5 Fun Facts about Grapes and Wine

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

While most people associate fall with pumpkin spice and apple cider, we associate it with our two favorite things… WINE and PISTACHIOS!

Did you know that early fall is the harvest season for New Mexican grapes? Typically, harvest starts in late August and extends into October. Grapes are harvested at different times, depending on which wines they are used for making. For example, grapes used for sparkling wine are harvested earliest. Then grapes for whites like Chardonnay and Riesling are harvested. Finally, the more robust reds like Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested last. If you want to learn more about our wine grape harvest, check out our blog post on the subject!

In honor of harvest season, here are a few fun facts you may not have known about grapes and wine!

1. Wine grapes and snacking grapes are different!

Many new wine drinkers don’t realize that the grapes we use for wine are not the same grapes you buy in the store to eat! What we use to make wine is an entirely different species of grape! There are many notable differences from skin thickness to sweetness and even the grape’s size. The big takeaway is don’t try to crush the store-bought ones and make them into wine because you will be disappointed.

2. There are 10,000 varieties of wine grapes existing worldwide.

Not only are different types of grapes for eating and winemaking, but there are also thousands of varieties of just wine grapes! Why so many? Different grapes give us different flavor profiles, bodies, and colors. That gives us so much to love!

3. It takes A LOT of grapes to make wine!

How many? Well, it depends on the grapes! Grapes grow in clusters, and there are typically 70-100 grapes in each cluster. Each grapevine grows about 40 clusters of grapes, and usually, one vine produces ten bottles of wine. So, there are approximately 400 grapes in a single bottle of wine. Again, this is an estimation, but it puts it into a better perspective. Our vineyard currently has 24,000 vines. Can you do the math?

4. The US ranks fourth in wine production.

We produce amazing wine stateside, but there are three countries that produce even more than we do. It’s probably no surprise that Italy holds the number one spot—due to its long history of making wine. Behind them are France and Spain, with similar climates and a rich winemaking history in both countries.

5. Weather impacts the harvest of grapes

Winemakers test grapes to check their taste, pH, and sugar content to see when they are ready to harvest. Warmer weather causes them to ripen quicker, so it’s important that the grapes don’t get too warm at harvest time. Once they are pulled off the vine (either mechanically or by hand), it is essential to get the grapes from the vine to the crusher as quickly as possible. Due to the hot summer climate in New Mexico, we harvest our grapes at night when the temperatures are cooler!


So don’t forget to add grape harvest time to your list of reasons to LOVE fall! If you want to learn more about our grapes, wines, and harvesting methods, feel free to stop by for a farm tour and learn our process from start to finish!



Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.