(Placitas Winery owners talk about their business model)
PLACITAS – A new winery with a tie to the ancient Anasazi is keeping up with several traditions all at once.
The Placitas Winery, located just north of NM 165 on 26 Camino De Los Pueblitos, hosts an 11,000 square foot adobe structure that doubles as an event space and wine manufacturing center depending on what level you are on.
This unique event space rests on a four acre property, which is full of vibrant fruit trees, three separate grape growing areas and a section of land where ancient Anasazi artifacts were located by an archeological team several years ago.
“It will take about three years for any wine to be ready from our vineyard as it ages in the cast,” said Placitas Winery Co-Owner Barb Belknap. “We are trying a few things right now that will make it better, but we are still in the beginning stages of that process.”
Barb is not alone in this endeavor either. She is joined by her husband Ty and son, Evan, who is also a brewer at the Bow and Arrow Brewery in Albuquerque.
Barb and her husband Ty said it took them several years for them to get the winery to this point.
“It was three years ago last April that we first moved into this property,” Ty Belknap said. “When the place went on the market we looked at the property and thought it would be a good idea to maintain it.”
Part the Belknap’s decision to purchase the winery had to do with their fond memories of their friend, the late Jim Fish, who used to own it.
“When he died it was a real shock to the community,” Barb Belknap said. “The community used to have a lot of arts and crafts festivals here and music and poetry readings and after (Fish’s) death that all went away.”
Barb Belknap said she had been a part of those events herself and took that into consideration when considering buying the property.
“I always loved coming here to the events and we didn’t want to see it die,” she said.
The fear in the community, she said, was that an out of towner would come in and buy the property and turn the structure into a house.
“At the time we moved here, our current home, Jim Fish’s old house, was not for sale,” Barb Belknap said. “So we lived in the event space for two winters without a heat or any common household amenities.”
Barb and her husband Ty said they bought a propane heater and cooked on a hot plate to make things a go until the house on their property went up for sale.
“We would kind of flip a coin to see who was going to come out and do the dishes during the winter because it was so cold,” she said.
After acquiring the house when it went up for sale, Barb said she and her family began focusing on building the vineyard back up and reopening the event space.
“We’ve already had a few events here that were successful,” Barb Belknap said. “Most of the all of the events we’ve had here were fundraisers.”
All of the events that have been and will be booked at the Placitas Winery have been private events, she said.
“I particularly like that, because it means we are kind of following in Jim Fish’s footsteps,” she said.
As for the availability of the event space, it is only open for private events, Barb Belknap said.
“We would like to revitalize this space for the community,” she said. “We would like to see some bands here and other events that help strengthen what this space was built for.”
Barb Belknap said the Placitas Winery has beer and wine available for any and all events.
“We have established relationships with many of the breweries in town and we have wine,” she said.
Although, the Placitas Winery is still working on the process of its grape wines, it already has five fruit wines that are available by the half bottle.
Currently, the Placitas Winery has a Crabapple Wine, a Pear Wine, a Wild Cherry Wine, a Pie Cherry Wine and an Apricot Wine all available for $12 a half bottle.
Barb Belknap said, the business is already prepared to do wine tastings for small gatherings.
“We are not ready to be a bar,” she said. “We just want to have an atmosphere where small groups of people can come in and enjoy our product or host a local event.”
For more information about the Placitas Winery call 505-363-5606