About Us

History of La Chiripada Winery

La Chiripada Winery is a small, family-run operation located in the stunning Rio Embudo Valley of Northern New Mexico (50 miles north of Santa Fe and 25 miles south of Taos). We developed our winery in 1977, following the traditions of the first Spanish inhabitants and adopted the name, La Chiripada, from the original ranch where our winery is located. (“La Chiripada” implies, “a stroke of luck” or “a fortunate fluke”.)

It was in 1981 that we developed the winery in the traditional southwest design utilizing the indigenous products of the area: adobe bricks, vigas and latillas. That same year, after developing our root stock for 4 years, we harvested our very first commercial vintage, a robust Burgundian styled red wine from our little vineyard in Canoncito. The following year, we opened our doors to the general public.

Our signature red wines, Special Reserve Riesling, Rio Embudo Red and Rio Embudo Red Reserve Choice are made from grapes grown at our vineyards in the Rio Embudo Valley. Warm summertime days and cool, clear nights combine with rich, sandy loam soil to develop perfect conditions for the cultivation of grapes. Northern New Mexico’s extreme winters together with our high elevation (at 6100 ft, we are one of the greatest industrial grape growing endeavors on the planet) caused us to pick cultivars efficient in holding up against the severe environment and short growing season.

In 1983, our neighbors upriver, Jasper and Orlina Tucker, developed Rio Embudo Vines. Our integrated vineyards now produce between 20 and 30 heaps each season: approximately half of what we require for the “crush”. Due to our high elevation, some types of grapes are not able to grow locally, so we buy grapes from the Mimbres Valley in the southern part of our state.

In our winemaking practice, we stress the regionality of our product and are sensitive to the special food of northern New Mexico. We make a range of red wines that vary in design from an extremely fruity Kabinett styled Riesling to a spicy Rhone styled red; from an oak aged Cabernet to a delightfully refreshing Blush red wine. Our Primavera white wine is a favorite of residents as it is the perfect complement to the spicy (hot!) red and green chiles of northern New Mexico.

From vine planting, to cultivating and pruning, to racking, fining, and filtering, we are intimately included with our red wines all the way. We taste, discussion and collaborate, from the original taste of the grape to be gathered to the final thumbs up at bottling time. We follow the aging process from barrel through the days, months and years in the bottle. A terrific job! And given that we do not overly process our wines, i.e. no extreme pumping, filtering, fining or sulfur, sometimes the white wines will speed up aspects intrinsic in the wine like tartaric crystals and pigments. Not to worry– these are all signs of an excellent red wine!

Our winery regularly brings house awards from competitions across the country in addition to being voted time and again “The Very Best Winery in New Mexico”. From crush to bottling, together with our dedicated personnel, we carefully monitor our wines to bring you the very best red wine we can produce.

— Michael & Patrick Johnson, Owners

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