Mexico (especially Baja California and Guanajuato) is very well positioned on the wine production map. But what many wine lovers don’t know is that there is another region in Mexico that has been producing wine for more than four centuries: Coahuila, in northern Mexico, home to the oldest vineyards in the Americas, dating back to 1597. The area is not only out of sight for wine lovers, but many Mexicans don’t even know about it. However, Coahuila’s Pallas Valley is not only home to the oldest vineyards, but also provides fertile soil for some of the region’s newest and most innovative winemakers. That’s why a trip to Pallas (which, of course, means the vines) should be on every wine lover’s bucket list.
America’s oldest vineyard
A tour of Casa Madero is a journey into Mexico’s winemaking past, considering that the vineyard has been consistently and successfully producing wine for 420 years and currently exports to 27 countries.
This hacienda, which was established by some of the first Spanish settlers in the area, received a royal concession in the 16th century to produce wine. As the local wild grapes were acidic, the Spaniards brought a different grape from their native country.
So important is wine production in this part of Mexico that every year in August, there is a festival to celebrate the grape harvest. In a celebration almost as old as wine production itself, hundreds of locals in traditional dress descend from the mountains and dance around a bonfire. Then they tread the grapes to give thanks for the harvest.
From the oldest to the youngest
Opened in 1998, Bodega Rivero González is a modern vineyard that produces wine and nuts (another specialty of the area). They produce 10 wines (in particular a very popular white called, justly, Blanco) using only locally sourced grapes, making it an excellent place to sample a truly Coahuila product.