Off the Beaten Path-New Mexico Wine Tours: Part One

A friend of mine invited me out with her for a wine/scenic tour in Northern New Mexico on one of my days off through New Mexico Wine Tours. This was an all day journey so I’m giving it to you in two parts. The tour was an absolute blast!

We started our tour with a side trip to the Puye Cliff Dwellings. We weren’t there long enough to get any hiking done, but one of the employee’s was very nice and presented us with the history of the Puye Cliffs Pueblo Indians, why they settled there, how long they were here before moving on, and how they lived. The drive out there was absolutely gorgeous and the scenic view when we arrived was awesome.

Puye Cliffs comprises two levels of cliff and cave dwellings cut into the cliff face, as well as dwellings on the mesa top. Over one mile long, the first level runs the length of the base of the mesa. The second level is about 2,100 feet long. Paths and stairways were cut in the face of the rock to connect the two levels and allow people to climb to the top of the mesa.”

Our next destination landed us at the Black Mesa Winery

“Black Mesa Winery began producing wines in 1992 as the result of a long time dream of Dr. Gerhard and Connie Anderson.  In 2000, Jerry and Lynda Burd purchased the winery and have carried on and expanded that dream to produce over 25 wines from grapes grown in northern and southern New Mexico.  All wines produced are from New Mexico grapes.  When asked about the large choice in wines in the Tasting Room, Jerry says, “I can’t make up my mind.  I have a palate that enjoys many different wines and styles of wines and so do our customers.”

I have been wanting to visit this winery for a long time now just to try their chocolate wine. I was not dissapointed, what a beautiful place to sit and sample wine. They sell some fantastic wines here. We were also lucky enough to get a tour of their winery, plus the history of how they make all of their wines, what type of barrels they use and how long their wines are aged. Black Mesa Winery is also known for there Chocolate Wines and of course I had to pick up some:0 Check out the label on it-isn’t it fabulous!

“Black Beauty continues to be the most popular wine. It is a deep red, chocolate flavored dessert wine which pairs very well with cheese cake and strawberries. There is also a rich, chocolate sauce to pour over ice cream made from Black Beauty wine.”

After the fabulous wine tasting at Black Mesa we were off to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge 

“One of America’s highest and most famous bridges, the route 64 crossing of the Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico was completed in 1965. A well proportioned cantilever truss with an attractive, curvilinear profile, the bridge received the American Institute of Steel Construction’s award for “Most Beautiful Long Span Steel Bridge” of 1966. In 1997 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
With its headwaters high up in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado, the Rio Grande is America’s 4th longest river, stretching 1,885 miles (3,034 km) south to the Gulf of Mexico. Located 10 miles (16 km) west of Taos, the deep gorge of the Rio Grande is the only major rift across an otherwise flat expanse of land between the mountains of the Carson National Forest and the Sangre de Cristos.
The bridge is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the region with parking areas on both sides of the bridge. Over the years, the popularity of the bridge has often led to height exaggerations. Most sources have it between 600 feet (183 mtrs) and 700 feet (213 mtrs) high when the true height is 565 feet (172 mtrs) from road deck level to the normal surface level of the river.
One of the best features of the bridge are several platforms that cantilever out from the roadway. They allow pedestrians to stand several feet out into space…”

We drove the least traveled back dirt road up to the bridge and were surrounded by  the gorgeous New Mexico landscaping. 

The left side of the road we drove up is the picture of the cliff. The right side of the road is the picture of the open landscape.

Note: New Mexico is a vast place to live, you really can’t just jump in your can and drive 20 minutes to get to these places, but it is worth traveling on these roads if you enjoy nature and being out in the middle of nowhere. (Verizon is the carrier you want if you need to have a signal on your phone at all times.) I personally don’t have Verizon, but I have a friend that does and I make sure to let people know where I am just in case I get stuck somewhere:)

We even got a glimpse of New Mexico’s native Turkey Vultures.

The Turkey Vulture is a native of New Mexico, but it migrates in and out of the northern part of the state. It leaves the area the last week in October and returns the 21-25 of March. These big birds are not as predictable as the swallows of Capistrano, but they come close….”

Wow, it was really windy at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, but it has an awesome view and was definitely worth the visit. In the center of the bridge there is a spot where you can step out into the nothingness and take pictures or just enjoy the feeling of floating in the air. Here’s one of my pictures from that standpoint.

The Rio Grande River is right below me.

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