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Grapevines need at least thirteen. The Santo Tomás Mission founded in 1791 became Mexico largest wine producer. The success of the modern wine industry has spurred a tourism industry as well, though not as developed as in some other parts of Mexico. [6], While there is grape and wine production in the interior of Mexico, northern Baja seems to be better suited to the production of more and better wines. Most of the production is in the Valle de Guadalupe, there is also grape and wine production in some neighboring valleys. Wine making is very eclectic here, with no one style dominating the scene. His first wines were released in 1997. It claims to be the origin of the margarita. The Nebbiolo of Baja produces a dark, inky wine unlike any other of its types in the world, having more in common with a Petite Sirah than its cousins in Italy. [1][10] Even the larger, established wineries have since upgraded their product lines in response. Length of maceration and fermentation depends on the producer. [7][8] Most of the wine grapes grown her are those grown in California, with the addition of tempranillo and Chenin Blanc, which is one of the most popular varieties. [6], Baja has four principal areas all near Ensenada: Valle de Guadalupe, Calafia Valley, San Vicente Valley, Santo Tomas Valley and to some extent, the San Rafael Valley. Some vineyards, like those in Santo Tomas were sold to private entities, but many of the vine yards were simply abandoned. There are no vinifera varieties indigenous to the Americas, so Mexican wine is made from the international varieties of French, Spanish and Italian descent. [13] The Monte Xanic winery is credited with the push towards premium wines, with its success prompting other wineries to bring in oenologists from Europe. [1], In 1857, the Mexican government seized all land holdings of the Catholic Church. Blending grape varieties is very common including unusual combinations such as Cabernet blended with Nebbiolo or Grenache. [3], The success of the wine industry since the 1980s has spurred something of a tourism industry. [1], In 1931, Italian Esteban Ferro introduced Italian and more French varieties, marking the start of Baja as a wine-producing region. It serves as the start and end point for the increasingly popular Ruta del Vino (the tourist-focused Baja California wine tasting trail), and also accommodates the headquarters of several local wineries and distributors. However, at this same time, Charles IIordered all vineyards in the New World destroyed to protect wine making on the Spanish homeland. "We couldn’t have chosen a … They are a supplier to renowned Mexico City restaurant Pujol. [15][17], The Ruta del Vino was established by the local tourist board to help visitors discover the local wine scene. [4], The lack of water is a major limiting factor for the continued growth of grape growing in this area. Monte Xanic holds a series of sunset concerts at its theatre located on its artificial lake. Sign Up, Based on search frequency, updated monthly, To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, It has had facilities for tourists for a very long time. Other wine-producing valleys include the Santo Tomás Valley, with an altitude of 750 feet above sea level, the San Vicente Valley at 350 feet, both south of Ensenada. These vines arrived after World War II but identification tags were lost in transit, so no one knows exactly what varieties they are. During the decade, production increased three-fold due to larger vineyards and the introduction of new technologies. [1] Most of this production was of average and cheap commercial wines. [4][16] The cuisine was created specifically to complement the local wine, focused on local products, especially seafood. [3] Baja accounts for 90% of all Mexican wine production, but this is only a total of 1.6 cases per year. [15], Many restaurants and lodgings are attached to wineries. The reason for this is that the peninsula is split into two quite distinct climatic regions, with the Sierra de Baja California mountain range bisecting the land north-south. [3] Most wines are fermented in stainless steel. Mexico has a long history of wine making, even if it is not distinguished. These two factors means that in good years, sometimes entire vintages of prestigious brands are sold before they are even made. [7] Mission grape (Listan Prieto) vines were brought to Baja in the late 17th century to make sacramental wine. White wines are made predominantly from Colombard, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and the globally ubiquitous Chardonnay. [14], Monte Xanic is currently the most prestigious brand of wines coming out of Baja California. It was first in the New World to have grape vines planted. 560 reviews. The southern half is occupied by the administratively distinct Baja California Sur. [6] The Valle de Calafia is in the northeast and the Valle de las Palmas at the north. [1][3] Jesuit priest Juan Jugarte established the first vineyards in Baja California in 1701 at the Loreto Mission. [1] Baja has humid winters, dry warm summers. [1] In the late 19th and very early 20th century, Russian Molokan refugees arrived to the Valle de Guadalupe and began growing grapes. [3][15] It was originally founded with the grape vines of the old Santo Tomas mission. [7] Some changes in farming are being made such as shifting o drip or subsurface irrigation, cutting away grape clusters to decrease the need for water (which improves grape quality) and planting more white grapes, which ripen faster. [1] The Baja California peninsula was originally under the sea until tectonic movement raised it and began the process of breaking down the granite, allowing it to mix with alluvial soil of clay, sand and other minerals to form the soils the vines grow in today. [3] As of 2015, only a third of the four million cases of wine consumed in the country, only a third was domestic. Most of the area's vineyards and winemaking facilities are in the Valle de Guadalupe, just northeast of the port city of Ensenada. Wineries that can afford are setting up water treatment plants to reclaim waste water. [1][7], Casa Domecq was originally called Vides del Guadalupe and was the first modern commercial winery in Baja California. Most vineyards here lie on a similar latitude to the deserts of the northern Sahara. Wines like Vino de Piedra, a blend of tempranillo and cabernet has a cult following in Mexico. A percentage of the sales for every bottle of the Baja United Family of Wines will be donated to help support the orphanages in Baja California. [1] The main reason for this is that the climate tends to produce grapes with thick skins, which create more intense flavors and aromas. [4][6] Even under normal conditions, the water available in the Valle de Guadalupe area is high is salt and other minerals. Two restaurants Corazon de Tierra and Laja 2 of the ten Mexican restaurants on the list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants recommended by Restaurant magazine. A new technology is applying polymer gels to plant roots. This means that a percentage of the sales for every bottle of the Baja United Family of Wines is donated to help support the orphanages in Baja California. This valley extends about fifteen miles northeast to southwest with an opening near the ocean. [3] Some winemakers work to reduce the salinity of the water but others insist that it gives the wine more body. 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