Is Mexico New to the Production of Wine? It Turns Out it is Not!
By Daniella Sánchez
It is in Mexico, and specifically in the municipality of Parras, Coahuila, where it is the oldest wine producer in all of America!
Since when? Well, only since the 16th century.
And why is that?
Here a little bit of the story and the facts, of course - let us go chronologically:
1568.-Looking for gold excavation areas, Fray Pedro de Espinareda and Francisco Cano, together with other Spanish conquerors, explored the Valle de Parras region, in Coahuila, and to their surprise, what they found was a privileged area with springs and wild vines.
1594.- The production of the first wines in this region, with the grapes of these vineyards, began when a group of Jesuits established the mission of Santa María de las Parras.
1597.- Wine production began when the King of Spain, Felipe III, gave Don Lorenzo García land. These lands would be used to cultivate vineyards for the production of wine and brandy. On August 19, 1597, the first wine-growing company in America, Mexico and Coahuila, “Hacienda San Lorenzo”, was founded by Lorenzo García. Nowadays, this wine is known as “CASA MADERO” - does it ring a bell??
1893. -“Hacienda San Lorenzo” remained in the hands of the French during Maximiliano’s Empire until it was acquired by the grandfather of President Francisco I. Madero, Evaristo Madero. Winegrowers from Spain and Italy, as well as winemakers from France, were hired by Don Evaristo. He also acquired new varieties of grapes and brought modern winemaking equipment, wooden casks and cognac distillation stills, bottling lines and other equipment for the vine yard and cellar. With the best grape varieties, modern equipment and new staff that implemented the most modern technology of the time, the winery grew and progressed to become an important wine and brandy producer in Mexico.
Mexico has been producing wine for over 400 years!
Nowadays, Parras, Coahuila, has around 680 hectares of vines. It has more than ten vineyards, in addition to Casa Madero, such as:
Don Leo (this Cabernet Sauvignon won the trophy for the World´s Best Cabernet 2020, at the Concours International Des Cabernets (CIDC); we will share more about this in a special article). Rivero González
Hacienda El Marqués
Hacienda del Perote
Bodega Santo Madero
Viñedo Hacienda del Rosario
Madens Terra Vid
El hotel y viñedo Proyecto Parvada
Finally, this region has its own “RUTA DEL VINO”; the wine tourism route involves entering the Tunal valley, 30 minutes from the magical town of Parras, as well as touring the vineyards of the Parras valley.
In this region, the main varieties of grapes are merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon,cabernet franc, pinot noir, malbec and zinfandel; among the white grapes aresauvignon blanc, semillon and chardonnay.
We now know that Mexico is not so new to wine production and that its growth, although moderate, is unstoppable.
According to the International Wine Organization, the main wine-growing regions in Mexico are Sonora, Parras, Coahuila, Querétaro, Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe and Valle de Santo Tomás. An enormous number of companies, established in 11Mexican states, produce annually about 200 thousand hectoliters of good quality and greatly diverse wines. With the support of the government, the development and modernization of the sector are collectively promoted by the Mexican Wine Council.