Press Release - A Toast to Tradition: The Rich History of New Mexican Wine and Cuisine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Red River, NM (April 3, 2024) –

A Toast to Tradition: The Rich History of New Mexican Wine and Cuisine, By Naoma STaley

Did you know that New Mexico was the very first place in the country to cultivate wine? Did you know that there are seven distinct culinary regions in our state, each with its own unique flavors and traditions?

If you knew neither or both and want to explore them more, you are invited to experience the past, present, and future of New Mexican wine and food with us at the 2024 Vino in the Valley: the Red River Valley's Premier Art & Wine Festival.

A Legacy of Wine: New Mexico's Resilient Spirit

New Mexico's wine-making heritage boasts a rich and enduring history, tracing its roots back to the early 1600s. In fact, New Mexico is the oldest wine-producing region in the United States. The credit for introducing viticulture to the New World goes to Spanish settlers who saw the immense potential of this land for cultivating vineyards and crafting wine for religious, ceremonial purposes.

The history of New Mexico's wine production, however, is not as widely celebrated as it deserves to be. This hidden gem of American wine making endured significant challenges, which, in turn, contributed to its relative obscurity on the national stage. Two pivotal events in the early 1900s, both metaphorical and literal, took a toll on the wine-making community, temporarily halting its progress.

Prohibition, a nationwide ban on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages, drove alcohol production underground and cast a shadow on the wine industry. Simultaneously, massive and destructive flooding wreaked havoc throughout the state, literally ripping vineyards out of the ground and delivering a blow to an industry that was still finding its footing.

Despite these setbacks, the resilient spirit of New Mexicans prevailed. Over the decades, families across the state tenaciously retained their wine making skills and kept the flame of this ancient tradition alive. Around two decades ago, a renaissance in grape growing and wine production emerged, breathing new life into this time-honored craft. Just as the people of New Mexico have persevered through challenges, so too has the art of wine making.

Today, this enduring legacy lives on in the local vineyards that continue to produce wines with a distinct and captivating character. The unique influences of history, terroir, and culture converge to create vintages that are not only delicious but also a testament to the spirit of resilience that defines New Mexico.

At Vino in the Valley, we invite you to savor these historic influences and celebrate the indomitable spirit of New Mexico as you sample some of the state's finest and most unique vintages and peer into the future of wine making in our incredible state.

A Tapestry of Flavors: New Mexican Cuisine

New Mexican cuisine is a vibrant tapestry woven from a diverse range of culinary influences, including Spanish, Native American, Mexican, and American frontier traditions. It's a cuisine known for its bold and flavorful ingredients, with red and green chiles often taking center stage. Each dish tells a story of New Mexico's history and cultural fusion. At the festival, you can embark on a culinary journey through our state's seven distinct regions, sampling everything from hearty red chile enchiladas to savory green chile stew.

As you explore Vino in the Valley, you'll discover that New Mexico boasts several distinct culinary regions. Each region showcases its unique flavors and ingredients. From the pueblos of the North to the borderlands of the South, from the fertile Rio Grande Valley to the rustic heartland of the East, New Mexico's diverse landscapes inspire equally diverse cuisines. Our festival celebrates this rich tapestry by featuring food vendors representing these regions.

Vino in the Valley: Where History and Flavor Meet

At the 2024 Vino in the Valley, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the fascinating history and diverse flavors of New Mexican wine and cuisine. From the wine cellars to the tasting tables, from the farm-to-table dishes to the hot chile, you'll experience the essence of a state steeped in an incredibly rich, and sometimes even ancient, culinary tradition.

Join us in raising a glass to the enduring legacy of wine and the mouthwatering wonders of New Mexican cuisine. Vino in the Valley is more than a festival; it's a celebration of our past, a toast to our present, and a glimpse into the flavorful future of New Mexico.

Don't miss out on this extraordinary event in the heart of the Red River Valley. And we’ll see you at Vino in the Valley, where history and flavor meet in a fusion of wine and cuisine!

Plan Your Vino in the Valley Getaway

Visit redriverchamber.org/viv for festival details and tickets. Explore lodging options at Information Packets – Red River Chamber of Commerce, or contact the Chamber at rrinfo@redriverchamber.org for more information.

Don't miss this 20th anniversary celebration of art, wine, and mountain magic!

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