San Miguel de Allende’s Burgeoning Wine Country Takes Visitors Across the Dramatic Terrain and Architecture of the Heart of Mexico
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico — This Mexican colonial jewel of a city is probably best known for its architecture, traditions and art scene, but some may find it surprising that its natural light and beauty is also favored by winemakers. The region around San Miguel de Allende is one of the world’s newest places for viniculture.
San Miguel de Allende embraces its wine culture in La Ruta del Vino (The Wine Route). Wine country here is located right in the center of Mexico, in the Bajío area, known for its year-round spring-like weather and majestic backdrops of evergreens, cacti, farms and haciendas.
Visitors to the area will experience Mexican rural living while tasting fine wines and food pairings. Find out how to pair local wines with international cuisines, and learn about the winemaking production process and Mexico’s rich history of winemaking at different winery tours and events held throughout the year. It’s a fantastic destination for friends’ getaways, corporate functions, and weddings and honeymoons.
San Miguel’s wine region has four paths, departing the city in the direction of either Guanajuato City, Queretaro, Celaya or Dolores Hidalgo. The following are some highlights along each route.
Traveling towards Queretaro, visitors will find the natural, organic and sustainable space known as Toyan Vineyard, a place full of mysticism and energy that offers exquisite artisanal wines surrounded by unique medieval architecture. This site boasts mysterious experiences in its underground cellar and lounge with tours in three modalities — diamond, gold and silver — accompanied by a “pet-friendly” mode. www.vinicolatoyan.com
This tour ends with San Lucas and San Francisco wineries, sister properties just 15 minutes away from SMA’s historic center. Among lavender crops, olive trees and grapevines, visitors can enjoy the magic of oenology through sensory experiences — tasting tours of the properties accompanied by lavender workshops. It is worth mentioning that this development also has two hotels, a spa, a pool and two restaurants servng Mediterranean, Mexican and international cuisine of the best quality. Also available are polo, biking, yoga, horseback riding, grape crushing and swimming with the day pass service. www.vinedossanlucas.com
Heading out on the San Miguel de Allende Highway towards the city of Celaya, visitors will find the 400-year-old San Miguel vineyard, run by the Cuadra family. Its 60 hectares (148 acres) of vineyard are full of 13 varieties of grapes, including three popular in the region: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. The Bodega San Miguel cellar, measuring 10,000 square meters (108,000 square feet), is one of the largest in the state. This agricultural landscape of great history and beauty is considered a “must” in the destination. www.vinedosanmiguel.com.mx
Towards Guanajuato city and Dolores Hidalgo
On the way to Guanajuato City, on a hill overlooking the lights of the Heart of Mexico, lies the San José la Vista Vineyard, characterized by many as the most exclusive and beautiful place to celebrate a dream wedding. Employing traditional techniques and materials in the construction of haciendas, its vaults and adobe are star components of this majestic edifice, bringing back to life the essence of Mexican colonial architecture and generating an atmosphere of total tradition. The property boasts a restaurant, wine cellar, gardens, terraces, a hotel and the place where magic happens — the winery. This is an artisanal concept, with first-rate, modern facilities offering Malbec, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, as well as four tasting options and wine pairing accompanied by a guided tour. www.haciendasanjoselavista.com
Continuing the way to the “Pueblo Magico” of Dolores Hidalgo, at Km 73 on the highway, is Tres Raices. This grand complex features enormous sculptures and artworks inspired by Mexican culture, a series of lakes and multiple spaces to escape. A complete concept, it offers local cuisine, tastings, wine tours and an underground cellar wrapped in 60 hectares (148 acres). Unique experiences include guests doing tastings while blindfolded to enhance the smell and taste; bottling one’s very own wine; and delighting in a five-course tasting menu. Tours of the property and open-air tastings are also available. Tres Raises also boosts a private tasting room, wedding space, a 15-room boutique hotel and the Terruno Restaurant, which was designed with traditional ceramic and talavera pottery in mind. Wines found here include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, and Malbec, as well as the Spanish dessert liquor Mistela. www.viñedotresraices.com
Advancing along the same path, you’ll find the first winery in Guanajuato, appropriately named Cuna de Tierra, or the Cradle of Earth. This winery offers its visitors four different experiences: tasting tours, food pairings, corporate events or romantic getaways. Cuna de Tierra offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Moscatel, Ruby Seedless and Cardinal. www.cunadetierra.com
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My mom lives there and I would love to see more on the locals before I travel to visit.