Grape crushing season begins in San Juan County

Posted at: 08/28/2013 8:26 PM
Updated at: 08/30/2013 9:20 AM
By: Ashley McElroy, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Arnold family wasn't sure what to expect when they started Wines of the San Juan back in 2002.

"We started in a simple way we didn't have any grapes we didn't know anything about making wine," David Arnold said. 

But more than a decade later, their product is sold statewide and business is growing.

"We just got our importer's licenses so we can go into Colorado. It's the closest market besides Farmington that we haven't been able to tap into yet," Josh Arnold said.

Wines of the San Juan is just part of the growing wine industry in New Mexico. According to the New Mexico Wine Growers Association, the 39 wineries in New Mexico produced more than 700,000 gallons of wine last year.

That brought in more than $39 million.

The wine making process starts in the vineyard, and--depending on the type of wine--it could take a few months to a little over a year to complete.

The grapes end up here and work their way up the elevator to get juiced. The juice is stored in massive containers until the wine process is finished. Then, it's bottled and shipped.

"We try to make really good wines that suit a broad range of tastes," David said.

And the Arnolds say as long as people keep tasting, they'll be in business. Another part of their success has been getting people to try their wine at festivals.

They plan to be at the New Mexico Wine Festival in Bernalillo this weekend.