I am writing in response to the recent boycott request against my winery business called by former N.M. Lt Gov. Diane Denish. Over recent days, there have been lots of different reactions to the fact that we allowed a political group to host an event here at the winery Tuesday, Sept. 17. Over the years, I have allowed many different organizations, including those with affiliations to either the Democratic or Republican parties, to host their events here.
As an advocate of free speech, I have always been clear that allowing fundraisers and other events to take place at my venue is not always an indication that I am supportive of all policies from any particular political person or group. The winery itself as a whole has never been, and will never be, a politically affiliated entity.
We have supported nonprofits of all kinds throughout the decades. We don’t ask for political affiliation when we donate services, goods or cash to dozens of groups, from the Symphony, Popejoy, orphanages, Hispanic causes to women’s groups, shelters, animal charities and more. We are also long-time supporters of the LGBTQ community.
It’s a shame that we have recently been so maligned by one person. In this particular instance, the actions of Denish aimed at affecting a business comprising a dozen or so vibrant individuals from different walks of life and different political persuasions. Our supply chain, which stretches further, could also be affected negatively by a boycott call. It is for this reason that I was so deeply saddened and disappointed by her action.
As it happens, it seems the boycott backfired. We had the busiest Wednesday in our 25-year history. The outpouring of love and support has been phenomenal. We have had hundreds of people of all political persuasions come for the first time to become members or just tasting-room customers, and requests for wine orders from all over the nation have been coming in, from sea to shining sea.
Now, in later life, I have the great privilege of looking back at the small businesses I’ve created, which have employed thousands over time. I’m blessed to be an American, in a country where “if you can dream it, you can do it.” I’m a patriot, having benefited from the blood and dedication of millions of others that have stood their ground or given their lives to defend my right to free speech and to pursue a way to support my family.
Casa Rondeña Winery is an equal-opportunity venue, and we do not wish for anyone of any creed, color or orientation to ever feel unwelcome here. We embrace the variety that exists among the team members here, for this is a large part of what makes our winery succeed here in this diverse city. We invite all members of the local community to enjoy wine together here, now and always.