Sabinal

It takes a lot of work to run a vineyard and even more to make a decent wine just ask the folks at Sisneros-Torres Vineyards in Bosque.

Producing hundreds of tons of grapes each year, the vineyard supplies wineries around the state with grapes and makes its own Evita Wines.

“It’s constant work,” said Raymond Sisneros, who owns and runs the vineyard along with his daughter, Bertha Torres.

Sisneros has previous experience with growing grapes and making wine.

As a young man, he grew grapes and, since his father disapproved of alcohol, Sisneros secretly fermented the fruit in his bedroom closet to make wine.

When Sisneros served in the military during World War II, he visited numerous vineyards in Italy and Spain. It was this that served as his inspiration to later have a vineyard of his own.

Sisneros said he decided to run the vineyard and winery after he retired and “didn’t have enough to do.”

He certainly hasn’t been faced with boredom these days. Since the family purchased the vineyard in 1995, it has been year-round work.

“We start before sunup and work all day,” Sisneros said.

Different times of year mean different types of work to do on the land. The process starts in January, when the vines require pruning.

“They have to be pruned to keep the grapes at their top capacity,” he said.

This is done until early April, when irrigating and fertilizing begin. After that comes removal of weeds and more pruning.

Finally, in mid-July, the grapes begin to ripen, and, in August and September, it’s time to harvest.

The vineyard produces both red and white grapes, with about 35 acres of vines for each kind of grape.

Most of the grapes are sold to other New Mexico wineries, but Sisneros said he keeps enough grapes to process about 10,000 gallons of wine at his own winery.

Evita Wines makes several different types of wine. Among their red wines is the silver-medal-winning Supremo, a dry red wine that also won the people’s choice award at the Bernalillo wine festival; and a bronze-medal-award-winning sweet wine called Vino Nativo.

Sisneros and Torres take their wine all over the state to different wine festivals and even host their own festival at the vineyard in August.

With arts and crafts, lots of wine, food and even a grape-stomping contest, this year’s festival will be on Aug. 3 and 4.

Sisneros said that, though it’s hard work, he really enjoys running the vineyard and winery. His favorite parts of the job are meeting people from around the world who visit the vineyard and, of course, taste-testing all the wines.

Evita Wines are available in stores across the state, especially in the Valencia County area. Wal-Mart recently began carrying the wines, and the product has also become available at numerous other grocery and liquor vendors in the area.

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Julia Selby Smith