Guest Author - Jim Fortune
Lots of people have never been on a vineyard tour. Even you might have heard about touring a vineyard, but what is there to see? It might sound as interesting as watching paint dry. Or maybe you can learn something and have some fun while you're at it.
I went on a tour recently in NM. For the most part, the purpose of the trip was to actually visit different wineries and taste their wares. A lot of the winery tasting places are on busy thoroughfares and not really near where the grapes are grown. At other places, the grapes are right near where the winery has their tasting room. Going on a tour in NM was a lot like going on a tour in CA.
Take two places near Espanola, NM where we went to visit. The first place was Santa Fe Vineyards. With a name like Santa Fe Vineyards you would think the place was in Santa Fe, right? Not so fast. The vineyard is not in Santa Fe. There is one tasting room is in downtown Santa Fe. It is located in The Amado Peņa Gallery at 235 Don Gaspar on the corner of Alameda & Don Gaspar. The other tasting room is a combination of the winemaking facility, gift shop, picnic area, and tasting room. The second location is a few miles down Route 285 south of Espanola, NM or about 20 miles north of Santa Fe on the road to Taos.
After chatting with the tasting room host, we found out that most of the grapes are grown in Southern NM where the weather is warmer and the growing season was longer. My recommendation here was the Santa Fe Blush. It has a hint of strawberry and was a wine that I bought three bottles of. Two were for me and one was for my mother-in-law. The price is under $10.
The second vineyard was Black Mesa Winery . It is located on State Road 68 also on the road to Taos. The official address is 1502 State Road 68, Velarde, NM 87582. There was no way I was going to drive my RV into the parking lot of this place, so I parked on the side of the road and put my emergency flashers on. We walked down the dirt road on the way to the tasting room and went by piles of stems and grape crushing leftovers . I'm sure there is an official name, but that is what it looked like to me. I asked one of the workers if they used that as compost on the root stock and she said they do not. "It is sold to a place down south and they use it for compost and mulch."
I continued down the path passing row after row of grapes. I took a few pictures and like this and a few more. We entered the tasting room and starting tasting. The back wall of the tasting room looked out on to the machinery of the winery. A large auger moved the grapes up to the crusher. The crusher separated the grape juice from the stem and pulp. There were bins of grapes coming to and going from the location on their way to be crushed or to fermentation vats. I found the whole experience to be fascinating.
I bought the Viognier 2007, which by the way, was the best Viognier I have ever had. I also bought Cabernet Sauvignon and Coyote 2005. This winery tasting room fee included a wine glass and we bought a few extra glasses. Knowing how clumsy I am, I did not want to ruin a set, so I got a few extra just in case.
If you get down to that part of the world, let me know what you thought of the places where you went.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
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Jim Fortune - the Bella Online Budget Travel Guy