RUIDOSO – Following the July 30 announcement by New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and state health officials that wineries and distilleries be reclassified with other food and drink establishments such as restaurants, the State’s highest elevation winery Noisy Water reopened five of its six New Mexico locations to a rousing return of customers.
“Even with some rain we saw a busy weekend of 2000 guests with sales rivaling those of 2019,” said owner/winemaker Jasper Riddle. “We’re diligently expanding patios and outdoor seating to safely and responsibly allow customers to enjoy Noisy Water’s wines and foods.” State guidelines now require all wine service be conducted outdoors at tables separated by no less than six feet. Until this weekend stand-alone wine service had been prohibited unless food was served with wines, but as with restaurants, indoor seating remains disallowed. This order is effective only through Aug. 28th which concerns Riddle as “I fear we’ve a long road ahead. I hope it’s not too late to save some of our smaller industry friends and partners.” Riddle, who purchased the historic Engle vineyard from Gruet Winery last year, is also Vice President of the New Mexico Wineries Association which has urged its government officials to reassess winery restrictions during the pandemic.
According to a survey published by the National Association of American Wineries sales by New Mexico wineries fell an average of 77 percent since the pandemic’s start with Noisy Water’s declining 80 percent in April alone. Addressing this first key development for the state’s wineries since its mid-March shutdown, Riddle exclaimed that “with revenue drastically reduced for wineries, we face a dire need to sell product with harvest drawing near.”