NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  New Mexico wine has been around for nearly 400 years and now a lawmaker is proposing legislation that will financially help wineries grow more grapes to produce more wine. Sponsored by Republican state Senator Crystal Diamond, Senate Bill 199 will help provide direct financial assistance to allow vineyards to produce more grapes for wine making.

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“At one time New Mexico was a lead grower of grapes, we had over 3,000 acres of vineyards and unfortunately today we have just under 900 acres in production,” Senator Diamond shares.

The bill looks at using 2 million dollars in federal relief funds to increase vineyard acreage by 400 hundred acres. The money will be administered by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. It will fund and provide feedstock for the production of wine by New Mexico wineries. Over recent years there has been a negative impact on the winemaking industry ranging from droughts, diseases, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have a shortage in labor, we have our big wine festivals closed down and our storefronts were closed,” Senator Diamond explains. “Now this appropriation is supposed to incentivize and support our grape growers and winemakers and increase the number of acreages and get New Mexico back on track.”

Senator Diamond continues to say the state of New Mexico will see a long-term return on that investment over the years if we invest in our winemakers. 

Senate Bill 199 unanimously passed in the conservation committee and now moves onto the finance committee. Senator Diamond estimates with an expansion of these 400 hundred vineyard acres, the state could see 25 million dollars in gross revenue from the wine industry, in one year alone.