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GRAPE AID 2020 to help NM wine community

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Tens of thousands of people flock to New Mexico Wine festivals each year to sample, sip and stock up on their favorite wines.

GRAPE AID 2020 was created by New Mexico Wine & Grape Growers Association to help provide relief to grape growers during the upcoming 2020 harvest.

The festivals, held annually on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, will have to wait until 2021, but New Mexico vino enthusiasts do not have to wait that long to fill their wine racks, fridges and cellars. New Mexico Wine has put together fun trios, 6-packs and 12-packs of various wines at discounted pricing from local wineries in celebration of New Mexico Wine month. They can be purchased at grapeaid.com.

The 12-pack cases come in Dry White, Sweet & Semi Sweet White Wine, White & Red Mix, Fun & Fruity, and Dry Red-Northern New Mexico. The cases start at $174. Six pack selections are Chardonnay, Red & White Mix-Southern New Mexico, Red & White Mix-Central New Mexico, Cause for Celebration, Dry Red-Southern New Mexico, Dry Red-Northern New Mexico Pack I, Dry Red-Northern New Mexico Pack II, Tempranillo & Malbec, Sweet Red Wine, and Italian Varietal. Six packs start at $84. There are plenty of trios including Pinot Grigio; Dry Rose; Red, White & Bubbles; Trio of Port and more. Trios start at $42.

New Mexico grape growers and winemakers are preparing for the 2020 harvest.(Courtesy of New Mexico Wine)

“We’re working to give each individual winery some extra promotion,” said Chris Goblet, executive director of New Mexico Wine. “It’s one of our biggest sales month of the year. It’s even more important in 2020 for us to be successful with wine month because we have months worth of wine that we haven’t been able to sell that we need to now get out into the marketplace.”

The effort is also part of GRAPE AID 2020. The month-long promotion that runs through the end of August was created by New Mexico Wine & Grape Growers Association to help provide relief to grape growers during the upcoming 2020 harvest.

“COVID-19 has disrupted the natural cycle of this entire agricultural industry and continues to affect small New Mexico farmers,” according to GRAPE AID 2020. “At the same time, vineyard managers are reporting record crop size with grapes already nearing maturity. Within weeks the entire industry should be mobilizing for the arrival of the 2020 harvest, but many small wineries don’t have the capacity to take on more grapes at this time.

Wines of the San Juan has its wine included in the Italian Varietal six pack offered by New Mexico Wine as part of GRAPE AID 2020.

“The peril of these grape lies in our ability to mobilize the current vintage. The new grapes can’t come in until the current vintage is moving out, and without our annual wine festivals, many grape farmers are needing wine drinkers to do their part.”

On Aug. 24 New Mexico Wine will put together all of the orders and have the purchased 12-packs, 6-packs and trios ready for pickup at D.H. Lescombes locations in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. More pickup locations are in the works. Shipping is also available for a fee. Anybody who bought a ticket for the Memorial Day wine festivals can roll their ticket price over to the purchase of wine, according to Goblet.

Every purchase of wine comes with automatic access to the GRAPE AID live show on Sept. 12. The virtual event will feature performances by New Mexico musicians and bands including Jono Manson, Bri Bagwell, and country and western artist Michael Martin Murphey.

New Mexico grape growers will receive some monetary relief from GRAPE AID 2020 proceeds.

“(Grape Aid 2020 will be a) combination of pre-recorded and live music videos, interviews from grape growers from their vineyards during harvest and then we’ll do some other fun things, some trivia, some karaoke, some of the fun things that will add a little bit of engagement to this,” Goblet said. “…People can buy throughout out the GRAPE AID performance and stock up their fridges for Labor Day weekend.”

A more localized event to promote Corrales wines is planned from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11 and Wednesday, Aug. 12. Cultivate Corrales will showcase four wineries located in Corrales. Casa Vieja Brewery has offered its outdoor patio to host a Viva Vino Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Bottle Shop for Cultivate Corrales.

“We’re going to do a tasting by reservation,” Goblet said. “On (Aug. 11) it’s going to be Milagro (Vineyards) and Pasando Tiempo (Winery) and on (Aug. 12) it’s going to be Acequia and Corrales wineries. … You make your reservation, (which is) $15 per person. You get a flight of six wines. Three wines from each winery.

“You have an hour long reservation to come in. You can sample all six wines that are featured for the day. You can order more by the glass if you want to sit and enjoy another glass of wine. And then the wineries will either be on hand, in person at Casa Vieja to sell the wine or you can call your order in to the winery and pick it up curbside. Just a way for local businesses to support each other.”

The public can make their reservations by calling Goblet at 575-649-8994. The $10 wine tasting fee includes the flight of wines as well as a souvenir Viva Vino tasting glass and a wine tote bag. The wine flight will include a short description about each wine, retail price and how to purchase. Representatives from the wine industry will also be available to answer questions about the featured wines.

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