Unique Partnership Uses Native Land to Grow Wine Grapes for Gruet Winery
Pueblo of Santa Ana, NM – Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape seedlings will be planted on a 30-acre vineyard this month on Santa Ana Pueblo’s native land. The Vineyards at Santa Ana represents a unique partnership between Santa Ana Pueblo and Gruet Winery where grapes will be grown on native land and sold to Gruet for use in producing its award winning wines.
“The idea of the vineyard came out of our desire to further the historical tradition of using Pueblo land for agriculture, says George M. Montoya, Governor, Pueblo of Santa Ana.
In 2010, a joint venture between Santa Ana and Gruet was discussed and well received by both parties recognizing the mutual benefits of such a unique partnership. Joseph Bronk, Santa Ana’s Director of Agricultural Enterprises and members of the Gruet Family collaborated on specifics for several months before moving forward with the project. Bronk oversees the funding and implementation of the project.
“The vineyard project provides economic development opportunities for the Pueblo while honoring the historic precedent of using land for agricultural purposes,” said Bronk. “This unique partnership expands Santa Ana’s relevance beyond Pueblo borders into national and international markets through Gruet’s established reputation,” he adds.
Plans for the Vineyards at Santa Ana materialized once Bronk identified several funding sources. He first approached The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern Pueblos Agency (BIA-SPA) in 2010 as was able to secure a commitment of assistance and partial funding through its Trust Resource Program with the understanding that Santa Ana would attempt to acquire seed money to make the Vineyards at Santa Ana a reality. The BIA-SPA also conducted a Cultural Clearance Study necessary to move forward with the project.