New Mexico wine festivals will be back in full swing beginning in mid-August.
The pandemic put a damper last year on all of New Mexico’s favorite wine festivals, including the Santa Fe Wine Festival at El Rancho de las Golondrinas in Santa Fe. The festival returns Aug. 14-15 at the historic grounds, 334 Los Pinos Road. Gates open at noon each day. Tickets are $18 for ages 21 and older and $5 for ages 13 to 20. Tickets can be purchased at holdmyticket.com. Admission is free for El Rancho de las Golondrinas members. Adult tickets include a festival wine glass.
“So usually this is a Fourth of July event,” New Mexico Wine Executive Director Chris Goblet said. “We bumped it to August. … And so this is such a great festival, because it’s in this historic village and we’ve got, I think, 14 wineries and a cidery participating.”
The wineries include Black’s Smuggler, Gruet, Jaramillo, La Esperanza, Luna Rossa, Noisy Water, St. Clair and newcomer El Alamo, from Alcalde. New Mexico Hard Cider also will be in attendance. The event also will showcase local arts and crafts as well as agricultural product vendors.
Next up is the Harvest Wine Festival in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Attendees will be able to sample more than 100 wines from some of New Mexico’s best wineries. Both of the festivals will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 4-6. The Albuquerque event will take place at Balloon Fiesta Park, 5000 Balloon Fiesta Parkway NE. Down south, the event will take place at the Doña Ana County Fairgrounds, 12125 Robert Larson Blvd. Both events are open to ages 21 and older. For the Albuquerque festival, general admission tickets are $30 and are valid any day of the event. Tickets for the Sept. 6 event only are $25. The festival has a special offer of two tickets for $50 or two tickets for $40 for the Sept. 6 event. Designated driver tickets are $10. All ticketholders, with the exception of designated drivers, will receive a Viva Vino commemorative wine glass as well as $5 off any bottle of wine. The Las Cruces ticket prices are the same except for the Sept. 6 event special of two tickets for $45. All tickets can be purchased at holdmyticket.com.
Live music, food trucks and vendors selling fine art, jewelry, local foods and crafts also will be part of both festivals.
“We’ve got the return of wine fest, which is the Harvest Wine Festival again.” Goblet said. “I think we’ve got 16 wineries signed up for that one. … (We have) two bands per day, performing. Basically, one that is meant to be up-tempo and the other one that’s meant to be more of a relaxed, you know, atmospheric kind of music. And the biggest thing I can say for all of these festivals is just the pent-up demand that we’ve heard from wine festival connoisseurs and the matching pent-up inventory that our wine growers have. So I hope that the two of them are like waves colliding, that the demand wave for wine is equal to the amount of wine that we bring. Everybody gets to take home some great bottles for their late fall enjoyment.”
Wine and beer enthusiasts can sample some of the state’s best during Red, White and Brews at this year’s New Mexico State Fair. The tasting events will be held on Sept. 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19.
“For State Fair we work with the Department of Agriculture and we do Red, White and Brews happy hours,” Goblet said. “And so those are on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the fair. … And so we invite different wineries and breweries and distilleries to come feature their product inside the Department of Agriculture courtyard.”
Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery has created a Blue Corn Lager and a red chile Moscow mule cocktail called the Angry Mule for the State Fair.
“The Angry Mule is made with red chiles that were just picked up in Hatch this season,” Goblet said, “(It is) fresh red chile pods. … They make their Moscow mule and then take the red chiles and ginger and all the other stuff and make an infusion. And then (they) add that to the final step. Once the cocktail’s created and the alcohol’s in there, they do the simple syrup infused with all these different herbs and spices and things. So it’s really handcrafted. And the blue corn for the blue-corn beer was growing at Santa Ana Pueblo. So sticking with the traditions of locally sourced ingredients.”
In Santa Fe, the renowned Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta will be held Sept. 22 through Sept. 26 at different locations. Several New Mexico wineries will be represented during the international event. There will be two grand tasting events this year. One will be held on Sept. 24 and the other on Sept. 25 at Magers Field at Fort Marcy Park, 490 Bishops Lodge Road. A full schedule, tickets and information can be found at santafewineandchile.org.