First Native American-grown wine makes debut in Albuquerque area

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The first Native American-grown wine is about to hit the shelves and it’s made in the Albuquerque area at a unique 30-acre vineyard.

“It’s an amazing success — probably one of the best vineyards in New Mexico for the second harvest so I’m very very excited about it,” Gruet Winery winemaker Laurent Gruet said.

It’s a joint partnership between Santa Ana Pueblo and Gruet Winery to make the Gruet 2016 Tamaya Rose from pinot noir grapes.

The winemaker said the sweet wine was created by mistake.

“The sugar was too high to make sparkling wine and we have a short amount of time to harvest,” Gruet said. “But anyway, we had those grapes and I made a rosé with it.”

Santa Ana Gov. Lawrence Montoya said it’s the latest venture to diversify the pueblo’s agricultural interests.

“This is something a little bit different from what we normally do,” Montoya said. “Most pueblos follow the tradition of beans, squash and corn. But, [wine is] an agriculture product so it ties in with our core values.”

You can easily notice the fruits of their labor.

All the grapes for next year’s rosé are picked by hand. About 60 people are in the fields for the two-week harvest.

It’s a testament to the state’s long history of wine-making with hopes of future expansion.

“They approached us to plant vineyards and said, ‘There aren’t enough vineyards in New Mexico. We’ll guide you into what you need to plant and we’ll buy the grapes from you and be a long-term relationship,'” Gruet said.

Gruet said as the Santa Ana vineyard gets older, they will be able to plant different varieties of grapes to grow pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and reisling.

The rosé will be sold at the Gruet tasting room and at the Tamaya Resort for $15 per bottle.

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