EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The wine industry in New Mexico has a long and rich history, dating back to the 1600s, and today the state has more than 50 wineries and tasting rooms.

Despite that rich history, the New Mexico’s wine industry has faced similar challenges in recent years as other agricultural-related industries. Those challenges include labor shortages, climate events and the COVID-19  pandemic.

To address those challenges, the state Legislature has created the New Mexico Vineyard Restoration Fund to provide rootstock for the production of wine by New Mexico wineries.

The fund will provide $950,000 to New Mexico wineries and vineyards “for the reimbursement of purchased rootstock or vines, to replace lost vines as a result of unavoidable event or to expand the planting of vines for the future growth and viability of the New Mexico wine and grape growers’ industry,” according to a news release.

“Driving through New Mexico, it’s hard to miss all the vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms, but the industry has struggled in recent years due to unfortunate circumstances, and it’s our goal to assist these agriculturalists through the vineyard restoration fund,” said New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte. “The wine industry is vital to the livelihoods of those who plant vines, harvest grapes, make wine and serve it to customers. It’s also important to the state’s overall economy.”

New Mexico’s grape and wine industry generates approximately $876 million in total economic activity, according to a report by the New Mexico State University Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas. The 2017 Census of Agriculture lists New Mexico as having 376 grape farms, covering 1,280 acres.

Eligible applicants for funding include:

  • New Mexico wineries with an active license and established vineyard that is 3 or more acres in size.
  • New Mexico vineyard that currently grows grapes for the industry with a vineyard that is 3 or more acres in size.
  • New Mexico wineries with an active license that desire to plant or expand a vineyard to 3 or more acres.
  • New Mexico farmers with experience, land and water rights and an interest in grapes.
  • Beginning grape-growers or new farmers planting a vineyard.

The New Mexico Wine and Grape Growers Association – also referred to as New Mexico Wine – will manage the funds. The New Mexico Department of Agriculture, under the umbrella of New Mexico State University, will oversee the funding program, as outlined in House Bill 2.

For more details and to apply, visit New Mexico Wine. The 2022 planting season application deadline is Monday, Oct. 31. The application period for the 2023 planting season begins Wednesday, Feb. 1. Program funds will be available each year through June 30, 2025 or until fully exhausted, whichever comes first.

For more information, visit the New Mexico Wine website, or contact Chelsea Canon at canon.chelsea@nmwine.com or 505-859-0541.