Northern Rio Grande Chapter
New Mexico Vine and Wine Society
New Mexico State Vine and Wine Society
WHAT ARE WE ABOUT?
What are we all about? When you think about it it’s everything between the soil and the wine. We have members that just drink wine and we have members that grow grapes and make wine. We have members that judge wine, and we have members that are educators in the field of viticulture. We meet, we eat, we drink, and our meetings usually have a theme. At times it might be technical in nature and at other times it’s simply to compare wines. Each chapter is different, and each chapter meeting is influenced by its members. When it comes down to it, it’s all about the wine.
HISTORY OF THE V&WS
The early history of the Vine and Wine Society, in part, has become a bit cloudy over the last 45 years or so. It is believed that in the mid 1970s our Vine and Wine Society, in partnership with New Mexico State University, was instrumental in establishing the modern New Mexico wine industry. We believe that in 1978 they worked with state legislators to come up with funding to conduct a government-sponsored study which encouraged winegrowers to grow New Mexican heritage grapes, and to work in collaboration with Italian, French, and Spanish wineries to make hybrid grape varieties.
La Viña Winery in La Union is credited with starting the rebirth of the wine industry in New Mexico. It was established in 1977 and they claim to be the oldest continuously running winery in the state. La Chiripada in Dixon also claims to be oldest winery in New Mexico. It also was established in 1977. Some believe that La Viña produced wine before La Chiripada did. We may never know for sure.
Two “late comers” to the N.M. wine industry that are still around are Luscombe’s Family Vineyards and Gruet. Okay, they were not that late, and they both had a major impact on the industry in the early years. They both established roots in New Mexico in 1984. The wine industry really started to flourish in New Mexico in the early 80s. Thanks in part to the Vine and Wine Society, the word got out that New Mexico was once again a very viable grape growing region and good wines could be produced. Relative to California and other wine growing regions land was relatively inexpensive in New Mexico. In the 80s the competition to buy up viable land began. Between 1982 and 1983, more than 2,000 acres of vineyards were planted in the Las Cruces area alone. A couple thousand more acres were planted in the northern part of the state. Because of dryer conditions and other reasons, New Mexico currently has around 1,200 acres of vineyards.
By the way, during the early years of the Vine and Wine Society membership in large part were mere made up of the grape growers and wine makers in the state. Yes, the folks that started the wineries.