Our Story

 
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Vara is an international family of Spanish and American wines celebrating the origins of the American wine experience thanks to the historical connection of Spain and New Mexico.

 
 
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Vinifera in the New World

In 1629, 140 years before the first Missions of California were established and planted, a Franciscan friar named García de Zúñiga and a Capuchín monk named Antonio de Arteaga planted the first European wine grapes in what is now the U.S. at a pueblo in the Rio Grande Valley of the Province of New Mexico.

Viticulture took hold in the valley, and by the year 1880 the New Mexico territory was the fifth largest wine producer in America. The cuttings brought to the new world by missionaries from Spain were of a Vitis Vinifera grape variety known as Listán Prieto, or the present day Mission grape. This variety has been continuously grown and is still harvested in New Mexico today. 

1620 ~ Canes of Sovereignty ~ 1863

Vara is a Spanish word meaning cane. Throughout history the presentation of this symbolic instrument from one authority to another was an acknowledgement of sovereignty.

In 1620 the Indian Pueblos in the Province of New Mexico were presented the Vara de Soberanía, Cane of Sovereignty, by King Philip III of Spain. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued engraved canes to each of the same 19 New Mexico Pueblos as recognition of their real property ownership and right to self-governance. Today these canes are revered by the Pueblo people as physical and living reminders of their Pueblos’ natural authority.

 
 
 

Spanish Wines

VARA is proud to produce and present a selection of fine Spanish table wines from the prestigious vineyards of the Rioja D.O.Ca, and a supremely joyous and festive Cava Método Tradicional from the Alt Penedès.    

Our wines from Rioja are each made as 100% varietals that are grown for individual perfection among the unique settings of the Ebro River and the more arid and higher elevations of the foothills of the Sierra de Yerga in the Rioja Baja. This area has a remarkably similar topography, climate and feel as that of some of New Mexico’s most choice vineyard locations.

The Cava is no less than a simple statement of excellence produced via the elaborate and precise Método Tradicional practices, and from the classic blend of Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada grapes all ripened just to perfection in the vineyards of the Alt Penedès. The two year process rewards with a rich expression of flavor and finesse released naturally by a steady stream of gloriously fine bubbles.

 
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American Wines

With a salute to their Spanish heritage, it is a privilege to be able to present this remarkable class of VARA American red and white table wines.

Under the direction of our winemaker, Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, we are acquiring fruit from the highest quality growers of Spanish grape varieties in the U.S. The harvested fruit will be brought to our New Mexico facility where the wines are made and aged in individual lots until the team assembles the final cuvees.

The grape varieties used in these unique blends have been selected to present wines of rewarding aromas and great depths of flavor with a luxurious texture and finish. The result is the establishment of a new class and standard for American table wines, designed to epitomize fine Spanish red and white table wines and flawlessly accompany a very broad range of cuisines and occasions.

 
 
  Xavier Zamarripa , Co-Founder  Doug Diefenthaler , Co-Founder

Xavier Zamarripa, Co-Founder
Doug Diefenthaler, Co-Founder