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NMSU's Extension viticulture specialist honored for service

Bernd Maier, New Mexico State University's Extension viticulture specialist, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society. The award was given in Albuquerque last month in recognition of his contribution to New Mexico's wine industry.



Bernd Maier, New Mexico State University's Extension viticulture specialist, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society. (Courtesy photo)

Maier became the state's first Extension viticulture specialist in 2006. Since then, he has built NMSU's Extension viticulture and research program, which is tailored to the Southwest. Maier has also been a member of the New Mexico Vine and Wine Society for many years and currently serves as its vice president.

"He has really embedded the viticulture program into the university fabric," said Lora Harris, a research specialist in NMSU's Department of Extension Plant Sciences. "He's installed a climate station network and began work with NE1020, a multistate grape variety evaluation trial. He represents New Mexico wine locally, nationally and now internationally with travel to Budapest, Hungary, and Rome. He never misses the opportunity to educate people about New Mexico wine and other products."

Maier arrived in 1984 at Engle, N.M., to establish vineyards; among those were the vineyard now operated by the Gruet Winery, located in Albuquerque. He later started sparkling and still wine production near Truth or Consequences, N.M. In 1989, Maier moved to Las Cruces and began consulting on projects related to horticulture, viticulture, irrigation and frost protection. He advocated appropriate trellis systems, canopy management and varieties that thrive in the New Mexico climate. He was involved in the organization of the first Las Cruces Memorial Day Festival in Mesilla and the start of the Bernalillo Festival.