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VARA Winery & Distillery doesn’t have a story, it has a history

Some wines have a story, this one has a history. VARA Wines, an award-winning locally owned winery based in Albuquerque announced the inaugural release of their first 100% New Mexico wine – Viña Cardinal. The owner of VARA Wines Doug Diefenthaler discussed this wine.

In the beginning. In 1629, 140 years before the first Missions of California were established and planted, a Franciscan friar named García de Zúñiga and a Capuchín monk named Antonio de Arteaga planted the first European wine grapes – Vitus vinifera – in what is now the United States. The cuttings brought to the new world were planted at a pueblo in the Rio Grande Valley of the Province of Nuevo México. This variety known as Listán Prieto or the present-day Mission grape has been continuously grown and is still harvested in New Mexico today.

VARA Wines’ first 100% New Mexico Wine, Viña Cardinal is Vara’s tribute to the heritage of the first vinifera winemaking in the USA. Made entirely from New Mexico grown heirloom Listán Prieto grapes, the wine was pressed and fermented off skins. Prior to finishing completely dry, they stopped the fermentation by fortifying with their grape spirits (brandy) to 17% alcohol by volume. The result is pale pink, slightly off-dry, light and lovely fortified aperitif wine. The bouquet is of white roses, white peaches, and melon. Luxuriously flavored and textured with a long finish showing hints of limestone, peaches, and white pepper.

With a salute to its Spanish heritage, it is a privilege to introduce Viña Cardinal to VARA’s remarkable range of Spanish and American table wines and cavas. The result is the establishment of a new class and standard for American wineries, making wines designed to flawlessly accompany a very broad range of cuisines and occasions.

VARA is an international family of Spanish and American wines celebrating the origins of the American wine experience thanks to the historical connection of Spain and New Mexico. VARA wines are currently being sold in New Mexico and interviewing distributors nationally.

Some wines have a story, they have a history.