Touring New Mexico’s northern wine country

New Mexico Vineyard

New Mexico Vineyard

It is not widely known that New Mexico has some great wines and wonderful opportunities for wine enthusiasts to vacation in beautiful, historic areas and taste a bit of the grape. In fact, New Mexico has the oldest wine growing region in the United States.

It seems logical that New Mexico would be growing wine grapes. With the Spanish came wine, of course.  Wine was used for sacramental purposes in the Catholic Church as well as an accompaniment to a meal. When the Spanish explorers and settlers arrived in New Mexico in the early 1500’s they brought them a desire for wine, European wines. As they settled in the Rio Grande valley they planted European grape vines. These original vines remain a source for New Mexico grapes today.

According to the New Mexico Wine Growers Association, The first grapevines planted in what is now the state of New Mexico were brought in 1629 to Senecu, a Piro Indian pueblo south of Socorro, by Fray Gracia de Zuniga, a Franciscan, and Antonio de Arteaga, a Capuchin monk. San Antonio de Padua Mission, at Senecu, was located on the east bank of the Rio Grande, slightly north of the present small village of San Antonio. The cuttings brought by the missionaries were a variety of Vitis vinifera, commonly called the “mission grape”. This variety is still grown in New Mexico today. Historians think it is a European variety from Spain, called Monica.

Santa Fe is an ideal base for exploring the northern New Mexico wine country. In the area north of Santa Fe you will find the northern wine trail that leads from Santa Fe through Espanola and Velarde north through Dixon and Taos.  You can even enjoy tasting some New Mexico wines at tasting rooms right in Santa Fe. Here is a list of northern New Mexico vineyards and wineries.

Vivac Winery

Vivac Winery and Tasting Room

On one wine tasting trip we traveled up State Highway 68 through the Rio Grande Gorge. It is a beautiful trip. Vivác Winery makes a great stop. The tasting room is set right in the vineyards. They are well-known for their complex red wines which have won awards. While you are there, try some of their delightful chocolate truffles!

The Tasting Room is open 7 days a week from 10-6 Monday-Saturday, Noon-6 Sunday.

More Information
New Mexico Wine Trail Map
Google Winery Map

Reserve a place to stay in Santa Fe

Photos Copyright: Elizabeth Rose Photography

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