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VARA Winery & Distillery’s Head Distiller Martin Ulloa Wins the Title of Master Distiller on ‘Moonshiners: Master Distiller’

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(April 24, 2024; Albuquerque, N.M.)— JP Clement, CEO and General Manager of VARA Winery & Distillery, an urban winery and craft distillery based in Albuquerque, is proud to announce VARA’s Head Distiller, Martin Ulloa, has won the title of Master Distiller on the hit series ‘Moonshiners: Master Distiller’ season six, episode eight. Competing head-to-head against two seasoned distillers to produce an award-worthy whiskey, Martin brought home the win with an artisanal apple-infused single malt whiskey, the only whiskey on the episode made with an all-grain mash bill.    

“It comes as no surprise that Martin earned the title of Master Distiller,” says Clement. “Martin is a craftsman to his core, who always brings new and innovative ideas to the forefront of our ever-growing New Mexican-inspired spirits line. It was a joy to see that same creative spark I witness day in and day out at the VARA Distillery play out on a high-pressure competition show. This is a well-deserved win, not just for Martin, but for the vibrant New Mexico distilling community.”   

Industry veterans Tim Smith, Mark Ramsey, and Eric ‘Digger’ Manes were among the judges on the show. As the winning contestant, Martin’s apple-infused single malt whiskey will be produced as a limited-edition release by Sugarlands Distilling Co., a craft distillery located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and distributed in select markets. The episode premiered on April 23 and is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.    

“It’s an honor, to say the least,” says Ulloa. “The competition was fierce and challenging, but I always have fun when distilling, no matter the circumstances. The science of distilling leaves little room for error, but perfecting that science is what I find most satisfying. It has been a rewarding experience to see my work recognized on the show.”

No stranger to earning praise for his artisanal spirits, Martin has received numerous distilling accolades, including placing gold at the Denver International Spirits Competition for a blanco rum he made with Hollow Spirits and Best Whiskey of Albuquerque for a collaboration with Red 96 Bourbon Whiskey. With nearly a decade of experience in the distilling and brewing industry, Martin joined the VARA team in December 2023, where he leads the charge at the craft distillery, creating vodka, rum, brandy, and gin with plans for new distillations to come. Across the portfolio, Martin captures the New Mexican landscapes in VARA’s spirits and produces bottlings that he hopes inspire pride for his fellow New Mexicans.

About VARA Winery & Distillery

Founded in 2016, VARA is an Albuquerque-based urban winery and craft distillery that brings together a passionate circle of professionals who use innovative techniques to create wines and spirits that express a uniquely New Mexican point of view. VARA is inspired by New Mexico’s boundary-pushing culture and the state’s history of winemaking, which spans nearly 400 years and is as rich and storied as the region’s colorful landscapes. VARA Winery & Distillery produces still, sparkling, and fortified wines, along with brandy, gin, rum, and vodka. VARA has three tasting rooms in New Mexico: the Balloon Fiesta Park Tasting Room, located at 315 Alameda Blvd. NE; the Santa Fe Tasting Room, located at 329 W. San Francisco St; and the Nob Hill Tasting Room, located at 201 Hermosa Dr. NE. VARA’s tasting rooms offer wine and spirits flights as well as a curated selection of cocktails and tapas. Please visit varawines.com for hours of operations and reservations. 

For more information about VARA Winery & Distillery, please visit www.VARAwines.com and www.VARAspirits.com.

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