Countdown to the Summer of Wine!
In honor of the Las Cruces Wine Festival’s 25th anniversary, we’ve put together this handy guide with all the info you need to add a little vino to your summer fun.
Written by Jessica Muncrief and Daniel Gonzales
5 Nearby Wine Excursions
4th of July Picnic at La Viña Winery
Celebrate the 4th like it was meant to be, picnicking with family and friends. From 11am to 6pm, La Viña will have hamburgers and hot dogs, wine by the glass, wine margaritas, musical entertainment, croquet, badminton, and even a water slide. lavinawinery.com
Mesilla valley wine trail festival
The New Mexico Wine Association is partnering with the Highway 28 Mesilla Valley Wine Trail for a tour with live music and food trucks at over nine area wineries on June 17-18 from Noon-6pm. mvwinetrailfest.com
Live Music at Sombra Antigua Winery
One of New Mexico’s oldest commercial vineyards, located in Anthony, offers up a great venue for enjoying a glass (they serve beer too) and whiling away a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. sombraantigua.com
St. Clair Vineyard Day Tour
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a winemaker by touring St. Clair’s 180 acres of grape vines. Includes a Mimosa greeting, box lunch, and six-barrel wine tasting. Turn to page 68 to see more. Stclairwinery.com
Art & Wine
Heart of the Desert Pistachios & Wine in nearby Alamogordo holds a monthly day of instructed supervised acrylic painting to be enjoyed with a glass of their signature wines (May 7 and June 11). Or try your hand at customizing your own wine glass at their Classy Glass events (June 25). Heartofthedesert.com
4 Super Simple Ways to Look Like a Wine Expert
Use the stem.It’s there for a reason! Besides being a functional part of the wine drinking experience (it keeps your wine at ideal temp as you drink), aesthetically, it keeps your fingerprints from getting all over the goblet portion of your glass.
Don’t over-pour. There are four, six-ounce glass pours in an average bottle of wine, however you should only pour three ounces at a time into your glass. The smaller surface area allows more oxygen into your glass, giving your wine an opportunity to “breathe” more effectively, which allows the nose and flavors to develop at a faster rate of time.
Never send it back for the wrong reason. When the server pours you a sample of the wine before they pour the rest of your party, it’s not to determine if you like the taste of the wine. They do this to allow you to tell if the bottle is good. If it smells like wet cardboard, it’s corked. If it tastes like vinegar, it has turned. Otherwise, you picked your wine. You shouldn’t send it back for reasons like, “It’s not sweet enough.”
Read the label. If you want to impress your guests with your knowledge of the bottle you’re serving, don’t overthink it. Most of the pertinent information is right there on the label: vintage, grape varietal(s), winery, region, country. Some even have tasting notes.
Wine that has a musty taint from spoilage resulting from a faulty cork
3 Wine Events to Plan Vacation Around
Albuquerque Wine Festival
Memorial Day Weekend
11:30am – 7 pm
Balloon Fiesta Park
Red River Art & Wine Festival
10am – 5pm
Santa Fe Wine Festival
El Rancho de las Golondrinas Living History Museum
2 Things to Never Worry About When Drinking Wine
If you look cool or not. Enjoy your wine. A wine expert doesn’t drink wine to be fashionable; they drink it because they like it. Spend your money and time doing things you like. Find a varietal you like, Pinot Noir for example, and expand on it. Try different countries that make it, different wineries. Learn different descriptors and vocabulary. Simply enjoy the glass you’re poured.
Whether it has a screwcap or cork. The screw cap (or Stelvin cap) is often regarded as a signifier of a lesser wine, when the truth is, you can never have a corked bottle of wine without a cork. Many companies are headed in this direction for financial and environmental reasons.
1 can’t miss festival
It’s a favorite annual event for locals and our neighbors from all over the region and this year, the Las Cruces Wine Festival (formerly the Southern NM Wine Festival) is celebrating a whopping 25 years of bringing the best the vino industry has to offer right here to the Mesilla Valley.
It’s only gotten bigger and better over the past quarter century, so expect nothing less at this year’s commemorative event. “We have the largest selection of beer and wine that we have ever had,” confirms Christopher Goblet, executive director of the NM Wine Association. “St. Clair is also celebrating their 25th anniversary this year, so they have three booths and will be pulling out a few special treats to celebrate our collective anniversaries.”
Some of those treats include a revamped layout and new, comfortable seating areas for people to enjoy the live music that’s always been a big draw for this event. There’s also a VIP early bird tasting that includes a signature commemorative glass, reserve wine tasting, and $10 worth of discounts on wine and merchandise.
And be on the lookout for the brand new paint tent which will be opening up three time slots throughout the festival for attendees to create a featured painting. “Our artist walks them through the step-by-step process to create the masterpiece just like the example,” says event organizer Amanda Collier of 360 Events. “Who doesn’t want to grab a glass of their favorite wine, listen to some great music, and paint?”
With so much to offer, it’s no wonder this event has stood the test of time to become one of those festivals everyone looks forward to all year long. “Fifty percent or more of our audience comes from El Paso and Mexico, so this has really grown into a regional wine festival,” Christopher notes. “We have regular attendees who come every year from out of state to stock up on New Mexico wine and celebrate the change of season with wine tasting, dancing, and shopping at our find food and arts vendors. We feel like the Las Cruces Wine Festival is the kickoff to the summer!”
Las Cruces Wine Festival
Memorial Day Weekend
May 27 – 29 | 11:30am – 7 pm
Southern NM State Fairgrounds