By Riccardo Barraza
Hidden in the Shadows of the Past is a dynamic winery that’s tough to call new. Sombra Antigua literally means Ancient Shadow and this vineyard is right in the heart of the past vineyards of the Mesilla Valley. Dave and Theresa Fisher have their hearts and vines thriving in what used to be vineyards belonging to some of the oldest wineries in the valley. Those vintners have long since abandoned this land to be closer to the main roads and highways of southern New Mexico. But just a few hundred yards from an original stage coach stop and the Real Camino Real is Sombra Antigua.
Family and friends have followed Dave and Theresa, the career engineers from the University of Texas at El Paso and New Mexico State to the winery where the festivals are more like parties and fiestas. “One of the biggest wine festivals we have is our birthday party. The other is our opening anniversary party!” says Theresa Fisher who along with David, their son and daughter and their spouses live near the winery and work there nearly every day, even though they’re open Wednesday through Sunday. “We’re always around the winery doing something and we don’t mind opening up for visitors and friends who drop by,” says Theresa, “it’s almost impossible to arrive too early or stay too late.”
The weekends are always a wine- party. Bands, food trucks, even a farmer’s market crop up, but it’s the wines that make the trip from El Paso or Las Cruces well-worth it. The Malbec is complex and superb, the red Zinfandel- divine. Even the Red and White Table wines have fans buying them by the case. “We’re a boutique winery. Our wines are only available in limited amounts and only at the winery. Our “blends” are really “Our Blends.” Our award winning Theresa’s Blend is a bringing together of our Dolcetto and Tempranillo. Just the way Theresa herself designed it.”
It’s been one-task after another. First there are the vines and the winery, then all the buildings needed for the grapes and the equipment. It’s amazing all that goes into a winery. “Our son, Chris does all the graphic-art work from the designing the logo and the labels on each bottle of wine, to the paintings hanging in the winery. Our grandkids even chip in. Dakota struggles every weekend to put up all the shade tends and garden chairs for our guests and he also helps create each week’s newsletter. Cleaning up is a never ending job that Geronimo and Lauren help with,” adds Dave. Wine education is so important and Ehran and Gabby do a great job. Tasting is one thing, but knowing what you taste is another and both Gabby and Ehran are a great help.
And the future is even brighter. “As I said our wines are limited and soon, we’re coming out with a wonderful white we’ll call Desert Rain. A special blend of various white wines, it will have crisp sweetness that makes one think of the first rain in the desert. We will also release a special blend of Malbec and Barbera.
In addition, a recent change in New Mexico’s laws means that New Mexico wineries and breweries can sell each other products; there will soon be a craft beer available for those tag-alongs who insist they don’t like wine.
Established in 2008 and opening in 2012, Sombra Antigua has steadily built a loyal group of customers from El Paso, Las Cruces, Fort Bliss, Mexico and points elsewhere. Whether it’s the shaded porch with its misting system or the “barefoot grass” or the roses, there is always something for everyone. Children and pets are welcome and the winery even has its own toy box. With one of the area’s best selections of musicians on Saturdays and Sundays, many people just relax and spend the afternoon.
The winery is also a much sought after venue for weddings, graduation and birthday parties, book signings and album releases.
Take a leisurely drive up Highway 28 to mile marker 8-1/2 and follow the dirt road to one of the hidden gems of the valley; Sombra Antigua Winery.
Sombra Antigua Winery, 430 La Vina Rd, Anthony, NM 88021. Phone 915-241-4349. Follow us on Facebook.