10 Unexpected U.S. Wine Trails
Courtesy of Casa Rondena Winery
Trail: Central Region
Number of Wineries: 11
Distance: 150 miles
Description: The first commercial wine-growing region in the United States (a Franciscan priest and monk from Spain first planted grapevines on the banks of the Rio Grande in 1629), New Mexico wine country is broken into three main areas: northern, southern, and central, the latter known for its intense sunlight, high desert, and dense forests. By 1880, New Mexico was outproducing New York wineries, but drought and Prohibition soon made New Mexico go dry. In the 1970’s wine made a comeback; now there are 30 thriving wineries throughout the state.
Where to Sip: Known for its reds, Casa Rondena is an award-winning winery and one of the oldest in New Mexico; its Meritage Red—a fruity blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes—was recently named by a national food magazine as among the 10 best reds in the U.S.
Where to Stay: Los Poblanos Inn, two historic buildings designed by renowned New Mexico architect John Gaw Meem, sits under cottonwood trees along the Rio Grande.