A Toast to SocorroFest

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This year’s Socorrofest showcased a set of brewers and vintners from across New Mexico. Some were visiting Socorro for the first time. Others were regular guests. All four were met with positive receptions and eager customers.

Elva K. Osterreich/ El Defensor Chieftain: Jennifer Gonzales with Socorro Visitors Bureau welcomes SocorroFest attendees to the spirit tent Friday night.

Hailing from Placitas, Anasazi Fields specializes in fruit wines and fruit-grape hybrid wine. Established from 1993 through 1995, the winery is run as a co-op under head Vintner Jim Fish. According to employee Lynsey Horcasitas, they are interested in selling their wines in Socorro.

Horcasitas said their sales at Socorrofest were good. Their most popular wines wire the Rojo Seco and the American Cranberry. The former is a combination of a 2009 Syrah – a French-style wine made from the same grape as the Australian Shiraz, vinted for a higher tannin content – and a 2009 cherry wine. The latter is made entirely from cranberries, though it is served as a warmed, mulled wine or mixed with sparkling wine as well as on its own. Horcasitas said the sparkling wine mixture was very popular around brunch, while the warmed wine grew popular as evening set in and things cooled down.

St. Clair Vineyards from the Mimbres Valley near Deming were the largest company present. Employing around 100 people across the nation, St. Clair has bistros in Albuquerque, Farmington and Las Cruces. Their wines are sold nation-wide and include the Blue Teal imprint, Plum Loco, and a bottled mimosa.

This trip to Socorro, they were previewing three new variations on their mimosa. The first and most popular seller is a mango mimosa. They also had a pomegranate mimosa and an orange/pineapple mimosa. None of these are on sale to the public, yet – St. Clair Vineyards is touring them across local festivals, such as Socorrofest, until their release later this year.

Wine isn’t the only thing that came to Socorro from Deming. The Mimbres Valley Brewing Company brought four beers with them: their new black lager, a pumpkin ale, an apricot wheat ale and their hoppy Pancho Villa stout. All four beers sold well according to co-owner Amy Reedy.

Recently, Reedy and her husband, Brian, opened a taproom in Las Cruces, which serves several of their beers and a selection of St. Clair wines. Reedy said they are talking to both Bodega Burger Co. and the Capitol Bar about getting their brews on tap, pending their mass distribution license.

From Rio Rancho came the Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, represented by its manager, Adam Galarneau, and his array of beers. Galarneau brought six beers down, serving pints from a four-tap rig in the shell of an old mini-keg. The selection consisted of Cabo lager, a cherry wheat ale, a Batman-themed stout, a brown ale brewed to accompany pork, a pumpkin brown ale, and an IPA. By Saturday night, the stout and the IPA were nowhere to be seen. Galarneau said he’d heard of Socorrofest before and decided to “check it out” with an array of beers.

Something interrupted the relaxed Saturday night with a distorted cacophony. An old Slayer riff tore through the air accompanied by the all-too-appropriate smell of something burning. In front of the historic Plaza pavilion, a young woman stood spinning balls of fire around her, twirling and dancing. Her five-minute routine was met by thunderous applause.

She is Emily Woolsy, a Mississippi native and New Mexico Tech hydrology graduate student. She spins fire poi and has done so for two years. Woolsy and a friend practiced spinning with tennis balls for a while before ordering proper fire poi. While Socorrofest wasn’t her first public performance, it was her largest.

Originally, Woolsy planned on spinning to a song by Tom Waits. After a practice session, her grandmother said the song was too slow. So why Slayer’s “Angel of Death”?

“Socorro needed some metal,” said Woolsy.