochise's Head in the Chiricahua Mountains are all tributes to Cochise.
May the example of his life echo in our memories and resound in the canyons and valleys that surround us. And may our wines embody the strength and wisdom of the Chiricahua Apache.