Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wineries in New Mexico

La Viña Poster

Did you know that New Mexico’s wine industry the oldest in the country? When we lived in Las Cruces in the late 1990s, we often visited the La Viña Winery in La Union, attending some of their wonderful wine and jazz festivals. According to their web site, they "host a Harvest Festival and Grape Stomp each year in October and a Blues & Jazz Festival in April, as well as an old fashioned country picnic and open house on July 4th." It's a lovely way to spend an afternoon. You can picnic and sample a variety of their wines, and come home with a selection of wines and souvenir wine glasses to help you remember the occasion. We bought posters and framed and hung them when we went back to New Hampshire, so that we wouldn't forget that we were meant to be living in New Mexico. Now that we're back, we look forward to exploring some of the wineries around the state.

For a little history and background on the New Mexico wine industry, see Wine and Vineyards of New Mexico. Here is part of what they have to say:
"...New Mexico has the distinction of being the country's oldest commercial wine-growing region, predating California's entry into the field by 140 years. It was in 1629 that a Franciscan and a Capuchin monk first planted grapevines on the east bank of the Rio Grande near present-day Socorro. By 1633 the vines were producing, making sacramental wine available to mission priests throughout the northern territory of New Spain. Winemaking flourished for centuries, but had pretty much ended by 1920, done in by depleted soil and Prohibition. But in 1978 a revival began, and today oenophiles can visit some 19 wineries throughout the state. Production includes a number of varieties of reds, whites, and sparkling wines, many of them of award-winning caliber."

Here is a Wine Tour of New Mexico in five parts with a commentary on the wines, from wine enthusiast Jim Eastman's blog, Music & Wine:
-Part 1: Ruidoso and Tularosa areas
-Part 2: La Union
-Part 3: Deming
-Part 4: Albuquerque
-Part 5: Northern New Mexico, near Velarde and Dixon

For a list of NM wineries and tasting rooms, see the Wine Growers Association web site.

Viva New Mexico lists New Mexican wineries by region.

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