The Only Food-Grade Certified Winery in the Southwest
As the fruit in the vineyard is flourishing and the winery staff crafts their award-winning wines, there has been a two-year long effort born of the desire to improve. This isn’t a new school of thought for the Lescombes family, who has a six-generation history of winemaking. Hervé Lescombes started his vineyard in New Mexico in 1982, driven by his determined sense of adventure and his desire to make wine with less restriction than what was allowed in France.
“The government in France would tell you how many vines and even what varietals you were allowed to grow,” Hervé remembers. “I wanted the freedom to do better and do more with what I had.”
It is in this spirit of improvement that St. Clair Winery has raised the bar and set a new standard by being the first winery in New Mexico, and the Southwest U.S, to achieve food-grade certification. Wineries are not mandated to be certified since wine is not regulated as a food product by the Food & Drug Administration.
“It is a choice we made to better ourselves for our customers,” said Florent Lescombes, Vice President. “We just want to strive to be the best we can.”
St. Clair joins only a handful of wineries in the U.S. to achieve such a certification, which they credit to their entire team, including Ziedney Valenzona, Quality Control Manager, a new position created to head-up the voluntary effort. The work towards certification included many daily checks, audits, record keeping, cleanliness standards, safety standards, procedures and countless other quality-related improvements, an effort that involved the entire organization and extensive investment of time, money and other resources in order to be effective.
“Not only did the team work hard towards the certification,” explained Ziedney, “but we are committed to maintaining the standards to always offer the best quality wines to our customers.”
“We’ve always taken pride in our wine,” Florent added. ”Raising the bar tends to breed a culture of excellence. We’ve realized that quality is a big picture that includes the smallest of details. I’m so proud of our hard-working employees, who have spent countless hours embracing this tedious project all in the name of quality and consistency.”
St. Clair Winery is located 3 miles east of Deming and has been in operation since 1984. They also operate three St. Clair Winery & Bistro locations in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Farmington. The Deming Tasting Room is open 7 days a week and can be reached at 575.546.1179 or stclairwinery.com