Vara launches two new sparkling wines

Laurent Gruet, sparkling oenologist at Vara Winery & Distillery, has launched two new sparkling wines. (Courtesy of Vara Winery & Distillery)

Sparkling selections created by renowned winemaker Laurent Gruet are part of Vara Winery & Distillery’s new offerings.

Gruet, who joined the Vara team in December 2020 as a partner and sparkling winemaker, launched Silverhead Brut NV and Silverhead Brut Rosado NV.

“Coming from Champagne, France, and making sparkling wine all my life, I believe in producing traditional method wines that are of Champagne quality,” Gruet said in a press release. “The Silverhead Brut and Silverhead Brut Rosado exemplify what I favor in sparkling wines – high acidity and striking purity of fruit.”

Silverhead Brut NV (Non-Vintage) is made from 72% Chardonnay and 3% Syrah from Washington State’s Ancient Lakes AVA (American Viticulture Area), and 25% Xarel-lo/Macabeo, of the Alt Penedès DO (denomination of origin) of Spain. Silverhead Brut Rosado NV is made from 75% Syrah and 25% Chardonnay from Washington’s Ancient Lakes AVA. Both wines are produced in the classic Método Tradicional style, according to the release.

Silverhead Brut and Silverhead Brut Rosado are available at the Vara Tasting Room, 315 Alameda Blvd. NE, as well as for purchase on

Gruet has more than 40 sparkling wine harvests to his credit. He “creatively confuses expectations and traditional rules” to produce sparkling wines by blending grapes from Spain, Washington and California to create truly exceptional cuvées.

“At Vara, the sky is the limit and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Spanish varieties for the first time to create the best possible wine,” Gruet said in the press release.

Developing good relationships with winemakers is crucial to producing great wine.

“The key to success in sourcing and blending high-quality grapes such as xarel-lo and macabeo from Spain and chardonnay from the United States is having incredibly strong relationships with growers,” according to Gruet. “We have had relationships for many years with our growers in New Mexico, California, Washington and Spain, and they understand exactly what we want. Agricultural practices throughout the season, timing of harvest and gentle hand picking are crucial to producing sparkling wines that are as close to perfection as possible.

Vara is inspired by the history of wine in New Mexico, which began in 1629. American wine production began with Spanish missionaries who passed through New Mexico on their way to California.

“Vara’s wines are sourced from all three locations and are intentionally blended to create cuvées beyond the norm using innovative techniques,” according to the press release. “…Vara’s goal is to embrace diversity and create delicious wines and spirits that are greater than the sum of their parts.”

Wines, brandy, gin and rum are produced by the Vara team made up of the bubbly Laurent Gruet; winemakers Bob Lindquist and Louisa Sawyer Lindquist; head distiller Scott Feuille; and assistant winemaker and distiller Djuna Benjamin. Its wines and spirits are made at its full production facility located on Alameda Boulevard NE. Soon, Vara wines and spirits will also be available at its new Vara Vinoteca tasting room in Santa Fe. It is tentatively scheduled to open in late October 2022.

About Michael Brafford

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