Mexican wine
Mexican wine and wine making began with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, when they brought vines from Europe to modern day Mexico, the oldest wine-growing region in the Americas. Although there were indigenous grapes before the Spanish conquest, the Spaniards found that Spanish grapevines also did very well in the colony of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

 (Mexico) and by the 17th century wine exports from Spain to the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 fell. In 1699, Charles II of Spain
Charles II of Spain
Charles II was the last Habsburg King of Spain and the ruler of large parts of Italy, the Spanish territories in the Southern Low Countries, and Spain's overseas Empire, stretching from the Americas to the Spanish East Indies...

 prohibited wine making in Mexico, with the exception of wine for Church purposes. From then until Mexico’s Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

, wine was produced in Mexico only on a small scale. After Independence, wine making for personal purposes was no longer prohibited and production rose, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many other European immigrant groups helped with the comeback of wine in Mexico. However, the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 set back wine production, especially in the north of the country. Wine production in Mexico has been rising in both quantity and quality since the 1980s, although competition from foreign wines and 40% tax on the product makes competing difficult within Mexico. Mexico is not traditionally a wine-drinking country, but rather prefers beer
Beer in Mexico
"Beer In Mexico" is the title of a song written and recorded by American country music singer Kenny Chesney. It was released in January 2007 as the fifth and final single from Chesney's 2005 album The Road and the Radio...

, tequila
Tequila is a spirit made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands of the western Mexican state of Jalisco....

 and mezcal
Mezcal, or mescal, is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant native to Mexico. The word mezcal comes from Nahuatl metl and ixcalli which mean 'oven cooked agave.'...

. Interest in Mexican wine, especially in the major cities and tourists areas (along with the introduction into the US on a small scale), has grown along with Mexican wines’ reputation throughout the world. Many Mexican companies have received numerous awards. Various wine producers from Mexico have won international awards for their products.

There are three major wine producing areas in Mexico, with the Baja California
Baja California
Baja California officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is both the northernmost and westernmost state of Mexico. Before becoming a state in 1953, the area was known as the North...

 area producing 90% of Mexico’s wine. This area is promoted heavily for wine tourism with the “Ruta del Vino” (Wine Route), which connects over fifty wineries with the port of Ensenada
Ensenada, Baja California
Ensenada is a coastal city in Mexico and the third-largest city in Baja California. It is located south of San Diego on the Baja California Peninsula. The city is locally referred to as La Cenicienta del Pacífico, or, The Cinderella of the Pacific...

 and the border and the annual Vendimia harvest festival.

History of wine making in Mexico

According to legend, Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 and his soldiers quickly depleted the wine they brought with them from Spain celebrating the conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1521. Because of this, one of Cortés’ first acts as governor was to order the planting of grapevine
Grapevine is the common name for plants of the genus Vitis. Other meanings include:*Grapevine , a term often used to describe a form of communication by means of gossip or rumor, as in "heard it through the grapevine"...

s throughout New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...


In the early colonial era, ships arriving to Mexico and Spain’s other colonies carried grapevines. In certain areas, Spaniards found a native type of grapevine, but it did not lend itself well to winemaking. However, vines from Europe grew very well here, and they were planted in monasteries and haciendas in the states of Puebla
Puebla officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Puebla is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 217 municipalities and its capital city is Puebla....

, Coahuila, Zacatecas
Zacatecas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Zacatecas is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 58 municipalities and its capital city is Zacatecas....

 and others. In 1597, Casa Madero was founded by Lorenzo García in the town of Santa María de las Parras (Holy Mary of the Grapevines) as the oldest winery in the Americas. This area of Coahuila soon became a major wine producer due to its climate and good supplies of water. The vines that were established here were later exported to the Napa Valley in California and South America.

A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...

s in the Americas, especially New Spain were successful enough that wine exports from Spain to America plummeted. Because of this, Charles II decided to prohibit the production of wine in Spain’s colonies, especially Mexico, except for the making of wine for the Church in 1699. That prohibition stayed in force until Mexico’s Independence. However, many missionaries refused to abide by the edict and continued to produce wine for normal consumption on a small scale. One of these was Jesuit priest Juan Ugarte
Juan Ugarte
Juan Ugarte Aiestarán is a retired Spanish footballer who played as a striker.-Football career:...

, who planted the first vines in Baja California when he arrived at the Loreto
Loreto, Baja California Sur
Loreto was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula. It served as the capital of Las Californias from 1697 to 1777, and is the current seat of the municipality of Loreto in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur...

 mission in 1701.

From the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 19th, most wine production was done by clergy. The Santo Tomás Mission, founded in Baja California by Jesuit priests in 1791, reactivated larger scale production of wine in Mexico. In 1843, Dominican
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 priests began growing grapes at the nearby Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe del Norte mission, located in what is now called Valle de Guadalupe
Guadalupe, Baja California
Valle de Guadalupe , or Francisco Zarco is a village located in the municipio of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, 20 km north of the city of Ensenada...

. This valley is one of the few in the world, along with others such as the Napa Valley and the Rhone Valley, in which premium wine grapes can be grown.

In the 1850s, as part of Mexico’s Reform War
Reform War
The Reform War in Mexico is one of the episodes of the long struggle between Liberal and Conservative forces that dominated the country’s history in the 19th century. The Liberals wanted a federalist government, limiting traditional Catholic Church and military influence in the country...

, many of the Church’s land holdings were taken by the state. Most of the small wineries tended by missionaries were eventually abandoned. In 1888, the former lands of the Santo Tomás Mission were sold to a private group, which established the first large-scale commercial winery and the earliest winery in continuous operation, called Bodegas Santo Tomás. Initially, the wine made by the group was sweet and of low quality.

During the period of Mexican history known as the Porfiriato (1880–1910), wine production in Mexico increased and spread to other regions of the country. In the Baja California area in 1904, Russian immigrants known as Molokan
Molokans are sectarian Christians who evolved from "Spiritual Christian" Russian peasants that refused to obey the Russian Orthodox Church, beginning in the 17th century...

s, a pacifist religious group fleeing service in the Tsar's army
Imperial Russian Army
The Imperial Russian Army was the land armed force of the Russian Empire, active from around 1721 to the Russian Revolution of 1917. In the early 1850s, the Russian army consisted of around 938,731 regular soldiers and 245,850 irregulars . Until the time of military reform of Dmitry Milyutin in...

, purchased 100 acres (40.5 ha) of land and began producing wine grapes. They encouraged others to do the same, helping the area acquire a reputation for making good wine. However, winemaking was set back by the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 as many lands were abandoned by their owners or destroyed by the rebels.

Wine making in Mexico began to experience a comeback in the 1980s, with wine production peaking at four million cases a year in the latter part of the decade. However, the 1980s also opened Mexico’s small wine market to foreign competition, which hurt it. Baja California, which produces 90% of Mexico’s wine, only sells about 1.5 million cases a year today, but the quality of this wine is generally higher.

Since the 1980s, wine production, especially in Baja California, has been steadily improving with better tending of vineyards and incorporating modern advancements in winemaking. Most wineries here are young, established only since the 1980s and 1990s, but some enthusiasts are calling the Valley of Guadalupe area the “next Napa Valley.” The wine industry is growing rapidly and the quality of the wine is improving. Mexican wine can be found in 38 countries in the world and many vintages have won international awards.

Wine consumption in Mexico today

Despite Mexico’s Spanish heritage, it is not a wine-drinking country, but rather a beer and tequila country. Average wine consumption per capita is only two glasses a year. The Mexican government imposes taxes of 40% per bottle, making it hard to compete with beer and tequila. However, consumption of wine in Mexico is growing, with imports of wine in 2005 being nearly four times higher than ten years before. Most wine is consumed in major cities such as Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, Monterrey
Monterrey , is the capital city of the northeastern state of Nuevo León in the country of Mexico. The city is anchor to the third-largest metropolitan area in Mexico and is ranked as the ninth-largest city in the nation. Monterrey serves as a commercial center in the north of the country and is the...

, Guadalajara and Puebla
Puebla, Puebla
The city and municipality of Puebla is the capital of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Being a planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico's main port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.The city was founded...

, and is also commonly found in the tourist areas, such as Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 and Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas , commonly called Cabo, is a city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the municipality of Los Cabos in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. As of the 2010 census, the population was 68,463 people...


Most of the wine consumed in Mexico is imported from places like Europe, Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, with about forty percent coming from domestic wineries. However, wine consumption continues to grow with one factor being increased interest in it by the middle classes, especially in Mexico City. As the reputation of Mexican wines increases, preference for native wines is also increasing in Mexico. At one time, no sophisticated restaurant in Mexico City would serve Mexican wine. Today, newer restaurants always include selections from Mexico on their wine lists.

While wine drinking is not widespread in Mexico, the consumption of brandy
Brandy is a spirit produced by distilling wine. Brandy generally contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after-dinner drink...

, or distilled wine is. Brandy, especially the sherry
Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez , Spain. In Spanish, it is called vino de Jerez....

 variety, is the most widespread distilled liquor in Mexico. It is even more popular than rum or tequila. Mexico is the fourth largest consumer of brandy in the world behind the Philippines, Germany and Equatorial Guinea. The last of Mexico's tariffs on imported brandy were lifted in the first decade of the 21st century, with sales and consumption expected to rise.

Wine producing areas and vintages in Mexico

Nearly 6200 acres (2,509.1 ha) are planted to grapes in Mexico. Principal white wine grapes include chenin blanc
Chenin Blanc
Chenin blanc , is a white wine grape variety from the Loire valley of France. Its high acidity means it can be used to make everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines, although it can produce very bland, neutral wines if the vine's natural vigor is not controlled...

, chardonnay
Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It is originated from the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced, from England to New Zealand...

, sauvignon blanc
Sauvignon blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety which originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape most likely gets its name from the French word sauvage and blanc due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France., a possible descendant of savagnin...

 and viognier
Viognier is a white wine grape. It is the only permitted grape for the French wine Condrieu in the Rhone valley.-History:The origin of the Viognier grape is unknown. Viognier is presumed to be an ancient grape, possibly originating in Dalmatia and then brought to Rhône by the Romans. One legend...

, and reds include all five Bordeaux varietals
Bordeaux wine
A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world...

 plus Grenache
Grenache is one of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in the world. It ripens late, so it needs hot, dry conditions such as those found in Spain, the south of France, and California's San Joaquin Valley. It is generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively...

, tempranillo
Tempranillo is a variety of black grape widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain's "noble grape". Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano , a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks...

, dolcetto
Dolcetto is a black wine grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The Italian word dolcetto means "little sweet one", but it is not certain that the name originally carried any reference to the grape’s sugar levels: it is possible that it derives from the name of the...

, syrah and petite sirah
Durif is a variety of red wine grape primarily grown in California, Australia, France, and Israel. Since the end of the 20th century, wineries located in Washington's Yakima River Valley, Maryland, Arizona, West Virginia, Chile, Mexico's Baja Peninsula, and Ontario's Niagara Peninsula have also...


There are three areas in Mexico where wine grapes are grown. The North area includes Baja California and Sonora
Sonora officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo....

; the La Laguna
Comarca Lagunera
The Comarca Lagunera is the 9th largest metropolitan area in Mexico, and is located between two states, Coahuila and Durango.-Geography:The Comarca Lagunera is formed by 15 municipios; 5 in Coahuila The Comarca Lagunera is the 9th largest metropolitan area in Mexico, and is located between two...

 area is in Coahuila and Durango
Durango officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Durango is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. The state is located in Northwest Mexico. With a population of 1,632,934, it has Mexico's second-lowest population density, after Baja...

 and the Center area consists of Zacatecas, Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 11 municipalities and its capital city is Aguascalientes....

 and Querétaro
Querétaro officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro....

. Most of these areas have a fairly warm climate, which tend to make Mexican wines spicy, full-bodied and ripe; however, Northern Baja’s humid winters, dry warm summers and sea breezes allow for most of the same varietals produced in California.
The La Laguna region is the oldest wine-making area of Mexico, and straddles the states of Coahuila and Durango, with grapes thriving in the Parras Valley. This valley is a microclimate in the desert area of these states at an altitude of 1,500 meters. The valley has warm days, cool nights and low humidity which inhibits insect and fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

 damage to the vines. Mountain springs provide sufficient water in this arid part of Mexico. The temperature difference of 12 C-change between day and night is also beneficial to the grapes. The valley primarily produces reds based on Bordeaux such as cabernet sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley...

, Shiraz, merlot
Merlot is a darkly blue-coloured wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird , probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines...

 and Tempranillo. Some whites are produced as well. More than 400 families come to the Parras Valley in August and September for the annual grape harvest called “la vendimia.”

The most important winery here is Casa Madero, the oldest winery in the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

, founded in 1597 as Hacienda San Lorenzo. This label includes a range of varietals, with its chardonnay, chenin blanc and Syrah winning awards. Its brandies are considered among the best in Mexico. Another important winery here is Bodegas Ferrino, founded by a 19th century Italian immigrant near the town of Cuatro Ciénegas
Cuatro Ciénegas
Cuatro Ciénegas is a city in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. It stands at , at an average elevation of 740 metres above sea level. The city serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name....


Another interesting winery is located in Tarahumara
The Rarámuri or Tarahumara are a Native American people of northwestern Mexico who are renowned for their long-distance running ability...

 country at the edge of the Copper Canyon
Copper Canyon
Copper Canyon is a group of canyons consisting of six distinct canyons in the Sierra Tarahumara in the southwestern part of the state of Chihuahua in Mexico...

 in Chihuahua, in a small valley named Cerocahui
Urique (municipality)
Urique is a one of the 67 municipalities of Chihuahua, in northern Mexico. The municipal seat lies at Urique. The municipality covers an area of 3,968.6 km².As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 19,567.-Towns and villages:...

. In 1680, Father Juan María de Salvaterra arrived here to establish a mission. Later, Jesuits brought cuttings of French and Spanish vines. When the Jesuits were forced out of Mexico in the 18th century, the Cerocahui vineyards were destroyed except for a few cuttings secretly kept and grown by the José María Sánchez family. These vines were cared for by the family until the late 20th century, when the last of the family died without heirs. The gardener for the family saved cuttings from the vines and with the Misión Hotel and planted them at what was the Girls Boarding School. Since then the town has had over 4,000 vines under cultivation and a winery has been established at the hotel.

The Center region consists of areas in Querétaro, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes. Most vineyards are found at an altitude of 6500 feet (1,981.2 m), and most of the wine produced here is of the sparkling variety. However, other types such as Sauvignon blanc
Sauvignon blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a green-skinned grape variety which originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape most likely gets its name from the French word sauvage and blanc due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France., a possible descendant of savagnin...

, St. Emilion, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir
Pinot Noir
Pinot noir is a black wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name may also refer to wines created predominantly from Pinot noir grapes...

 can be found as well. The best-known vintner here is the Mexican operation of Spain’s Freixenet
Freixenet is a Cava producer in Spain, located west of Barcelona in Catalonia. Cava is a sparkling wine produced in Spain.Freixenet was started after the union of two Spanish families with a lengthy history in winemaking: the Ferrers, owners of La Freixeneda, a 12th-century farming estate in Sant...

 winery. This label is known for dry sparkling wines called “vinos espumosos” (foamy wines), which come in satiny black bottles and based on Dom Pérignon
Dom Pérignon (wine)
Dom Pérignon is a brand of vintage Champagne produced by the Champagne house Moët & Chandon and serves as that house's prestige champagne. It is named after Dom Pérignon, a Benedictine monk who was an important quality pioneer for Champagne wine but who, contrary to popular myths, did not discover...

’s champagne fermentation methods. Some still red wines are also produced. Another major producer is Companía Vinícola Los Eucaliptos in the town of Ezequiel Montes
Ezequiel Montes, Querétaro
Ezequiel Montes is a municipality in the Mexican state of Querétaro. Its seat is the town of the same name, founded in 1861 by Julián Velázquez Feregrino. Its original name was Corral Blanco....

. A locally known label is Vinos Hidalgo La Madrileña in the San Juan del Río
San Juan del Río
N20 23 23 W99 59 49San Juan del Río is a city and administrative seat of the surrounding San Juan del Río Municipality in the central Mexican state of Querétaro. The population in July, 2007 is calculated in 128,270 for the city and 217,980 for the municipality.The city and municipality both rank...

 region. Los Azteca Hacienda Mexicana dates back to the 18th century which recently became a winery. Another vintner called La Ronda specializes in growing grapes to make Kosher wine
Kosher wine
Kosher wine is grape wine produced according to Judaism's religious law, specifically, Jewish dietary laws .To be considered kosher, Sabbath-observant Jews must be involved in the entire winemaking process and any ingredients used, including finings, must be kosher...

 sold in certain markets in Mexico City.

Most vineyards in Zacatecas are in the municipalities of Ojocaliente and Valle de la Macarena. This area has very cool winters and fairly cool summers, which combined with its moisture-holding clay soils is best for fast-maturing grapes with a high sugar content. A number of European red varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot are grown here as well as American varieties such as zinfandel
Zinfandel is a variety of red grape planted in over 10 percent of California vineyards. DNA fingerprinting revealed that it is genetically equivalent to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelanski, and also the Primitivo variety traditionally grown in Puglia , where it was introduced in the 18th century...

, Black Spanish and Lenoir. Some white grapes also do well here. Wineries here are smaller operations than in other parts of the country, with the best known local label being Casa Cachola just outside of Valle de las Arcinas.
The North zone produces ninety percent of Mexico’s wines today, with almost all of that coming from three regions not far from the port city of Ensenada: the San Antonio de las Minas zone, which includes the Valley of Guadalupe, the San Vicente Valley and the Santo Tomás Valley. This area is noted for its deep granite soils, warm sunny days, and nights cool due to breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean. The area is ideal for both red and white wines, and one of the few locales in the world that can grow grapes for world-class wines. Grapes for Baja California wines are also grown in areas in neighboring Sonora state. The varieties of red wine produced in the Baja California region are Cabernet Sauvignon, Ruby Cabernet
Ruby Cabernet
Ruby Cabernet is a red Olmo grape variety that is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, it can produce wines with good colour and a pleasant cherry flavour, but is mostly blended into bulk wines....

, Zinfandel Grenache and Mission. The white wines are Chenin Blanc, Palomino
Palomino (grape)
Palomino is a white grape widely grown in Spain and South Africa, and best known for its use in the manufacture of sherry.-Wine regions:In Spain, the grape is split into the sub-varieties Palomino Fino, Palomino Basto, and Palomino de Jerez, of which Palomino Fino is by far the most important,...

, Riesling
Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling wines are usually varietally...

, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
Sémillon is a golden-skinned grape used to make dry and sweet white wines, most notably in France and Australia.-History:The origin of the Sémillon grape is hard to determine. It is known that it first arrived in Australia in the early 19th century and by the 1820s the grape covered over 90 percent...

, Saint Emilion and Malaga
Malaga (wine)
Malaga is a sweet fortified wine originating in the Spanish city of Málaga made from Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel grapes. The center of Malaga production is Sierra de Almijara, along with Antequera, Archidona, San Pedro Alcantara, Velez Malaga and Competa. The winemaking history in Malaga and the...

. There are three major wine producers in this area, Vinos L.A. Cetto in the Calafia Valley, Vinos Pedro Domecq and Bodegas de Santo Tomás in the Santo Tomás Valley. All have had wines that won international competitions including the Double Gold won by L.A. Cetto at the San Francisco International Wine Competition in May 2009. Many of these wines are now exported to Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and most wineries offer tours and wine tasting.

Most of Mexico’s wine innovation occurs in the Ensenada area, in the form of the so-called “boutique” producers such as Casa de Piedra, whose first vintage was produced in 1997. This operation only produces one white, called Piedra del Sol and a red called Vino del Sol. Another small producer is Viña de Liceaga, which produces reds. Don Miller owns a ranch and winery called Casa Adobe Guadalupe with a wine school here to help small producers make a profit and draw tourists. There is even one organic wine producer by the name of Doña Lupe.

Wine tourism and festivals in Mexico

Wine tourism in Mexico is centered on the Norte region, although wine festivals exist in the other wine-producing regions. The “Ruta del Vino” (Wine Route) connects the wine producing areas of the municipality of Ensenada, such as the Valley of Guadalupe, the Valley of Llano Colorado, Valley of Santo Tomás and the Valley of San Vicente with the port city of Ensenada and the border cities of Tijuana
Tijuana is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula and center of the Tijuana metropolitan area, part of the international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. An industrial and financial center of Mexico, Tijuana exerts a strong influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics...

 and Tecate
Tecate is a small city in Baja California, Mexico and the municipal seat of Tecate Municipality. It is located on the border with Tecate, California, United States in the San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. There is a small port of entry betwixt the sister cities that serves as a calmer...

. The Route connects over fifty wineries, along with upscale restaurants, hotels, museums and other attractions of this part of Baja California state. The route is marked by “Ruta del Vino” signs on the roads and highways to promote the area for wine tourism, especially from the U.S. border.

Another major tourism draw is the Fiesta de la Vendimia (Vintage Festival), which takes place in Ensenada and the Valley of Guadalupe every year in August. The festivals include wine tasting and contests, winery tours, fishing tournaments, cook-offs, gourmet food and concerts. These events are sponsored and/or organized by the area’s wineries. Since the event occurs in the summer, temperatures can hover around 100 F-change. Some of the events include “Noche de Cofradia en Ensenada”, which features wine and food tasting from about thirty wineries and restaurants, matching local wines with local culinary specialties. The annual Malagon Family Celebration is held on a 500 acres (202.3 ha) ranch, vineyard with winery and bed and breakfast. This event includes a horse show, live music, food and wine. The Concurso Internacional Ensenada Tierra del Vino wine competition is also held in the city. Perhaps the most unusual event is at Bibayoff Winery with Russian music, dancers, food and wines.

However the drug war, which mostly takes place in border cities like Tijuana, has hurt this tourism to the area significantly as many U.S. tourists do not want to pass the border towns to get to the relatively calm wine valleys of Baja California.

The Parras Valley in Coahuila has held its Feria de la Uva y el Vino (Festival of Grapes and Wine) since 1945, centered on the town of Parras de la Fuente. The event showcases the area's wines as well as other local products such as handcrafts, candies, denim clothing and food. This event is generally held in June.

In the Center area, Tequisquiapan
Tequisquiapan is a town and municipality located in the southeast of the state of Querétaro in central Mexico. The center of the town has cobblestone streets, traditional rustic houses with wrought iron fixtures, balconies, and wooden windowsills, which is the legacy of its 300 year heritage as a...

, Querétaro sponsors an annual cheese
Cheeses of Mexico
Cheeses in Mexico have a history that begins with the Spanish conquest, as dairy products were unknown in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The Spanish brought dairy animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats as well as cheese making techniques. Over the colonial period, cheese making was modified to suit...

 and wine festival called the Feria Nacional del Queso y de Vino in the month of June. This event draws local, national and international participants to compete for prizes and provide samples to visitors. This part of Querétaro is not only in wine country, but very near the center of where most Mexican cheeses were developed. Wines featured at this event are sparkling wines, but chardonnays, sauvignon blanc, merlots, pinot noirs and cabernets are also available for tasting. Wines from other parts of Mexico and the world also appear here. A more local celebration in the same area is Querétaro's version of the Vendimia first harvest festival which occurs at various wineries in the state in July. The most notable events occur at the Viñedos La Redonda Winery near Tequisquiapan with music, wine tasting and competitions, gourmet food and a handcrafts
Mexican handcrafts and folk art
Mexican handcrafts and folk art is a complex collection of items made with various materials and intended for utilitarian, decorative or other purposes. Some of the items produced by hand in this country include ceramics, wall hangings, vases, furniture, textiles and much more...


Winefests in other parts of the country include the Cabo San Lucas Wine and Food Fest ( and the Guadalajara Winefest in November (
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