Ownership

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Jerry grew up on a farm, learning the importance of hard work at a young age. After his business career, he spent time visiting wineries in the Pacific Northwest, and apprenticed at one in Oregon. Jerry and his wife, Lynda, bought Black Mesa Winery in 2000, bringing Jerry full circle. He was the winemaker in the early years, and set the standards high for New Mexico wine. Now, on any given day, he can be seen thoroughly checking his vineyards, collaborating with his staff, sampling what's in the barrel, and giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to crazy-flavored hard apple cider concoctions. 

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Jerry Burd - Owner

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Lynda was born and raised in Denver, CO. She studied Watercolor and Graphic Arts at Rocky Mountain School of Art, San Francisco Academy of Art College, and Yavapai Community College in Arizona. Lynda designs all of the labels for the Black Mesa Wines and some of her art hangs on the walls in the tasting room.

Lynda and Jerry love cats as evidenced by some of the woodwork in and outside of the tasting room. They have had as many as 14 cats, but the current count is 9. They also have 2 dogs - Boo and Spirit.

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Lynda Burd - Owner

Winemaking Team

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Before becoming a member of the BMW wine-making team, Craig spent over two decades at the Taos Inn helping to run a 'Wine Spectator Award-Winning' wine list. During his time at the Taos Inn he also became a sommelier.  

 

About 10 years ago he joined the BMW wine-making ream, and has not looked back.

 

"After tasting Black Mesa Winery wines, I realized that these are not just very good wines for New Mexico, they are very good wines, period.  I am glad to have the opportunity to influence what goes into the bottle."

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Craig Dunn -Winemaker

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Curt joined the Black Mesa Winery winemaking team as Assistant Winemaker in 2019, but his interest for wine and the fermentation process started long before that.  

With a passion for the art of crafting wine, he started making homemade wine in 2006.  The love of the fermentation process led Curtis to also make delicious mead, cider, beer, sauerkraut and various home-canned goods from his own kitchen.  The mad-scientist-like obsession he developed led him to start gardening as well.  Since 2012 he sells his goods at locals farmers markets and his goal is to teach and inspire others to grow their own food and use ancient methods to preserve them.

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Curt Chesney- Assistant Wine Maker

Tasting Room Staff

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While Krystal started working at Black Mesa Winery in the summer of 2020, she's been an avid fan, wine club member and friends of Jerry's since 2014!

 

Krystal is one of only 3 other New Mexico natives that is a part of our team.  When she isn't carving her niche in the tasting room and learning about wine, she is playing the drums, listening to Bruce Springsteen or playing with her lovely kitty! 

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Krystal Salazar - Tasting Room 

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Wendy Foster - Tasting Room

After a 25-year career in the events industry, Wendy moved to New Mexico to focus on her art and writing. When not pursuing the arts, she enjoys working the tasting room and various festivals as they provide a perfect social outlet and allow her to chat about her love for wine.

During those rare free moments, she enjoys travel, great reads, and exploring the New Mexico landscape.

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Scott Downs - Tasting Room

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Scott is an all American Gem. Born in Colorado and raised in Missouri. He came to New Mexico when he was 18 years old.

 

The early parts of Scott’s career were dedicated to the pursuit of fine cuisine and dining experiences. He was a celebrated and award winning chef from the city of Albuquerque New Mexico before moving to Embudo.

 

Here he could enjoy the beauty and quality of life found in the area. It’s culture, famed rivers, bountiful lands, thriving arts, history, world class wineries and breweries. After choosing to retire from life in busy kitchens, Scott began a professional relationship with one of New Mexico’s finest wineries. For years he has applied his talents as a chef to the world of wine, where he contributes the strengths of an exceptional chef’s palette. Scott is an avid boats man. You can find him on the Rio Grande “year round” or island hopping in the Caribbean for holiday. He is a bit Hemingway and a bit Tennessee Williams.

 

This man is tremendously entertaining! Being well traveled, well read and open-hearted, you can look forward to a fine time learning about New Mexico wine and laughing with Scott about river tales, local lore and adventures to be had. We are so lucky in New Mexico to have this truly spectacular individual.

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Alyssa Lucero - Tasting Room

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Alyssa is one of our newest team members and is enjoying learning about wine and ciders made here at Black Mesa, and throughout the state. Alyssa knows the state well – she was born and raised in El Rito, NM with a large and adventurous family. She grew up camping and fishing and continues to do so, often on adventures with her family. Her 5-year-old son, born on Valentine’s Day, now tags along and is fishing too!

If you come to the tasting room around any of the holidays, you’ll see Alyssa’s hard work as she helps festively decorate with her window paintings. Painting is where Alyssa finds the most peace and happiness; she’s been doing art in many forms her entire life. You may have seen her beautiful art and earrings at one of our Farmer’s Markets, but you didn’t see her awesome and artistic costume at the Halloween Party!

Marketing

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Katherine Lautenbach - Marketing

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Katherine left Green Bay, Wisconsin in 2007 to work in the wine industry in Napa, California. 

 

In August 2007 she started working in Napa as a tasting room associate and special events manager.  When the stock market crash happened in 2008, tourism and corporate events tanked, so she was tasked with diversifying the business by marketing their wine via social media, phone and email campaigns. The impromptu program proved successful, so they created a department for digital marketing. Katherine worked in this capacity over 10 years for 3 other wine companies.  

 

In March of 2020 she moved to New Mexico.  Faced with another challenging time, Jerry saw the potential in boosting his online business during Covid so he brought Katherine on board in April.

In her free time she enjoys skiing, playing her saxophone, watching her four desert tortoises and yoga.

Wholesale

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Aleksander Kaminski - Wholesale Wine & Cider Sales

In the outset of 2020 Alek joined the Black Mesa Family with the mission to get Bite Me Hard Cider out to the world. Since his arrival, Bite Me cider can now be found in over 20 restaurants and shops across Northern New Mexico. Aleks' passion for apples and grapes--and the delicious beverages they produce-- began years before his start at Black Mesa. Originally from Philadelphia, Alek has explored the ciderverse across the United States and Canada. He loves the entire process of cider production, from tree to bottle and aspires to have an orchard of his own.

Accounting

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Antonette Martinez - Accounting

Antonette was born and raised in Taos, NM. She has been working at Black Mesa Winery for 3 years, but she has been in accounting for over 25 years!

 

She loves the outdoors, especially being in the mountains where she can have quiet time listening to nature.
 

When she is not playing with her grandchildren she is learning about wine, watching movies, and listening to her favorite country music.

Wine Club

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Valerie Sanchez - Shipping Manager & Wine Club Coordinator

Born and raised in Ranchos de Taos, NM, Valerie left for New Mexico Highlands University. After that, she moved back to Taos to take over her father's liquor store business. 

She has been working for Black Mesa Winery for almost three years. She enjoys working for Black Mesa Winery and learning more about wine.

When she isn't at work, or working for the family business, she enjoys listening to music, shop and spend time with her family.

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Ashley Bear - Wine Club Concierge

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Originally from the Gulf coast of FL, Ashley grew up with a love of the outdoors and sciences. Being raised with Irish/French and Lebanese grandmothers– good food, wine, and boisterous story telling were part of her childhood. Her family moved to NM in 2009 and she followed in 2012, after farming internships in NH.

Upon arriving in New Mexico, she attended the University of New Mexico seeking a degree in culture and writing. Taking a break from school, Ashley worked as a shift manager for local restaurants in Taos and Albuquerque, where she discovered a passion for wine. A Shiraz pulled her in and she started Wine of the Week and wait staff wine education programs –along with cultivating relationships with local wineries and breweries. 

Ashley returned to Dixon several years ago and began working in the wine industry and returned to school for geology. She is currently working on her BS in Environmental Geology at New Mexico Highlands University and engaging with our wine club members as the Wine Club Concierge