Meet The Team
Kenneth & Denise Stark
Owners, La Viña Winery
Any cook will tell you that you cannot make great preserves with over-ripe, green or rotten fruit. Winemakers say the same thing about making great wine. Hand thinning half of the grapes, controlling fungal diseases with spraying every two weeks, covering the entire vineyard with netting to protect from bird damage to the fruit…these are all necessary to produce grape quality to make great wine. Quality begins in the vineyard and we try to take the right steps to produce great wines that will be enjoyed by visitors to our winery.
Business Manager, La Viña Winery
Luz grew up surrounded by vineyards in San Javier, Chile, a small town in the middle of the Maule Valley, the largest wine-producing region in Chile. Luz fell in love with wine and she began working in a winery, while attending the Technological University of Chile, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. After 8 years of experience in wine hospitality in Chile, Luz joined La Viña’s team in direct sales, hospitality, and marketing in 2007. Friendly service makes the entire wine tasting experience more memorable. Luz excels in making her customers feel at home and is successful in introducing Mesilla Valley wines. She has built friendships that encourage return visits to the winery and makes every visitor feel special. Luz is passionate about her livelihood which includes friendly conversation with a glass of wine.
Winemaker, La Viña Winery
Guillermo Contador is a Chilean Winemaker who joined us in 2007. He was born and raised in a city called Viña del Mar (Vineyard of the Sea). He attended the University of Chile to study Oenology after obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering at the Catholic University of Valparaiso. Guillermo has an extensive background in different wineries in Chile, California and South Africa. Guillermo says, “The winemaker has the unique opportunity to bottle artistry, creativity and a passion for science and life. That blend is meant to be enjoyed and shared with family and friends”. Guillermo is excited to continuing learning and discovering the potential of the Mesilla Valley to create a unique expression of our wines.
Vineyard Manager, La Viña Winery
Jose Ruiz joined us in 2005 as our Vineyard Manager. He had worked in vineyard management for more than 27 years. Jose started working in California in 1978 and then moved to Menard, Lubbock and Dell City in Texas before coming to La Viña Winery. Jose says, “Viticulture is a committed combination of skill and imagination. The results you will see in vine health and grape quality over a long term period of time. If you take proper care of the irrigation, fertilization and pruning, the vine will take good care of you”. With his experience, ingenuity and imagination Jose takes care of our 22 different wine varieties to make them the best expression of our Mesilla Valley soil water and climate.