The history of Mexican wine production begins in the 1500’s, when Hernan Cortes and his conquistadors exhausted their supply of wine while overthrowing the Aztecs. The colonists were ordered to plant 1,000 grapevines for every 100 native employees. The Spanish had vines brought over for religious mass. With failed attempts to grow grapes in the more tropical regions of Mexico, the first grapes, known as Criolla, were successfully planted in the Parras Valley of Coahuila and growing in Puebla and Zacatecas, soon followed. The first Mexican wine estate, Casa Madero, was founded in 1597 by Lorenzo Garcia in Santa Maria de los Parras in Coahuila and still exists today, supported by many exciting adventure tours.
The next rise in Mexican wine production came in the form of a group of spiritual Christian Russian emigres who relocated to Guadalupe Valley to escape persecution from the czar’s army. Many of them had a farming background and reserved a good portion of their crops for wine making at the turn of the 20th century. Their legacy lives on to this day, despite an unsettling period during the Mexican War of independence around 1910.
Prestige wine production in Mexico, supported by the National Viticulture Association, began in the 1980’s with the promotion of modern techniques. Many of the grapes grown are from French or Spanish origin. The main grapes for reds are Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Carignan, Grenache, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo. Whites are Chardonnay, Chasselas, Chenin Blanc, Macabeo, Moscatel, Palomino, Riesling, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Today, San Miguel de Allende, a World Heritage Site and colonial treasure in the state of Guanajuato, is a starting point from which to begin the Wine Circuit. Here you will be able to discover how Guanajuato wine has come to be considered the most exquisite symbol of the territory, an internationally recognized wine cultivating region and a state where its principal asset is the Mexican people.