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Labor Day Weekend

Raise a toast to the Las Cruces Harvest Wine Festival

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LAS CRUCES - Grab a glass because it’s time for the annual Las Cruces Harvest Wine Festival.

The event, featuring 17 New Mexico wineries, takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout Labor Day weekend – Saturday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 2, at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds, 12125 Robert Larson Blvd.

And those who attended New Mexico Wine’s Las Cruces Wine Festival in the spring over Memorial Day Weekend can expect new things to both taste and see at the Harvest Wine Festival.

“What you saw in May will not be the same as what you see in September,” said Chelsea Canon, assistant director of New Mexico Wine. “It will be different food vendors and different arts and crafts vendors; you’ll be sure to find something new.

“Each of the wineries will have new wines as well – new vintages, new varietals,” she said.

The festival’s participating Las Cruces-area wineries are: Amaro Winery, D.H Lescombes Winery & Bistro, Rio Grande Vineyard & Winery, Luna Rossa Winery and Heart of the Desert Pistachios & Wines. Other participating New Mexico wineries include La Esperanza Vineyard and Winery in Hanover, Black’s Smuggler Winery in Bosque, Tularosa Vineyards in Tularosa, Sheehan Winery in Albuquerque and Sombra Antigua Winery in Anthony, just to name a few.

In addition to sampling the many wine varieties in red and white, dry and sweet and everything in between, festival guests can peruse the event’s 27 vendors and purchase food and beverages at 11 food trucks from Las Cruces, El Paso and Silver City.

“We’ll have all kinds of different foods, from quesadillas and tacos to brie-stuffed dates, and Asian-fusion street food to the classic turkey leg,” Canon said. “We’ve pretty much got it all.”

Vendors at the festival will include Las Cruces Candy Company, TLC Crafts, Kettle Corn, Old Barrel Tea Co., Henna Bri, The Quirky Bee, Dapper Doughnuts, Bath Planet NM and more.

Grape stomping competitions and the grape stomping photo booth will return this year and take place throughout each day of the festival, beginning around 1:30 p.m.

“The person who wins gets a bottle of wine from a participating winery and gift card for items from one of the vendors at the festival,” Canon said. “So, you can get a meal voucher for one of the food trucks or a gift card to a jewelry vendor and get yourself a nice bracelet.”

Those who don’t want to compete up on stage can still stomp grapes at the photo booth, Canon said.

“You don’t have to take a photo, but it’s kind of fun,” she said.

Canon said this year’s festival may also include grape tasting, in which people can try some of the grapes used to make different varieties of wine and learn about the wine-making process and how different kinds of grapes can affect taste.

Live music performances will take place throughout the event and feature Baracutanga from Albuquerque, Damian Issac from El Paso, Chris Baker from Las Cruces and Frank Zona and Urban Edge from El Paso.

Canon said the Las Cruces Harvest Festival has grown over the years, steadily attracting more people to the fairgrounds.

“We’ve been bringing some activities back and there are some things that we’re looking at to grow the festival, growing the acts, growing the events within the festival,” she said. “Slowly but surely, we’re bringing things in.”

Canon said she encourages people to come out and enjoy the weekend.

“[The festival is an] all-around good thing to do over the weekend, whether you like wine or food, there’s going to be something for everyone,” she said.

Tickets for the Las Cruces Harvest Wine Festival are $20 when purchased online in advance or $25 at the gate for those 21 and older. Ticket price includes a complimentary tasting glass for sampling great wines. Wines are also available for purchase by the glass, bottle, or case. Designated driver/kids 15+ tickets are $10 and include a complimentary water, soft drink or Topo Chico Sparkling Mineral Water. Discounts are available for military and kids under 15.

For more information, visit nmwine.com

Alexia Severson may be contacted at alexia@lascrucesbulletin.com.

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