June 12, 2018 1 Comment
That’s right… History… everyone’s favourite class at school, but don’t worry… we’ll keep it brief and interesting. Even though the history of Mexican wine is certainly not brief! In fact, the relationship between Mexico and wine dates back to the early 1500s. Yah… ages ago! Way before Napa… way before Barossa…
When the Spanish conquistadors and missionaries colonised what was then the Aztec empire, along with many other indigenous nations, they brought with them the first European vines to produce wine for their personal consumption and religious ceremonies. This makes the former “Viceroyalty of New Spain” the oldest wine-growing region in the Americas. Wine grapes were planted in most of the conquered territory, however, it was only in a few regions that the plants better adapted to their new environment.
By the XVI century vineyards were so successful that wine exports from Spain to America plummeted, causing the Spanish King to prohibit the production of wine in Spain’s colonies, except for the making of wine for the Church. It was thanks to the missionary Jesuits that grape vines made it to the Baja California peninsula and for the next couple of centuries most of the wine production was made by clergy, until the start of the Mexican Independence war in 1810.
During the early 1900s Russian and Italian immigrants started planting grapes in the regions known as Valle de Guadalupe and Valle de Santo Tomas, in the northwestern part of Baja California (approximately 100 kms south of the border with California). And by the 80’s and 90’s wine production improved steadily with better vineyard practices and the incorporation of modern technology, giving these regions the reputation for producing outstanding quality wine and where nearly 90% of Mexican wine is now being produced.
Today, there are more than 100 wineries and more than 1000 different wine labels produced in Baja alone.
At Mexican Cellars we’re proud of them, we celebrate them, and we join the efforts of the winemakers to show the world a side of Mexico they’ve never seen before.
Hope you enjoy Mexican wine as much as we do!
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