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NMSU Bernalillo Extension hosts workshop on starting vineyard, winery

ALBUQUERQUE - Raising grapes and making wine is thriving in New Mexico, both as a hobby and a business enterprise. New Mexico has 34 wineries producing almost 920,000 gallons of wine a year, according to the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society.

"There are many New Mexico residents interested in growing grapes and making wine, but they need some help getting started," said Cheryl Kent, New Mexico State University's Bernalillo County Extension Service horticulture agent.

For people interested in starting a vineyard and making wine, NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service will conduct a workshop on how to start a vineyard and winery from 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Albuquerque Garden Center, 10120 Lomas Blvd. NE.

Registration at the door will be $25. RSVP at http://rsvp.nmsu.edu/rsvp/vineyard.

"Bernd Maier, NMSU Extension viticulture specialist, and Bill Gorman, NMSU professor emeritus in agricultural economics, will lead the workshop," Kent said.

The basics of what is involved in starting a vineyard will be discussed. Topics will include site selection, variety selection and cultivation practices, costs associated with winery and vineyard establishment, wine making and the national and New Mexico wine markets.

"Bernd Maier has been working with the state's viticulture industry for more than 25 years," Kent said. "As a commercial consultant, Maier has helped improve local vineyards for two decades before taking a position with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service."

Through his position at NMSU's Extension Plant Sciences Department, Maier's current research includes meteorological studies, remote sensing with respect to grape varieties for northern and southern New Mexico, and trellis system and irrigation evaluation to enhance grape quality and mechanization of harvest.