Wine enthusiasts usually look forward to Memorial Day weekend to sample and purchase some of the best vinos New Mexico has to offer.
The New Mexico Wine Festival in Albuquerque and Las Cruces has been on hold for the past two years due to the pandemic. It makes its return at both locations Saturday, May 28 through Monday, May 30.
“The wineries are very enthusiastic,” said Chris Goblet, executive director of New Mexico Wine. “It’s been at the back of their minds for two years. I think that we’ll see that the customers are going to be equally enthusiastic. But this is such an important part of the economics for small New Mexico wineries. These festivals generate about a million dollars in transactions for each festival.”
This year’s New Mexico Wine Festival will have a unique garden theme.
“This festival happens in the spring, even though we think of it as the kickoff to summer,” Goblet said. “And so we really decided to go with this wine garden theme. There’s something about rebirth and planting and all of our vineyards are replanting right now. We’re bringing this festival back and so we created a series of these wine flowers, these wine glasses that are in the shape of flowers. We’re really kind of pushing this idea of wandering the wine garden or when you come you know people think of the beer garden of course instantaneously.”
New Mexico Wine & Grape Growers Association will be donating $5 from each New Mexico Fire Relief Fund general admission ticket sold to help victims of the McBride Fire in Ruidoso. Three families who work for Noisy Water Winery lost their homes in the fire that displaced nearly 200 families. Half of the funds will go to the families, and the other half will be allocated to replant the forest. Also, $1 from every ticket purchased will also support the Vineyard Restoration Fund, an initiative to plant 200,000 new vines across the state.
The New Mexico Wine Festival in Albuquerque will be held from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 28 through Monday, May 30, at Balloon Fiesta Park.
The 21 and older event will showcase numerous wineries including Amaro Winery, Black Mesa Winery, Black’s Smuggler Winery, Casa Rondeña, DH Lescombes Family Vineyards, Gruet Winery, Jaramillo Vineyards, La Esperanza Vineyard, Las Nueve Niñas Winery, Luna Rossa Winery, Noisy Water Winery, Pasando Tiempo Winery, Ponderosa Valley Winery, Sheehan Winery, St. Clair Winery and Wines of the San Juan Winery.
There will also be plenty of live entertainment each day of the event. Performers include the Partizani Brass Band, Silver String Band, Reviva, Baracutanga, Nosotros, the Dirty Brown Jug Band and the Kyle Martin Band. Guests can also swing and sway their hips at the Silent Disco at the event.
Guests are sure to find something to love from the 50 vendors of fine art, clothing and accessories, wellness products, and fresh-made delicacies including chocolates, cakes and pastries. Nearly a dozen local food trucks will offer a wide range of menus including slow roast barbecue, burgers, pizza, waffles and New Mexican favorites.
Each ticket holder will receive $5 off any wine bottle purchase, unlimited wine sampling, and special pricing on wines by the glass, bottle and case sales.
Plein Air painters of New Mexico will be on site creating floral paintings. Attendees can also get artsy during painting classes with Go to Art Camp.
To tie in with the wine garden theme, eventgoers also can participate in the do-it-yourself floral bouquet classes with Signature Sweets and Flowers.
Organizers have also increased shading at each of the winery stands.
“We have increased the shading on the front end of every wine growers’ tents by 10 feet,” Goblet said. “We’ve added 10 extra feet of coverage in front of the wineries. And we’ve added additional shaded spaces throughout the festival. So there’s more shade in general, but there’s also more shade directly in front of the wineries where people stand in lines and have to wait for their turn.”
Down south in Las Cruces, a canopy of trees provides a plethora of shade for eventgoers to sip and stroll in.
The event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. May 28 through May 30 at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds.
Participating wineries include Amaro Winery, Black’s Smuggler Winery, DH Lescombes Winery, Heart of the Desert, Jaramillo Vineyards, La Esperanza Vineyard and Winery, Luna Rossa Winery, Noisy Water Winery, Ponderosa Valley Vineyards, Shattuck Vineyard, Sheehan Winery, Tularosa Vineyards and Wines of the San Juan.
All tasting tickets include a commemorative Viva Vino wine glass and $5 off any bottle of wine purchase.
Entertainment will be provided by Frank Zona, Chris Baker, Sangre Gitana, the Proud Pete Band and Radio Altivo.
Eventgoers can participate in sugar cookie decorating, stained glass painting, canvas painting and crepe paper flower bouquet making. Attendees can also learn how to build their own charcuterie board with a wine pairing. Food trucks also will be on site for hungry attendees.
“New Mexico Wine is the trade association for New Mexico wineries dedicated to promoting locally grown and handcrafted New Mexico wines,” according to Goblet. “This year’s New Mexico Wine Festival will be the largest event yet, and is designed to familiarize people with the world-class quality of New Mexico wines.”