Juan de Oñate received permission from the King of Spain to conduct the first colonization expedition far into the interior of what is today New Mexico, 1,500 miles away. Departing Zacatecas, the Oñate Expedition passed through the dry Chihuahuan Desert and crossed the Rio Grande at today’s El Paso in early 1598. Oñate continued through the Jornada del Muerto desert to the San Juan Pueblo, declaring it the capitol of New Spain, then to Santa Fe in 1603.
For 300 years, El Camino Real was the only road into New Mexico and the Southwest, bringing thousands of settlers from Mexico and Spain into the region. Even the famed Santa Fe Trail did not come along until 1821, connecting New Mexico to the United States for the first time. This is why so many of the people in New Mexico today are of early Mexican or Spanish decent. It was their ancestors that settled along the Rio Grande by way of the long, dusty trail called El Camino Real.
El Camino Real began to wane in the mid-1880s with the arrival of the railroad, transporting people and supplies along the Rio Grande in hours that used to take weeks. As a result, most historians cite the use of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro was from 1598 through 1885. However, in the early 1900s, automobiles traveled El Camino Real, serving as the first highway from El Paso to Santa Fe, restoring life to the old trail for a short time.
Interstate highways I-10 and I-25, from El Paso to Santa Fe, is today’s El Camino Real, closely following the route of the historic trail – except between Las Cruces and Socorro, I-25 follows the Rio Grande, rather than the 90-mile waterless shortcut through the Jornada del Muerto. (Source: Camino Real Heritage.org)
Jon and Dolores Chavez founded Camino Real Winery on December 15, 2012. Once known for vast wine production in the Valencia valley (Rio Abajo). Jon and Dolores Chavez founders of Camino Real Winery, bring this tradition back to valley as wine once was.
Camino Real Winery sits on four acres just below the historic Tome Hill. Jon, seasoned wine maker of 12 years, knew the importance of blending history with variety.
Camino Real Winery captures the very essence of this tradition, as it is located below the hill itself, a valley historically known for the harvesting of some of the best mission wine grapes of long ago. Camino Real Winery takes that taste long lost from its origin and blends some of the best varieties of dry and sweet wines with grapes harvested right from this very soil.
The rich history of the area was the inspiration behind the wine label, painted by Carla Sanchez of Tome, which depicts a caravan transporting wine along the Camino Real to missions to the north.
In addition to producing a diverse selection of quality New Mexico wines, one of Camino Real’s secondary goals is to promote growth and tourism to Valencia County.
Camino Real’s dedication to helping others in the community has always been very important to Chavez family and to everyone who works at Camino Real Winery. Here are some of the local events where Camino Real has proudly participated:
VALENCIA MIDDLE SCHOOL CHECKERED FLAG SPONSOR