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“This is a passion of mine,” said Amaro Winery founder and owner Bernd Maier.
The German winemaker moved from his home near Baden-Baden, Germany, to southern New Mexico in 1983 to open a vineyard at Elephant Butte. He moved to Las Cruces in 1989, earned a master’s degree in agricultural economics from New Mexico State University and was the vintner at NMSU.
He purchased 20 acres of land in Mesquite for his vineyard and opened Amaro Winery and tasting room in 2009.
“I was always interested in opening a winery,” said Maier, whose family has operated vineyards in Germany since the 1400s.
When he found an available property (a one-time lumber yard) near the intersection of Melendres Street and Amador Avenue in Las Cruces, “it happened,” he said, but only after more than three years of planning. The name Maier chose for his winery comes from a variety of grape, negroamaro, native to southern Italy. His wines have won multiple gold, silver and bronze medals at New Mexico State Fair wine competitions.
“I enjoy going out in the vineyard early in the morning,” said Maier, who enjoys the entire wine-making process, especially discovering which varieties of grapes are adaptable to the southern New Mexico climate. “I enjoy a good glass of good wine when it’s finished,” he said.
When Maier and his wife, Xiao, talk to happy customers at Amaro, “then it all comes together,” he said. Xiao, a native of southern China, runs the tasting room. “This would not be running without her,” he said.
Amaro hosts food trucks on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, has open mic night on Thursdays, live music on Friday nights and salsa dancing on Saturday nights. The tasting room features work by local artists, with new exhibits about every six weeks, Xiao said. The tasting room and outdoor space are also available for special events and celebrations, including birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and election-night parties, as well as business and holiday celebrations.
Amaro will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a party beginning at 1 p.m. and continuing until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15 at the winery and tasting room, 402 S. Melendres St. There is no charge to attend the celebration, which will include live music, a food truck, and, of course, a partial sampling of Amaro’s nearly 50 varieties of wine, including its signature Cruces Sunrise.
“There’s a wine for everybody,” Maier said. And, depending on the day, his mood and the weather, “I like them all,” he said.
Amaro Winery is open 3-10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 1-10 p.m. on Saturday, 1-6 p.m. on Sunday and by appointment only on Monday and Tuesday.
Call 575-527-5310. Visit amarowinerynm.com and find them on Facebook.