Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Vara Vinoteca Opens in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Bringing Locally Crafted Fine Wine and Cocktails to the Forefront of the City’s Vibrant Culinary Scene

(Nov. 4, 2022; Albuquerque, NM)—Embracing the birthplace of the American Wine Trail, Albuquerque-based Vara Winery & Distillery has opened Vara Vinoteca just steps away from the historic Santa Fe Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Housed in an adobe-style building located at 329 W San Francisco St., Vara Vinoteca melds traditional Southwestern architecture with modern interiors and an elevated wine and cocktail program like none other in the city. Small-production, locally-crafted still and sparkling wines made by Vara’s famed artisan winemakers and partners—Laurent Gruet, Bob Lindquist and Louisa Sawyer Lindquist—are inspired by the juxtaposition of Old World and New, while innovative cocktails made with Vara’s Mediterranean-inspired Spirits by Head Distiller Scott Feuille and Assistant Distiller Djuna Benjamin offer a mixology experience that is unique to Vara.

Designed by architect Scharles Wilder of Scharles Wilder Design, the Vinoteca welcomes locals and travelers to a sophisticated, relaxed space with an artistic ambiance and one of the most diverse selections of locally made vermuts, aperitifs, wines and spirits. Sparkling wines include Laurent Gruet’s debut Vara American Silverhead Brut NV and American Brut Rosado NV, and Spanish-varietal still wines include the Vara Albariño, Vara Garnacha and Vara Tempranillo. Vara’s lineup of wines is available by the glass ($9-$18), by the flight ($14) or by the bottle ($21-$57). For the history buff or curious taster, the menu also includes Vara’s heritage project, Viña Cardinal, an aperitif made from 100% New Mexican Listán Prieto grapes. Listán Prieto was the first wine grape variety to be planted in North America by Spanish missionaries in 1629 and continues to grow in the Rio Grande Valley.

The menu also features award-winning spirits, including the Vara High Desert Gin, which was recently named the Best American Signature Botanical Gin by the World Gin Awards. Spirits are available straight ($9-$13), in flights ($14-$15) or in a wide variety of signature and seasonal cocktails ($14) crafted by manager and mixologist Jared Reeder. Signature cocktails include the High Desert Martini, featuring Vara’s High Desert Gin, Vermut Seco and a splash of lemon; the Astral Walker, featuring Vara’s Rum Blanco, Vermut Añejo, Silverhead Brut Cava and grapefruit oleo; and the Diamond Dancer Spritz, featuring the 2019 Vara Malvasia, Vara Vermut Seco, lemon and soda.

“Just as Vara’s winemaking team synthesizes boundary-breaking techniques with the wine legacies of some of the most historically significant regions, so too does the Vara Vinoteca highlight the juxtaposition of old and new with its contemporary black-and-white interior and classic Santa Fe exterior,” says Hospitality Operations Director Sean Holler. “Whether honoring ‘La Hora de Vermut,’ the Madrid tradition of a late-afternoon refreshment, or stopping in before dinner or a show, we are excited to welcome a new audience to experience everything Vara has to offer.”

Cheese and charcuterie plates are currently offered ($22). An expanded culinary program will be unveiled at a later date.

Vara Vinoteca accommodates 30 guests seated indoors, with an additional seven spots at the bar and 16 seats on the outdoor patio. Hours are 11 am-7 pm Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, and 11 am-9 pm Friday and Saturday. Vara Vinoteca is closed on Mondays. walk-ins are welcome; no reservations are required at this time. To contact Vara Vinoteca directly, call (505) 898-6280.

About Vara Winery & Distillery

Conceptualized with the first release in 2016, Albuquerque-based Vara Winery & Distillery at once embraces and defies tradition, making it one of the most disruptive and exciting producers in the United States today. As a circle of professionals who are masters of their respective crafts and who have both witnessed and shaped the American beverage landscape, the Vara team is united and impassioned by the prospect of breaking boundaries and creating something entirely new. Vara is inspired by the wine history in New Mexico, which started in 1629 and is as rich, diverse and storied as the region’s colorful landscapes. The road to American wine began with Spanish missionaries who came through New Mexico to California. Thus, Vara wines are sourced from all three places and are intentionally blended to create beyond-standard cuvees using innovative techniques. At Vara, a melding of varieties and sources focuses not on what wine should be, but on what wine can become. The goal at Vara is to embrace diversity and make wines and spirits that are delicious and greater than the sum of their parts. Vara Winery & Distillery produces still, sparkling, fortified wines, brandy, gin and rum. Vara’s tasting room in Albuquerque offers education classes and curated small plates.

For more information about Vara Winery & Distillery, please visit www.varawines.com and www.varaspirits.com. For more information about the Vara Vinoteca, please visit https://varawines.com/santa-fe/.

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