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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Southwest Wine Competition to Be Held in Ruidoso

LAS CRUCES - A gala evening of wine, food and music will highlight the Connoisseur Classic Southwest Wine Competition July 29-Aug. 1 in Ruidoso.

"The all-evening Grand Tasting event on Friday will be filled with dancing, food, art and music by Mike Pritchard with Blue Thunder & the Lightning Horns," said Bill Gomez, economist for New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.

The Grand Tasting will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday July 30 at the Ruidoso Convention Center. The event will feature wine tasting, a southwestern agricultural product showcase, a wine label competition, a parade of foods from local restaurants, a Lincoln County artist's exhibition, a silent auction benefiting breast cancer research, the presentation of Southwestern Wine Competition awards and a dance.

Attendees also will have the chance to taste the award winning wines. Tickets for the Grand Tasting are $35 per person. The following day will feature gourmet lunches at local restaurants.

"Lincoln County has some of the finest restaurants in the state," Gomez said. "Saturday's events will feature seven restaurants paired with participating wineries. Some are already selling out of tickets."

Twenty-five different wineries from New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah and Nevada have entered 150 wines in the competition.

Restaurants will include La Lorraine, Casa del Cocinero, Ellis Store Country Inn, Che Bella, The Incredible, Spanky's and Le Bistro. Area chefs will provide four-course meals. To preview the menus visit the World Wide Web site at: http://www.trekwest.com/wine.

The festival also will have a Wine Appreciation for Novices session and a Sunday brunch on the final day of the festival.