For a family-owned winery, Wines of the San Juan brings home an impressive hardware collection from international and regional competitions. For the first time, this spring you can taste one of the international medalists, the 2014 Tribulation Reserve.

The Tribulation is 85 percent estate-grown at the winery in Blanco, New Mexico. The blend is rich with tastes of cherry, currant, and blackberry jam, finishing with earthy toasted cedar and licorice notes. It earned a 2016 silver medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, and has only gotten better with age. It’s available exclusively at the on-site tasting room, though other wines are available in southwest Colorado and throughout New Mexico.

For all the acclaim, Wines of the San Juan avoids a stuffy vibe. The winery sits in a comfortable estate in the San Juan River valley just 45 minutes east of Farmington, less than two hours from Pagosa Springs and barely an hour from Durango. The tasting room is always free, making this an essential stop on any romantic excursion south.

And there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy a relaxed, all-day adventure. You can venture afield to the gold-medal waters just miles upstream, and a guidebook at the winery points you to the area’s hundreds of sandstone arches. Or, stay put. Coyote fencing and peacocks emphasize the distinctly northern New Mexico atmosphere. And the Arnold family always directs visitors from the tasting room to the World’s Best Swings, hanging on long ropes from one of the cottonwood trees keeping watch over it all (You don’t have to be over 21 to ride them, either).