Gordon Steel was born in Hatch, the chile capital of New Mexico – if not the world. But Steel, as a child, dreamed of grapes. And now Steel is the winemaker of Rio Grande Vineyards & Winery in the historic Mesilla Valley in southern New Mexico.Plan your Rio Grande Vineyards and Winery visit and explore what else you can see and do in Las Cruces using our Las Cruces online travel route planner.
As Steel grew up, so did his dream – especially when his wife, Sandi, became part of the passion to plant a vineyard and build a winery. They fueled their passion by visiting wineries of California and Europe during the time Gordon served in the Air Force. When time allowed, the couple tried growing grapes in Albuquerque’s South Valley.
“We tried for nine years (1986-1995) to have a vineyard and even a small winery,” Steel says. “But we just could not get our grapes to grow. That’s why we moved to south of Mesilla.”
Fortunately, the move transformed the dream into reality, first with a 10-acre vineyard of vinifera grapes planted in 2004. The first harvest came in 2007. But one can’t just dream about becoming a winemaker, so Steel studied the craft at UC Davis and Washington State University. And one cannot just dream of a winery without careful consideration for the tasting room. So the couple built a modern winery and an attractive tasting room with a backdrop of the dramatic Organ Mountains.
Steel retired from the Air Force in 2009, and now he and Sandi aren’t just dreaming; they’re living in their dream.
Rio Grande Vineyards and Winery reviews
We are somewhat wine connoisseurs and having experienced many other states that offers so many vineyards and tastings often – we are being constantly surprised and amazed of the Southwest’s many... more »
We just made a quick stop along the way to Las Cruces NM. They not only have wine, but local beers as well. The person behind the bar was most hospitable and answered our questions. There were 6 of... more »
We are somewhat wine connoisseurs and having experienced many other states that offers so many vineyards and tastings often – we are being constantly surprised and amazed of the Southwest’s many worthy, up-and-coming wineries, for day outings, day trips incredibly enjoyable, with tastings, tours or just relaxing. As you well know if you’re a wine lover, wine is very subjective and varies from one’s own palate and preference. Due to rather diverse variances in each experience, or try to compare one winery, vineyard, grape or wine to another, I have developed a method in scoring that will give both the occasional novice wine taster or the most sophisticated connoisseur a bearing on each establishment by visited, based on our single, or sometimes multiple visits to each location. My guidelines are: 1) beauty of location and its scenery [ Scored:3.0 ] ; 2) the establishment’s appearance and ambience [ Scored:4.0 ]; 3) the owner/operators’ attention to their customers and hospitality [ Scored:4.5 ]; 4) activities, events and/or meals/munchies/entertainment [ Scored:4.0 ]; 5) wine selection, quality, taste and varieties [ Scored:5.0 ]; and 6) heavily weighted on our taste [ Scored:4.5 ]; as well as 7) value, consistency and price of the product [ Scored:4.0 ]. None of the aforementioned are in any particular order of value. The scale being 1 the worst, 5 the best and recommended and our overall assessment by scores a 4.1! By the way, the views there are fantastic - you almost want to stay the day! Check it out.
The views are beautiful and the wine is great! However, the last time I went, the owner came out and yelled at my friends and me to be quiet. We were talking and laughing, nothing out of the norm. It was really strange. We left cash on the table and left quickly. I even called the winery prior to us going because I wanted to ensure they were open at that time. Whoever answered said very nicely to come out and that they would take care of us. I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon, sadly. It was one of my favorite places where I would take friends and family.
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