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Luna Rossa Winery: Sip the Southwest

By Allison Wilson

No trip through the wine trails of Southwestern New Mexico would be complete without a stop at Luna Rossa Winery near Deming in Mimbres Valley. The award-winning vineyard has a great selection of wines made from 100 percent New Mexico-grown grapes, a charming tasting room where the samples are free, and passionate owners who love to share their story and expertise with guests.

One of the state's newest wineries, Luna Rossa was founded in 2001 by Paolo and Sylvia D'Andrea. Paolo is a fourth generation Italian wine grower who came to New Mexico in 1986. He was inspired by the challenge of growing grapes in New Mexico's desert climate, and Luna Rossa is proof that it can be done.

"In this area, it is a challenge to grow grapes, but the difference in temperature between night and day improves the quality of the wine," says Paolo. "I was raised growing grapes and wine making. When I make wine I feel like an artist because wine is truly an art."

That art has earned Paolo some very prestigious awards. Most recently, Luna Rossa took home six medals at the 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, with the 2008 Reserve Nebbiolo winning Gold; Silver medals for the 2013 Moscato, 2012 Tempranillo and 2009 Reserve Aglianico; and Bronze medals for the 2012 Sangiovese and 2007 Reserve Barbera. Luna Rossa patrons have high praise for the winery's reds as well.

"I like to drink our signature wine named NINI," Paolo says. "It is my first wine I made here in the US. It is a blend of five Italian grapes. It has Nebbiolo, Refosco, Sangiovese, Barbera, and Dolcetto grapes in it, making it a dry smooth red wine. It's an enjoyable wine to drink among friends while watching the wonderful sunset of the Southwest."

The beautiful scenery and relaxed atmosphere at Luna Rossa also make it a great venue to host events. For indoor parties, the space can accommodate 80 people for full service - 130 with no seating - with 15 banquet tables, linens and chair covers, buffet style meals, dinnerware and silverware, wine glasses and a chocolate fountain. The courtyard can accommodate 150 people for special events as well.

Luna Rossa has a second location on Avenida de Mesilla in Las Cruces, where they run a pizzeria. They bring pizza into their Deming location every Tuesday for a special pizza night from 4-8 p.m. You can sample favorites like Margherita, Messicana, Salsiccia and more, but make sure you save room for the home-made Gelato.

The Deming tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The Mesilla pizzeria is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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