David Wickham, owner of the Tularosa Vineyards Winery, is a native of Watkins Glen, New York. His tour of duty took him overseas and during that time he was stationed in Germany and Turkey . In 1968 he was assigned to Holloman Air Force Base and it was here that he met his wife, Teresita Chavez a native of Tularosa. When David retired from the service they moved back to the quaint village of Tularosa. The years 1978 through 1987 saw David attending college and working as an instrumentation technician at HAFB. After doing research into the history of growing vinifera wine grapes in New Mexico it became evident to David that the Tularosa Basin was an ideal climate for growing high quality wine grapes as the Mission variety was used here by locals since the founding of Tularosa. David Wickham began attending grapegrowing and winemaking seminars held by the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society and by 1985 David purchased 10 acres of land and began planting the first vineyards. What started out as a hobby had now grown into a business venture. The winery opened in December of 1989 with an initial production of 100 cases. Shortly thereafter the winery began winning medals in New Mexico and southwestern wine competitions and it soon became clear that the Tularosa Basin could grow some excellent quality wine grapes. However, it also became quite clear that access to more quality local vineyards would be needed. So Dave actively encouraged local farmers to plant grapes and grape varieties based on his prior grape growing experience. In 1995 Dave's son Chris Wickham joined Tularosa Vineyards as the active winemaker. Ever since, Tularosa Vineyards production has grown steadily with a current capacity of 3,500 cases.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
New Mexico is the oldest winegrowing region in the United States. Franciscan fathers planted grapes in what was known as Senecu, New Mexico in the year 1629. The village of Tularosa has been growing wine grapes since it's foundation ca. 1862. TheTularosa Basin now grows around 50+ acres of grapes and many more planned in the near future. Some of the varieties grown in the Tularosa Basin include, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Symphony, Gewurztraminer, Mission (original grapevine), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Noir. We currently source fruit for our wines from the diverse climates that abound in the Tularosa Basin. Starting at the bottom of the Basin a majestic 4,500 feet above sea level to other vineyards located around 6,800 feet (probably one of the highest altitude vineyards in the world) Many California vineyards brag about being 2,600+- feet above sealevel. Typical highs in the growing season can be in the upper 90's and approaching 100 F. However, nighttime temperatures often drop dramatically in to the upper 50's and lower 60's. This tremendous diurnal shift is what gives wine grapes bold flavors and good acid. Without the cooling (high altitude) influence the wines would be flat and insipid and without the sunlight the wines would be extremely acidic (unripe).