Travelers love the Mexican colonial city of San Miguel de Allende, known for its exceptional architecture, traditions and art scene. I’m one of them, and have written about the city, cited as a world favorite, several times.
Street in colonial San Miguel de Allende
But the region around San Miguel adds another delicious dimension: one of the world’s newest destinations for viniculture. La Ruta del Vino (The Wine Route) is in the Bajío area, the mostly rural center of Mexico, known for year-round spring-like weather and backdrops of evergreens, cacti, farms and haciendas.
You can spend a day or several on these mainly outdoor road trips, enjoying fine wines and food pairings, and learning about Mexico’s history of winemaking. You can even stay awhile at several of the vineyards. (All wineries meet local, state and federal government hygiene and safety requirements regarding Covid-19. Check ahead to make sure they are open, as conditions change.)
San Miguel’s wine region has four paths going forth from the pleasures of SMA. Below are some of the best. And if possible, leave time to visit the beautiful colonial cities of Guanajuato and Dolores Hidalgo near the route.
Colonial Architecture at Toyan
Toyan Vineyard offers a touch of mysticism and energy along with artisanal, organic wines. This site boasts “mysterious experiences” in its underground cellar and medieval salon. Varied tours even include one that’s pet friendly.
Lavender fields at San Lucas winery
San Lucas and San Francisco wineries, sister properties, are just 15 minutes away from SMA’s historic center, among lavender, olive trees and grapevines, and tasting tours of the properties can include lavender workshops. The development also has two hotels, a spa, a pool and two restaurants. Activities including polo, biking, yoga, horseback riding, grape crushing and swimming, available with a day pass.
Cellars at San Miguel
Heading out on the San Miguel de Allende Highway towards the city of Celaya, you’ll find the 400-year-old San Miguel vineyard, run by the Cuadra family. Its 148 acre vineyard include 13 grape varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. The Bodega San Miguel cellar is one of the largest in the state.
Towards Guanajuato city and Dolores Hidalgo
Part of the complex near the vineyards at San Jose La Vista
On the way to Guanajuato City, on a hill overlooking that magnificent colonial settlement, is the San José la Vista Vineyard. Vaults and adobe are traditional Mexican colonial architecture, and the property includes a restaurant, wine cellar, lakes, gardens, terraces, a hotel and the winery. This artisanal concept with modern facilities is exceptional for weddings and events. Grapes include Malbec, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, and there are four tasting options and wine pairings accompanied by a guided tour. If you have time, visit the wine museum in beautiful Guanajuato City.
Overlooking the vineyards at Tres Raices
Continuing to the “Pueblo Magico” of Dolores Hidalgo, at Km 73 on the highway, is Tres Raices. The 60-acre complex features a series of lakes and enormous sculptures and artworks inspired by Mexican culture.
Unique experiences include tastings while blindfolded to enhance the smell and taste; bottling your own wine; and a five-course tasting menu. Tours of the property include the underground cellar, and open-air tastings are available.
Tres Raises offers a 15-room boutique hotel and the Terruno Restaurant, designed with traditional ceramic and talavera pottery. Wines include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, and Malbec, as well as the Spanish dessert liquor Mistela.
Food and wine pairings at Cuna de Tierra
Along the same path is first winery in the area, Cuna de Tierra, or Cradle of Earth. This winery offers tasting tours, food pairings, corporate events or romantic getaways. Cuna de Tierra grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Muscatel, Ruby Seedless and Cardinal.
AUTHOR of the award-winning travel memoir, Places I Remember: Tales, Truths, Delights from 100 Countries. PODCAST, Places I Remember: Travel Talk with Lea Lane,