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Send Steve Where?: Tularosa offers superb conditions for wineries

Steve Soliz
June 27, 2017 10:23 PM

Send Steve where? This is the latest in a series to let new KOB anchor Steve Soliz learn New Mexico, and to give New Mexico a chance to get to know Steve. Send your suggestions on where Steve should visit at sendsteve@kob.com

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TULAROSA, N.M. -- in the small town of Tularosa grows a special batch of grapes. Those grapes will one day become wine.

Chris Wickham runs the Tularosa Winery.

 "Tularosa is like one of the most unknown wine regions in, probably, not only in the state of New Mexico but probably the whole United States," he said. "We have some of the best conditions for growing grapes in the world."

Wickham credits the dry climate and the high elevation.

"Not only can grapes grow here, they actually thrive here," he said. "That's kind of what started us on this endeavor of growing grapes and making wine."

David Wickham planted these vines in 1985, but the origin of the seeds is centuries old.

"Mission vines, yes. That's the name they got when they came to America," he said.

David Wickham said the vines were originally planted in New Mexico nearly 400 years ago, brought by Spanish settlers.

"Actually, 1629, it was planted in Senacoo, which is close to the present day San Antonio, as you're going to Socorro," he said. "It was wiped out in a flood. It was part of the Salt Missions, they called it. The Spanish brought missionaries into work with the Indian people, to work in the salt mines and they had to provide a church and ceremonials and all that kind of thing."

To put things into perspective, California's first vineyards wouldn't be planted for another 150 years. The mission vine of New Mexico provided grapes for the church's communion.

Today, the vine produces liquid history for Wickham's family-owned winery.

"I always have had a great interest personally in history and to have something that's a living reminder of that is a great thing actually," David Wickham said.

Meanwhile, the younger Wickham is on a mission.

"Drink some more New Mexico wines because they're really good," he said.

Chris Wickham hopes people will drink from the vine that grows in the Land of Enchantment.

"There are a lot of good wines out there," he said. "Please leave your money here in New Mexico because we need it. This is a really good industry. This has a lot of potential to grow even more."

Tularosa Winery is not the only winery in New Mexico that uses grapes from the mission vine. Wickham has shared his vine with other grape growers.

Credits

Steve Soliz

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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