The Mexican wine industry is extensive and varied, but unknown outside this great nation. Domestic consumption is enough to exhaust this product, which processing began in colonial times – although the Spaniards found clusters of wild fruit upon arrival – and, promoted by Hernán Cortés himself; it extended from Veracruz towards Central and Northern Mexico, until its prohibition due to the monarchy’s fear of competition.
Now, when talking about the national wine, consumers think of the wide areas of the peninsula of Baja California, bathed by the waters and marine airs of the Pacific and the interior sea of Cortés. A large percentage of the sowing of those twisted plants that will later leave the clusters hanging, developed in that region.
But in recent years, a large area has emerged in the central state of Guanajuato, in its capital and the municipalities of Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel de Allende. It could be thought that this scenario is new in such places. But from the colonial period there were vineyards that produced the broths for the use of the friars and the churches.
Miguel Hidalgo, one of the most important heroes of the Mexican Independence war, established craft practices in Dolores. The communities planted vineyards, olive groves and raised silk-producing worms. These trades were expanded with the creation of workshops to stimulate a rural artisan market with influence in neighboring towns.
At the beginning of the 19th century and remembering the old prohibition disposition in the wine industry, soldiers were sent to the area to destroy the vines. For that reason the sowing of grapes disappeared for a long time in the region.
The production of wine has been restarted and the houses of Cuna de Tierra, Dos Búhos, Caminos D ‘Vinos, San Miguel and Rancho Toyán, among others, can be found in the State. “These are lands where nothing but cactus used to grow,” says Mr. Chávez Mojica, as he drives his taxi and enters a long dirt road.
The enologist Natalia López affirms that the ‘semi-continental’ climate of San Miguel with cold winters and hot summers, helps in the reproductive cycle of the grape.
The Vinán Toyán vineyards are located on the road from Querétaro to San Miguel de Allende. It is a flat area and full of vegetable crops; also fruits such as apples, pears and plums, as well as corn and flowers, which make these plantations a colorfu scenario. In addition, they have livestock, lambs, chickens, ducks and rabbits, among others.
“It is an organic wine, because its owners prefer it that way”, says Martha Molina, the entrepreneur who started with this initiative; “We decided to dedicate ourselves to organic agriculture because wine through history has been something very healthy, only that humans always want to go in a hurry, and use chemicals for faster growth… not here though.” Molina adds that it is an artisanal and almost “mystical” process.
The rows of small trees are adorned with mythological figures; they take care of the women who pick up the grapes and then place them in the carts that are heading full to the processing. After selected, the fruits are macerated and the juice is kept in French oak barrels. The cellar is 14 meters below the ground; there, images give a spiritual meaning to the varieties that come out; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Moscato.
“These wines have created a route that is offered to tourists, who miss a wine culture. It is an old practice in this region and strengthens its history, because it unites men and women in field work and transforms the profile of this warm land” Martha Molina concluded.
SMT Newsroom with information from laestrella.com.pa