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RGNY will host their second celebration of Dia de los Muertos on Friday, November 3. (Photo by Estefany Molina/RGNY Wine)

On Friday, November 3, RG|NY invites everyone to a grand celebration of life and death during their second annual Dia de los Muertos event, giving RG|NY an opportunity to showcase its Mexican roots.

“This event is super fun and is unlike any other,” said Erin Ambrose, events coordinator at RG|NY. “We get to be playful, bringing talent, most of whom will be of Latino descent, to our vineyard. We are holding on tight to this exposure of Mexican culture while getting to be creative.” 

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a colorful Mexican holiday where dead ancestors are the guests of honor. The celebration is a unique fusion of indigenous and colonial traditions, with its origins dating back to the 16th century, according to National Geographic. Ancient Aztec rituals of remembering ancestry through the use of skulls and altars were combined with the Roman Catholic celebration of those in the afterlife on All Saints or All Souls Day — which shares the same November 1 and 2 dates as the Mexican holiday. 

“I grew up celebrating the Dia de los Muertos,” explained Andres Delsol, marketing director for RG|NY. “I lost my father when I was three years old and each year my mom would decorate an altar with us and we would put things that he loved and she would tell us stories about our dad.” 

Each year, an ofrenda, or altar, is set up in the home and adorned with photos and relics of those who have departed. Marigolds, prized for their bright coloring and potent smell, are said to attract the souls of the dead and are placed around the ofrenda along with colorful sugar skulls and candles, which are lit to welcome these spirits to their altars. 

An ofrenda is an altar set up in the home to honor those in our lives who have passed on. (Photo by Estefany Molina/RG|NY Wine)

“For me, the most important part of this holiday is keeping the memory alive,” said Delsol. “Sometimes in this busy world, we tend to forget, and the beauty of this holiday is getting the chance to pause for a second and celebrate the people who were integral parts of your life.”

While a deeply personal holiday for families, Dia de los Muertos is also a celebration best enjoyed in the company of one’s community — a factor RG|NY emphasizes during their festivities. Throughout the last month, guests were invited to bring photos of their own deceased relatives to place on the large ofrenda in the tasting room. 

At the event, Ploo NYC will dish out hors d’oeurves and a multi-course dinner filled with Mexican staples, paired with RG|NY wines as well as specialty mezcal drinks provided by Agua Magica Mezcal. The Brooklyn-based nightclub, House of Yes, will perform multiple dances throughout the night.

“The idea came from the owner of the vineyard, Maria [Rivero], this is her baby,” explained Ambrose. “There are not many businesses or vineyards that are Mexican-oriented. We want to bring the important Mexican pillars of culture and community full circle into our events. This event encompasses all the wonderful things around food, life, entertainment, and wine.” 

RGMX, their sister vineyard, was originally founded in Parras, Coahuila, Mexico in 1998 by the Rivero Gonzalez family. The family holds a deep regard and appreciation for their Mexican roots and when their sister vineyard opened in 2019 on the North Fork, they continued to emphasize the value of the culture by producing high-quality wines and themed events such as this one. 

The group hosts an array of events throughout the year that celebrate their Mexican roots, such as their monthly Brunch a la Mexicana and Vino y Fuego — the vineyard’s after-hours wine and bonfire series. However, this holiday is the most outward celebration of their culture.

Finding a sugar skull on the ofrenda with your name on it is a tradition for children celebrating this holiday. (Photo by Estefany Molina/RGNY Wine)

Those at RG|NY not only want to spread Mexican traditions to those unfamiliar with the practices but also share these celebrations with the Latino population currently residing on the North Fork as well as working at the vineyard. 

“We’re trying to differentiate ourselves and speak to the Latino community,” said Delsol. “I think that sometimes these traditions can get a little bit lost, [and] we want to provide the opportunity for locals of the region to enjoy some music and some delicious food and wine — all while commemorating our loved ones who have passed on.” 

This celebration of the departed kicks off on Friday, November 3  at 7 and lasts until 11 p.m. Tickets are $275 per person and can be purchased on RG|NY’s website. This event is 21+ and costumes and cocktail attire are encouraged.