Young winemakers in New Mexico are leveraging the wisdom of the region’s winegrowing founding fathers and creating some buzz for the state’s expanding industry. One of whom is Ruidoso native Jasper Riddle whose Noisy Water Wine Co. sources fruit from no less than eight different vineyards and often more from sites focused in the northern regions of the state. “We champion the fruit of local growers,” he said and in doing so he’s found a ready local market for his wines. Riddle is a fifth-generation farmer and winemaker who bought Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso in 2010. He credits his Italian heritage and early exposure to wine culture by his sommelier father for helping him dial in his passion for wine.
“2018 was good for us with new vineyards coming online. However, we did see a late freeze after bud break in the Las Cruces area and that reduced yields there by 70 percent at some sites.” Riddle who finished his tenth harvest in 2018 said he crushed about 200 tons of fruit in 2018. A native of Ruidoso which is north-east of Las Cruces, he works with more than 30 grape varieties and bottles more than 40 types of wine including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, blends and popular Hatch chile-flavored wines.
Riddle is on the move and his success hasn’t gone unnoticed. He has doubled the size of his existing 6,000-sq. foot winery facility and has a string of tasting rooms across the state that are thriving. The company has six locations in four cities and employs 44 people with plans to hire ten more. Currently producing 25,000 cases the winery ison track to reach its goal of 100,000 cases by 2024. Earlier this year he was named “New Mexico Small Business Person of the Year” by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Noisy Water produces both dry and sweet wines styles with off dry being the larger market. Riddle is absolutely catering to a clientele that includes Texans who prefer sweeter styles and enjoy the nearby Ski Apache resort.The snow-covered slopes of the Sierra Blanca can be seen as visitors wind their way up the mountain to the winery’s tasting room and solar-powered event barn.
See the full feature on New Mexico on the refreshed www.SOMMJournal.com website in February 2019.