Understood mainly for its agriculture and the picturesque, expat-filled city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico’s Guanajuato area is becoming one of the country’s most in-demand red wine destinations. With just about 40 wineries, the region is currently impacting and challenging the country’s relationship with wine.
Wine in Mexico has mostly been booked to the Valle de Guadalupe region more north in Baja California, which houses storied brand names like Casa Madero and El Cetto. Yet, it hasn’t always seen a big market inside or outside the nation. Guanajuato, in particular, has actually received greater distinction for its agave distillates like tequila, featuring an entire Tequila Path and house to the distinguished Casa Dragones distillery.
Guanajuato has constantly had an agricultural legacy, covering lovely ranchos and haciendas that produce corn, strawberries, and more. “There are a lot of people there that come from numerous generations of farming, which gives one persistence. Wine is perseverance,” states Alberto Moyeda Carabaza, Mexican white wine lover and owner of Terruño, a wine bar in Mexico City. However, Mexico presently only produces about 30 percent of the wine it takes in, and it doesn’t yet have lobbying power as a consumer product. “They are primarily household projects, personal financial investments, or real estate projects,” says Moyeda Carabaza. “What’s occurring in Guanajuato is that people invest their own land and residential or commercial property to make white wine, since they like it.”
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But to understand the recent appeal of viticulture in the Guanajuato region, it is first necessary to comprehend the history of red wine in Mexico. Wine was first brought to the nation by Spanish conquistadors looking to utilize it for religious events, particularly Sunday masses. The area’s pleasant weather and terrain permitted a number of exceptional winemaking regions– a lot so that they threatened wine production in Europe, states Moyeda Carabaza. As a result, the Spanish burned the vineyards in Guanajuato, and industrial wine production was prohibited in Mexico for a number of centuries. The Mexican Revolution then resulted in hyper-nationalism and a rejection of all things Spanish– particularly wine. And yet, throughout the French-Mexican War, numerous dissidents stayed back, and red wine production began to re-emerge in the Baja area initially, primarily started by European neighborhoods in Mexico.
Guanajuato is a bit late to the game, with simply under twenty years of winemaking under its belt. And yet it is setting a precedent for Mexican wine making. Initially look, Guanajuato was a destined white wine region, especially for its weather condition and terroir. This area’s high elevation compensates with latitude, its expansive plains and warm climates guaranteeing the grapes establish a thicker skin and greater levels of polyphenols. The semi-desert environment also lends to a more dry surface with sandy soils, which are particularly great for drain. Temperature distinctions of more than 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) in between day and night and a seasonal environment enable the region to sufficiently stress its grapes, resulting in intriguing, fresh flavors that go down with ease. Finally, a microclimate triggered by the Foehn effect of being surrounded by mountains allows for varying conditions and terroir depending upon the side of the mountain the vineyard rests on. The region produces excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sémillon, Cabernet Franc, and a few other varieties.
Cuna de Tierra was the very first winery in the region, established in 2005. Its beginnings are linked to its Spanish heritage, first making brandy and homemade moonshine. Beginning with simply 3 barrels, the brand name now holds more than 80 red wine medals, including a 2022 Bacchus de Oro in Spain. It has likewise gotten high praise for its Sémillon gewurztraminer and the Lloro de Tierra that originates from a heritage family tradition. Beyond the red wine itself, the winery has likewise been well regarded as an architectural job and granted the Best Industrial Project at the Mexico City Architecture Biennial, Icons of Mexican Style by Architectural Digest magazine, and silver medal at the XIII Biennial of Mexican Architecture.
“Our wines attempt to reflect the quality and attributes of this terroir without a price marketing strategy of increasing prices for looks,” says Francisco Lara Sirvent, an agent from the winery. “The future looks promising, and we find ourselves on a very exciting course of knowing and establishing brand-new ways and promoting white wine culture while enhancing Guanajuato’s individuals’s lives through tourism, specialized tasks in the farms, and pride.”
Viñedos Dos Búhos, suggesting “2 owls,” is the second-oldest winery in the region. What began as a passion task that started a fruit collective three generations ago now makes a few of the most symbolic red wines in the location and is one of just two certified organic wineries in the country. Today they are a family of distinct disciplines, from architecture to art and viticulture, joined together under a shared function. “To be sincere, I think the world does not require more white wines or vineyards,” says a family representative who chooses to remain unnamed. “It needs individuals and jobs that intend to heal and repair the world. At Dos Búhos, we believe in better red wines for a better world.” Their orange red wine, anaranjado, is created following the ancient technique: concealing it underground in stone or clay amphorae, where it ages for approximately 3 years.
Garambullo is another such project. Established by husband-and-wife team Branko Pjanic and Natalia López Mota, Garambullo is a natural, hand-harvested and -crafted winery with a tendency to experiment. “Our production design is a mixture of the standard and the contemporary, always accompanied by interest and play,” states López Mota. “At the exact same time, the primary axis that directs our work is the desire to preserve an area for oenological experimentation that stimulates regard for the lineage of all those who have actually added value to the art that includes the transformation of white wine.” The winery produces simply 7,000 bottles a year, maintaining its central principles as a shop winemaker.
Its white wines are anything but classic or dull and definitely staples of Mexico City’s best wine facilities, varying from Loup Bar to nationwide wine store Vinos Chidos. One notable wine is Garambullo’s Rover Orange 2002, with a citrusy whiff on the nose alongside melon and apricot tastes.
While orange wine is far from the only assessed style in Guanajuato, it best shows the viticulture of this region as it requires specific natural production. The area, in general, is highly concentrated on natural production despite the fact that just one winery is accredited natural by Oregon Tilth. Rather, out of large stability, each winery picks to make use of estate-grown, primarily organic grapes fermented with natural yeast and very little intervention.
The post-pandemic years have been monumental for this area, which has actually traditionally been highly concentrated on artisanal handcraft, art, and textile tourism. In August, 2021, Guanajuato Ministry of Tourism announced a new initiative called Guanajuato, Tierra de Vinos, (Guanajuato, Land of White Wine). The effort aims to establish a series of travel experiences through the area’s 43 vineyards, which cover 385 hectares. This will include five different wine paths and harvest festivals. A red wine museum was proposed also. The region will particularly focus on sustainability in its efforts. “The link in between sustainability and white wine tourist makes Guanajuato a world benchmark,” says Juan José Álvarez, Guanajuato’s secretary of tourism.
“Mexico is the most significant exporter of beer, all the tequila, and mezcal,” says Moyeda Carabaza. “Mexicans, we’re great with alcohol. What we were missing was red wine, so it was only natural that this would occur– we like to make quality alcoholic items.”