Press Release, Casa Rondeña Winery
LOS RANCHOS DE ALBUQUERQUE – Two vintages from Casa Rondeña Winery
were judged third best in the top ten out of some 500 wines from 78 wineries,
at the Albuquerque Fine Wine and Art Festival, held April 6, at the Hyatt Regency
Hotel. Casa Rondeña’s 2008 Meritage and 2009 1629 Founder’s Reserve tied for
third in the test against 500 wines from all the most important winegrowing
regions of the world.
The wines were not rated by professional wine experts, but by some
1,000 wine lovers who demonstrated their passion by paying about $100 a couple
to attend the event.
“I was delighted that our wines were rated so highly by this
discriminating group,” said John Calvin, founder and owner of Casa Rondeña.
“This festival matched New Mexico wine against some of the best from the major
winemaking regions all over the world. It signals that New Mexico wine has
arrived in the global marketplace for the best vintages anywhere. “
As a further indication of the winery’s growing global reputation,
Calvin disclosed that the Grand Palace Hotel Group of Japan has signed a
multi-year contract to purchase Casa Rondena wine to feature in its dining
rooms. “We have assembled a fine sales and distribution team in Tokyo,” Calvin
“I have worked since I established the winery in 1995 to develop
wines that could compare to the best in the world,” Calvin said. “This
recognition, on top of the hundreds of medals we have been awarded at
competitions across the country in recent years, make clear we are succeeding.”
Calvin noted that winemaking is an industry with deep historical
roots in New Mexico – but one that only in recent years has come back as a
significant force in the state’s economy. Contracts such as the one with the
Japanese have the potential to expand it into a global player.
Casa Rondeña’s 1629 Founder’s Reserved is named in recognition of
the year the first wine grape vines were brought to what is now New Mexico.
Through the 1800s, wine exports were second only to wool and mutton in the
future state’s economy.
Casa Rondeña, located at 733 Chavez Rd. NW in Los Ranchos, is not
a large winery by national standards.
“We produce about 6,500 to 7,000 cases a year,” Calvin said. “We
make three whites and about five reds – both pure varietals and blends – from
the ten types of grapes in our vineyards.”
Calvin said he had long yearned to enter winemaking. He studied
flamenco guitar as a young man in Spain and worked as a musician. He later
launched a successful business career as a designer-builder. In 1990, the New
Mexico native planted his first vineyard.
The winery itself followed in 1995, and Calvin’s rich career and
experience paths show in the grounds of Casa Rondeña. The visitor could easily
imagine they had been transported to wine country in Europe by the graceful
clay tile-roofed buildings, arched breezeways and elegant gardens of Casa
“In 1880, New Mexico produced about 16,000 gallons of wine – about
what Casa Rondeña produces today,” Calvin said. “By 1885 it had jumped to
980,000 gallons, then it stopped entirely during prohibition.
“Today, New Mexico produces about 700,000 gallons of wine a year –
and I am proud that we have contributed significantly to that economic success
story,” Calvin added. “I take great pleasure in receiving the approval of those
who appreciate fine wine, because for me making great wine is the greatest
satisfaction I can achieve.”
For further information,
interview or photo opportunities, please contact Lindsay Neese, Membership
& Marketing Director for Casa Rondeña Winery, at 505.344.5911