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From vine to wine: Hands-on workshop open to everyone, from novice to connoisseur

A view of the vineyard at the Heritage Farm located inside the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden. (Courtesy of JT Jones)

Learn the journey a grape takes from vine to wine during the Farm Workshop Series on Home Vineyards at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden’s Heritage Farm.

The hands-on workshop on July 20 is open to everyone, from the wine novice to the connoisseur. The course will be led by state viticulture specialist Gill Giese from the New Mexico State University Extension service in Los Lunas.

“Our goal with these workshops is to help folks who may not have a background, who may not have any experience, but have an interest, all the way to those people who have some experience,” said JT Jones, assistant curator at the Heritage Farm. “They may be commercial growers. They may work for commercial growers. Trying to get a better understanding of what’s taking place and be able to provide a forum to explore what alternatives are out there for this process, as well as introducing people to the basic concept so they know how wine’s made and where the fruit came from.”

The seminar will focus on a variety of elements necessary in the making of wine.

“It’s going to focus on the different elements that go into picking the fruit, when to pick the fruit, what you’re looking for in viscosity, as well as sugar content for home winemaking, and that process,” Jones said. “Also we’ll include that process, what it looks like, what it means to add yeast, how to stop yeast’s fermentation process, what you’re looking for when you’re looking to stop that process, timelines, that kind of information, as well as what equipment. What other types of equipment are out there, as well as the chemistry that is taking place as you are fermenting grapes, and what that process looks like and why it has the effects that it does on different types of wine.”

Mission grapes are grown at the Heritage Farm. It is an old type of grape that was brought to New Mexico by the original missions for the Catholic Church, according to Jones.

“Flavorwise, it is very similar to rosé,” he said of the Mission wine. “As far as color, it makes a very nice rosé, at least from the first year, we did it last year. We’ll see this year. We’re doing a couple of different things to see the maturation of the grapes, how it can affect them so we get a more consistent color profile and body.”

This is the second year that the Heritage Farm has held the workshop.

“It was a pilot last year,” Jones said. “We had a pretty big turnout. It’s going to hopefully be part of a greater series that has lots of different themes or subjects in the next year.”

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