Corrales Winery is one of 28 wineries that make up New Mexico’s Wine Country and proudly only uses New Mexico grapes to make its brilliant, award-winning wines. New Mexico has a long history with wine beginning in 1598 when the Spaniards first introduced it and then in 1629 the first grapevines were planted. Corrales Winery is the only solar-powered vineyard in the state and all wine making, bottling and labeling is done on location.
The winery features free wine tasting. Currently there is a nice variety from dry red to sweet white wines and a newer wine, which is a tasty semi-sweet blend. The open wine tasting room overlooks the winery’s beautiful rose bushes and green vineyards with the massive Sandia Mountains in the background. Carol, the in-house wine expert, is very friendly and full of pertinent knowledge. She patiently explains each bottle of wine, it’s under tones and what types of meal it may pair well with and compliment.
Keith and Barbara Johnstone, the owners, are both very welcoming and enthusiastic about wine making. All wines start out with separated layers and flavors, but after processing the delicious tastes all come together. It begins by first de-stemming the grapes, next the wine is fermented for a period of time, the liquid is then placed in a press where the fruit’s skin and seeds are separated, the wine then goes into a large plastic vat for an interim period before being placed in large white oak barrels to age. Red wine will stay in the barrels for varying times depending on several factors, such as how the barrel was constructed or how well the flavors have blended. The wine is then placed into bottles to complete the aging process.
White wine is not aged like the red wines are and they go through a more restricted fermenting process. The white wines are under a controlled temperature of about 58-60 degrees and take about 4 weeks to fully ferment whereas the red wines are fermented outside and take about 5-10 days to complete the process.
Corrales Winery is a small, but beautiful gem located just minutes north of Albuquerque near the center of Corrales Village. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5pm. Plan to bring snacks and a blanket to enjoy a picnic after some wine tasting on the winery’s luscious lawn overlooking stunning, natural landscape.