If you’re looking for a relaxing patio party with live music near Las Cruces, look no further than Sombra Antigua Winery in Anthony, New Mexico.
For thousands in the Mesilla Valley of Southern New Mexico, it’s a comfortable way to while away a couple of hours in a beautiful outdoor setting on weekend afternoon.
But I’ve got a backyard, you say. What makes this place worth driving to?
Well, for one thing, Sombra Antigua Winery is in the boonies.
So never mind if you start out for Sombra Antigua on the I-10, speeding and stressed. You’ll end your trip by meandering through miles of farmland: pecan groves, pumpkin patches, and, finally, lush cornfields.
Click, click. That’s the sound of your blood pressure going down with every curve in the road.
You’d never guess there was a patio party happening on the other side of that cornfield.
For another thing, at the end of all that corn is a jewel of a wine vineyard.
I say jewel because:
- The 14-acre plot Sombra Antigua commands is small compared to some other New Mexico wine vineyards, yet the quality of their wines is high.
- It’s beautiful to look at, and
- We tend to prize jewels for how beautiful they make us feel when we’re wearing them. And for many people as far north as Las Cruces and as far south as El Paso, Sombra Antigua is their feel-good getaway.
Who’s at this feel-good patio party and what are they up to?
You’ll find at least a hundred of them at the Winery on any given weekend. Some indoors, enjoying conversation around the bar. But most outside, sitting in two’s or three’s, around umbrella-covered tables on the lawn.
They’re talking, sipping, and, with the right song, singing along with whoever is behind the microphone.
Daisy Blue, a singer-guitarist from Las Cruces, was doing the honors the day I dropped by. She was strumming her guitar and singing a country tune as we sat down at one of the tables on the concrete patio.
We had a good time watching her sing “my man done left me” type blues songs one moment and tell funny stories in the next.
I felt at ease from minute one.
Now, sure, the fans whirring above our table keeping us cool that late August day had a little something to do with it.
But mostly it was the atmosphere, lazy sweet all around. We and all those other people we didn’t know had something fundamental in common:
an appetite for music, fun with friends and a cool drink on a Sunday afternoon.
Very soon we broke out the lunches we had brought with us. (You’re welcome to bring your own snacks.) Then we went inside to purchase ice cold bottles of water and soft drinks from the bar.
That Sombra Antigua doesn’t push you to buy their own product is one of the things I like best about the winery. After all, it is a winery that makes some very tasty wines.
But these patio party afternoons are more about building community than just selling vino.
Sombra Antigua is the dream of David Fisher made a reality. When the former engineer and his wife, Theresa, also a former engineer decided to buy acreage in the Mesilla Valley years ago, he knew he wanted to build a good winery.
Now the original five acres have grown to fourteen. And Sombra Antigua has become a gathering place as well as a thriving vineyard. It’s become a favorite go-to place for people from Las Cruces, El Paso ~ many who visit as part of a tour group ~ as well as Vado and Anthony locals.
Weekend patio parties happen year-round at Sombra Antigua.
One takes place on every Saturday and Sunday, with rare exception.
The winery also hosts group sleep-overs with breakfast now and then. On those occasions, the Winery becomes a bed and breakfast, of sorts, where the bed is you in your sleeping bag wherever you find a clear space on the covered patio.
Sombra Antigua also provides space for special events such as school reunions ~ and weddings.
That’s when the vine-covered walkway becomes the processional path for the bridal party ~
~ and the lawn becomes a seating area and then, after the ceremony, a dance floor.
And oh yeah, Sombra Antigua sells bottles of wine year-round, too.
When it’s time to leave the patio party, take the long way home.
On this particular afternoon, I decided to buy another bottle of water for the trip back home.
I figure, if my little 50 cents (that’s the cost per bottle of water) helps keep the winery open for more nearly perfect New Mexico afternoons, I’m all in. It’s a tiny price to pay to hang out with others who have the same let’s relax and enjoy mindset.
Both L. and I felt so relaxed and unhurried and we wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.
You’ll likely feel the same way after attending a patio party at Sombra Antigua. So, if your destination is north of Anthony, do what we did as we left the winery:
Forget the I-10 and take the long way home.
Once you clear the cornfield, turn left onto Highway 28. Then keep straight al the way for Las Cruces. The sights along the way make this a jewel of a scenic drive, an appropriate way to wind up a visit to a jewel of a vineyard.
Where is your favorite place to go with friends to listen to music outdoors? Share in the comments below.