Mexico’s wine industry is the oldest in North America and perhaps the least talked about, as it’s overshadowed by nearby Napa Valley. In fact, there are several regions across the country that produce top quality wine (and brandy) and numerous vineyards that will help unleash your inner oenophile. Here are the top eight.
Bodega Dos Búhos, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato
San Miguel de Allende is known for being one of the most beautiful towns in Mexico, as well as a haven for American and Canadian expats. It could be said that this has something to do with the thriving wine industry in the area, although very few people outside the country actually know about it. Bodega Dos Búhos, with its selection of organic wines, outstanding art collection and owl house, is undoubtedly the vineyard to visit in Guanajuato.
Moving north to the Parras region of Coahuila, you will find one of the biggest and best wine-producing areas in Mexico. Here you can even visit the oldest winery in the Americas too – Casa Madero, founded in 1597 – and taste its selection of wines which run the gamut from reds like Shiraz and Malbec to whites such as Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. This spectacular vineyard also has fully certified organic status and a quaint hacienda if you want to stay overnight.
Finca Sala Vivé (Freixenet), Ezequiel Montes, Querétaro
The best-known vineyard in Querétaro is easily Finca Sala Vivé, which is perhaps more commonly referred to simply as Freixenet in reference to the wine brand produced there. As part of the Wine and Cheese route of the region – and situated just outside popular pueblo mágicoTequisquiapan – it’s not exactly a hidden gem, but it is a well-organised and scenic spot that offers both tours of the grounds and the option to dine in the winery.
Our first vineyard option in Baja California – the most famous of all Mexico’s wine producing regions – is Finca La Carrodilla in the popular Valle de Guadalupe. Known for making artisanal and certified organic wines, it’s also dedicated to sustainability in every step of its operations, from recycling water to the use of solar panels. Small but perfectly formed, Finca La Carrodilla would make a great spot for a romantic day out or dinner and drinks with friends.
We move back to Parras for Bodega Rivero González in Coahuila. Proud to be contributing to the great – if undervalued – tradition of Mexican wine, this friendly vineyard offers guided tours of the vines and wine tasting in the vaults, but you will need to make a reservation. If you’re interested in a more organised wine event though, try and head there for the Cosecha Mágica annual Wine Festival which takes place in August and enjoy their rosés and experimental blends.
In the Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada you should definitely pay a visit to Adobe Guadalupe, one of the region’s most long-standing and successful vineyards that’s got all bases covered. They produce numerous wines, from the classics like Cabernet Sauvignon to Merlot to lesser known varietals like Nebbiolo and Mourvedre, all of which can be enjoyed in the winery, boutique or al fresco restaurant. If you fancy staying longer, book a room at their B&B and take advantage of the horse riding options available.
Querétaro’s second best vineyard, La Redonda, could actually make for the ideal option if you prefer a more intimate experience. For 365 days a year, they’re open for you to enjoy the scenic views, Mediterranean-style climate and delicious wines (we have it on good authority that their rosé is exquisite, although they also produce several reds, whites and blends). Having been going strong for almost 40 years, La Redonda shows no sign of slowing down any time soon either.
Finally, we move back to the temperate slopes of Ensenada and the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California with Decantos Vinícola and its impressive installations. Spread over 50 acres, this vineyard is a masterpiece of contemporary design and will please wine and architecture fans alike due to its flavoursome grapes and full-length glass walls. In fact, in a move that sets it apart from many other wineries, Decantos Vinícola uses natural rather than mechanical processes to produce its wines.