Emilio Baca tends the vines at his family's vineyard. Photo by Robert A. Naranjo with the Valley Daily Post
Apple/Riesling Wine Made With Española Valley Grapes
By ROBERT NARANJO
Mora – Northern New Mexico Micro Grape Growers Association (NNMMGGA) got the call the growers had been waiting for during last wine grape harvest season. Las Nueve Ninas (The Nine Little Girls) Winery of Mora, New Mexico, has for several years blended Golden Delicious apples with Riesling grapes resulting in a popular, fruity white wine for the Mora County winery. Their website points out “the four generations of winemakers at Las Nueve Ninas” as their pride and joy.
The 2015 bottling of the Golden Delicious apples and Riesling grapes, which were in part grown in the Española Valley — from Velarde to El Llano. It was the first year that Las Nueve Ninas Winery bought wine grapes from growers in the Española Valley. Mike’s Store in Velarde carries Las Nueve Ninas products.
Emilio Baca, and his uncle, Ross Varela, have tended to a row of Baco Noir, planted by Dona Carmelita Naranjo Vineyard, LLC , as a test plot in 2013. The former alfalfa field proved a good choice for the vines. Baca and his Uncle Ross, have painstakingly nurtured them this year and have some great looking wine grapes.
The Northern New Mexico Grape Growers Association (NNMMGGA) growers are also having success with Baco Noir as well as other varieties of wine grapes. The vinifera (wine grape) must be hardy to grow in northern New Mexico and some varieties have out performed others. Baca Noir is one that has weathered the winters pretty well and grows vigorously. Most NNMMGGA growers have this variety in their vineyards.
Northern New Mexico produced world-class wine in the mid 1800’s but wine grape growing was replaced by other fruit trees. In recent years however, it is making a comeback and New Mexico wineries are winning wine competitions in New York and other cities around the world. It’s the combination of cool summer nights and hot, dry days that makes the sugar level or “brix’ perfect for wine.