The History of Wine in Mexico
Wine cultivation and production in Mexico began with the arrival of the Spanish in the mid-16th century, making Mexico the oldest wine-growing region in the Americas. Today, wines from Mexico are increasingly considered to be some of the best in the world as highly acclaimed wineries offer delicious red and white varietals that have put San Miguel del Allende and Guanajuato, Mexico on the map as a leading wine destination world-wide.
The start of Mexico’s journey to become one of the best wine producing nations began when the Spanish brought vines from Europe to Mexico. Although there were indigenous grapes before the Spanish arrived, the Spaniards found that their ‘new vines’ achieved great success in the dry and Mediterranean-like climate, similar to what you find in the San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato wine region.
Wine and Vineyards in Mexico
The Spaniards’ first vineyards quickly took root in the Puebla, Querétaro, Aguascalientes and Coahuila states and rapidly spread throughout Mexico when Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortes depleted his wine stock in celebration of the Aztec conquest and ordered thousands of grapevines to be planted throughout Mexico.
Mexico’s vineyards were cultivated immediately by missionaries who needed wine in order to celebrate mass and, over time, desolate lands were transformed into areas of cultivation and wine-growing. Jesuits and Franciscans consolidated the variety of grapes planted by other friars and gave it a special name, the mission grape. Today, this variety is known all over South America as “Creole.”
By the late-16th century, Mexico was producing large amounts of wine but with fear of competition and loss in tax revenues, King Charles II banned winemaking in Mexico and the rest of the new world. Only the Catholic Church was granted the power to make wine for sacramental use. It wasn’t until after the Mexican revolution, in 1810, that the ban was lifted and wineries in Mexico began to thrive once again.
Growing Wine Culture in Central Mexico
Although winemaking in Mexico was made legal in the 19th century, Mexicans were too accustomed to cerveza, tequila, and mezcal and it wasn’t until the 1980’s that Mexico began to focus on the quality and techniques of wine making.
Today, the reputation of wine in Mexico is on par with some of the top international producers and it can be found in over 35 countries and in almost every fine-dining restaurant in Mexico.
Mexico’s most popular wine producing regions are in Baja California (Valle de Guadalupe), Northern Mexico (Parras de la Fuente), and Central Mexico (Queretaro, Zacatecas, Guanajuato) where grapevines thrive in the Mediterranean-like climate and high altitudes. Throughout the year, thousands of international travelers come to enjoy wine tastings, grape stomping, music, cuisine and scenic Mexican vineyards.
The vineyards and wine region in Central Mexico create the perfect getaway for lovers of wine and culture, especially in San Miguel de Allende with its unforgettable charm, culture, growing wine scene…and the famous Dos Buhos Vineyard with over 50 years of agricultural experience and three acres of ten different varieties of organic grapes.
With a history rich in Spanish- Colonial culture and century-old roots, vineyards in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato are quickly becoming one of the most alluring attractions in Central Mexico.