New Mexico has long been known as an artist’s dreamscape complete with sweeping desert valleys and craggy mountain ranges dotted with piñon pine, spiny cacti and brilliant pastel-coloured sunsets. There’s a reason it’s received the moniker Land of Enchantment but it’s more than just brilliant sunsets and high-desert vistas.
There’s quite a bit of wine history here. In fact, it’s the home of the first Vitis vinifera planted in the United States. Spanish Franciscan monks planted grapevines in the Rio Grande Valley in 1629, over 130 years before the first established California vineyards.
By the late 1800s, New Mexico flourished with grapevines, considered the state’s third most important agricultural product. Prohibition in the early 1900s hindered a resurgence of the wine industry, followed by devastating floods in the 1940s that ravaged the area. In the 1970s, the industry began to revive.
Today, New Mexico is home to three burgeoning American Viticultural Areas, including the Mesilla Valley AVA – straddling the western border of Texas – the Mimbres Valley AVA and the Middle Rio Grande Valley AVA.