Anyone who has made the trip to Ponderosa Valley Vineyards and Winery in the beautiful Jemez Mountains region and met Henry Street, doubtless still recalls the encounter. A venerable winemaker and grape grower, Henry has been growing grapes in Ponderosa Valley since 1976 and founded the winery with his wife, Mary in 1993. The winery has a broad range of wines; reds and whites, sweet and dry-styles, dessert wines and port.
As a grape grower, Henry has probably tried every grape varietal that might conceivably grow in the valley. He is known for his Riesling wines, but still experimenting, still looking for the best expression of that grape. Recently, he and his co-winemaker, Jeremiah Baumgartel replaced some of the older Riesling vines with a new clone from Washington State, a place that makes world-class Riesling wines. The high altitude in which the vines are planted more closely simulates our most northwestern state than California where the previous Riesling cuttings had come.
Henry is also a mentor to many local winemakers and grape growers, and is always willing to share his knowledge with both amateur and commercial growers and winemakers. If one is lucky enough meet Henry at the tasting room, they will be treated to stories about wine and wine making that will keep them coming back.
Henry Street was recently interviewed on The Spirits of New Mexico, a local radio show on KIVA, the Rock of Talk on 1600AM and Live 95.9FM. The show covers wines, beers and spirits and interviews leading members of those industries. Henry discussed his life as a New Mexico winemaker and his philosophy of making wine on the southern slopes of the Jemez Mountains. The Spirits of New Mexico website links to all the past show’s archive (MP3 files) including the recent show with Henry Street.
Ponderosa Valley Vineyards & Winery is a destination, so plan to spend time in this region. The wines are diverse and good, the atmosphere is rustic and lively, the greetings are always friendly and the desire to return is irresistible.