Wineries in New Mexico
Wineries in New Mexico are the oldest in the United States as they have been around since 1580s.The grapes for these wineries came from the vine cuttings that the Spanish missionaries brought with them so that they could make wine for church use. The first vines were planted in Senuco, on the banks of the Rio Grande and by 1890 New Mexico had become the fifth largest wine producer. However, the banks of the Rio Grande got flooded and so grapes could no longer grow there and it was only in 1970 that the wineries in New Mexico began to flourish again.
Today Syrah, Zinfandel, Muscat Canelli, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Viognier and Malvasia are the wines that are produced as they are suitable for growing in the Mesilla and Mimbres Valleys, Tularosa Basin and the northern and Middle Rio Grande. The elevated regions of the Rio Grande are the main viticultural regions in New Mexico. In recent years New Mexico has made a name for itself for its two excellent sparkling wines Gruet and Farid Himeur which are Champagne style wines. Besides these a varietal La Chiripada, Viognier is also making a name for itself. Vivác Winery also produces a great varietal in the red wine category Syrah, Shiraz/Syrah and also the Dolcetto.
New Mexico now has around 50 wineries but most of the wine produced here is consumed in the state. They produce both the hybrid wines and quality wines. After the revival in 1970, the wine produced here is from the French-Hybrid grape varietals as this grapevine is tough and hardy. The hot desert climate that has sunny days and cool nights is helpful for growing grapes, therefore more than 5000 acres of land are under vine cultivation. The helpful climate ensures that the wineries in New Mexico produce some really great tasting wines for all palettes as the vineyards are well established now. The entire state produces wine and the vineyards spread from Farmington and Aztec to Albuquerque and Deming which is an impressive spread that has over 27 wineries.
New Mexico has a number of annual wine festivals that all celebrate wine. It is during the festivals that true Mexican hospitality and tradition are on show along with some great wine. There is the June Wine festival and the Albuquerque Wine Festival, the Santa Fe Festival, New Mexico Wine education Conference and the Wine Harvest Festival where vendors and wine enthusiasts can all celebrate wine with food and music and gallons of wine tasting opportunity in true Mexican style. Thousands of visitors come to the wine festivals if not for the wine then for the culinary skills that go hand in hand with the wine.
The winegrowers in New Mexico show real commitment and dedication to growing the best grapes. With the help from Europeans that became interested in the wine produced here more and more land is being used for growing grapes and the wineries in New Mexico have truly opened their doors to great wine.