New Mexico is the oldest winegrowing region in the United States. Franciscan fathers planted grapes in what was known as Senecu, New Mexico in the year 1629. The village of Tularosa has been growing wine grapes since its foundation ca. 1862. The Tularosa Basin now grows around 50+ acres of grapes and many more planned in the near future. Some of the varieties grown in the Tularosa Basin include, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Symphony, Gewurztraminer, Mission (original grapevine), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Pinot Noir.
The life-giving Tularosa River
We currently source fruit for our wines from the diverse climates that abound in the Tularosa Basin. Starting at the bottom of the Basin, a majestic 4,500 feet above sea level, to other vineyards located around 6,800 feet (probably one of the highest altitude vineyards in the world). Many California vineyards brag about being 2,600+- feet above sea level. Typical highs in the growing season can be in the upper 90's and approaching 100 F. However, nighttime temperatures often drop dramatically in to the upper 50's and lower 60's. This tremendous diurnal shift is what gives wine grapes bold flavors and good acid. Without the cooling (high altitude) influence the wines would be flat and insipid and without the sunlight the wines would be extremely acidic (unripe).
The Tularosa acequia
, or ditch
When the village of Tularosa was founded in 1862, Spanish settlers brought grapevine cuttings (Mission vines) with them and irrigated them with acequias
(ditch water). Today most of the Tularosa Basin's vineyards are irrigated utilizing drip irrigation from mostly shallow wells, saving tremendous amounts of water. The drip irrigation allows grape farmers to control the quality of the grapes (by not over watering) as well as conserve water. This is achieved by controlling water within the root zone of the grapevines, and the fact that grapevines use significantly less water than other water intensive crops like alfalfa and pecans.