Coming in August

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By Arin McKenna



Los Alamos residents and visitors will soon be able to while away an afternoon sipping wine and nibbling on tapas or chocolate at The Wine Room in Central Park Square. 

Three New Mexico wineries are partners in the venture: Black’s Smuggler Winery in Bosque, Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas and Vivác Winery in Dixon. 

Black’s Smuggler is owned by Tony Black, Anasazi Fields by Jim Fish, and Vivác by brothers Jesse and Chris Padberg and their wives, Michele and Liliana Padberg, respectively.

The owners were three of five wineries that responded to a letter issued by the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation, seeking those interested in participating in a joint venture. 

Black said the synergy between the three companies bodes well for the venture. 

“I think we have a very, very cohesive group. I would say that when all three of you are working together toward the same goal, it works very, very well,” Black said. “We’ve come to consensus on a lot of items very quickly.”

The Los Alamos County Council approved The Wine Room’s application for a liquor license on June 27. Black anticipates receiving the state-issued letter of approval within two weeks. 

All the necessary paperwork for a permit to remodel the premises at 145 Central Park Square has been completed, and Black expects to have the permit in hand any day. 

Black anticipates 35 to 45 days after the permit is issued to ready the premises for business, and estimates the doors will open in mid-August. 

The group chose The Wine Room as a working title to get applications under way, but is in the process of finalizing a name for the venture. “Unquarked” is topping the list.

The owners liked the play on the word “uncorked” and the link to the scientific community. Black said it was also appropriate because the six different types of quarks are known as “flavors” and each winery will bring its distinctive blend of flavors to the mix. 

Black’s features grape varieties that grow well in Central New Mexico, including two unusual hybrids: Chambourcin and Brianna.

Anasazi produces grape-based wines, but its specialty is dry table wines from fruits and berries other than grapes, such as plums, apricots, peach and blackberry. They also offer an off-dry cranberry wine for the holiday season.

Vivác is noted for their Italian varietals, including many grown in their organic Fire Vineyard. The winery earned the title of “Highest Rated Red Wine Producer in New Mexico’s History” in Wine Enthusiast Magazine and Sunset Magazine called it the “Winery to discover now.” 

“So I think we’re all providing a good variety to the community that will give them a good mix,” Black said. 

“We’re trying to mix it up a little bit, not doing the standard traditional wines that people are used to.”

Customers will be able to sample flights from individual wineries or flights of particular types of wine, such as dry reds, from all three. Wine will be for sale by the glass or by the bottle. 

The Wine Room will also offer finger food such as tapas, cheeses, chocolates and deserts. 

Michele and Liliana Padberg, who create “Kissable Cheeses” and hand made Ek.chuah chocolates, respectively, have yet to decide whether they can gear up production enough to offer those on the menu. 

“It’s so challenging to keep those in stock just at Vivác, we don’t even offer them at our Santa Fe tasting room,” Michele said, adding that they may focus on getting the tasting room open at present and then add those items at a later date. 

In the meantime, the owners have interviewed two local caterers about offerings that would pair well with wine.

The owners plan to make space available for special events, in addition to planning some of their own.

“We’ve chatted with a couple of different people that are interested,” Black said. 

“One of them is a wine connoisseur in the area who wants to maybe introduce classes again on wine appreciation.”

Each winery has committed to having winemakers and owners onsite one weekend a month. 

Plans are also being made to host guest speakers and other activities in conjunction with major county events. 

All three wineries are adept at social media, and plan to use that as a key resource for getting word out about the new venture, and to review other possible marketing venues with their operations manager.

Black expects good business despite being located away from a main thoroughfare.

“With all the support that we’re getting from the community, I think we have a very good, strong location. So I’m very happy with the site,” Black said. “I know the community’s doing a lot to help and to support us. I think it’s going to do well.”