Discover some of the best wineries of Mexico in El Bajío

We all know that gays go crazy for wine whatever form it takes; mimosas, sangria, rose, you name it, if it’s got grapes in it, we’re all over it. And while you’ve surely heard of Italy’s, South Africa’s and even Portugal’s impressive wine regions, the wine and wineries of Mexico may have slipped under your radar… until now that is!

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Just a decade ago the gay community was near non-existent in these parts, but today the central region is experiencing a boom in tourism and becoming a burgeoning gay travel destination

Believe it or not, sunny Mexico makes some of the world’s top wines and stands as the 25th largest producer of wine globally. Almost 80% of all Mexico’s wine comes from El Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, towards the north-west part of the country, while the smaller, central region of “El Bajío” also offers a home to some outstanding and well-established wineries. Within the rural and productive lowlands of what is known as Mexico’s breadbasket, El Bajío has long been considered a conservative spot, made so by its distance from the big city and influence from the church. Just a decade ago the gay community was near non-existent in these parts, but today the central region is experiencing a boom in tourism and – thanks to continued LGBT+ community activism – becoming a burgeoning gay travel destination. For a fun and diverse vacation among Mexico’s most beautiful scenery then, find our top recommendations of wineries in central Mexico below…

Photo: Moritz Knoringer

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Barbaro delights with its dishes of passion fruit ribs and Chingón oysters, served alongside home-grown vegetables from the restaurant garden

Only two hours north of Mexico City lies the state of Queretaro, home of the well-known “Cheese and Wine Route.” The area provides amazing weather throughout most of the year, with warm days and chilly nights – ideal conditions for wine production. The first stop for us is at Maria & Bernardo Winery, a boutique winery and hotel perfect for a relaxing weekend gateway. Their artisanal wine production process is craftier than most, making their wines taste oh-so full-bodied, especially their Tempranillo. The best part however is arguably the adjacent restaurant, Barbaro, owned by well-known Mexican chef Emiliano Ayala.  Extremely popular among locals, even those uninterested in wine, Barbaro delights with its dishes of passion fruit ribs and Chingón oysters, served alongside home-grown vegetables from the restaurant garden. Working with the Maria & Bernardo winery, they also offer a variety of wine pairing menus best enjoyed at their outdoor seating area for sunsets over the vineyard in the company of the ever-present LGBT+ local community.

Barbaro, Chef Emiliano Ayala

Photo: Karol Kaczorek

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De Cote Winery House is a great addition to the itinerary, for all straight, gay, lesbian, queer or just about anyone

As we continue along the Cheese and Wine Route, we arrive next at De Cote Winery House, a bigger and well-established winery, with a wide variety of about 20+ types of award-winning wine sold both throughout the country and internationally. Accustomed to having visitors, this winery offers tours of their vine fields, factory and wine cellar, allowing insight into their whole production process. This winery also has a top-notch restaurant with amazing views across their vineyard, a great spot for a romantic lunch/dinner or even a proposal. With a chic yet welcoming vibe, De Cote Winery House is a great addition to the itinerary, for all straight, gay, lesbian, queer or just about anyone, particularly in August and September when (alongside several other wineries in the region) De Cote hosts an event called “La Vendimia.” This traditional event celebrates the end of the harvest with live music, food and wine tasting, plus the traditional grape stomping for which the festival has become known for.

While driving from one winery to another, don’t forget to stop by and take some pictures of the stunning view of Peña de Bernal. One of the world’s largest free-standing rocks at 433 metres tall, Peña de Bernal can be seen from pretty much anywhere in the area due to its size and the land’s flatness. If you have time, visiting Peña de Bernal and the magical namesake town of Bernal is a definite must.

De Cote Winery House | Photo: Juan Zavala

Peña de Bernal | Photo: Juan Zavala

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The winery here offers tours of its fields and the opportunity to bottle and customize wine with guidance from a professional sommelier

Before we loopback, we have time for one last tasting at Puerta del Lobo Winery, a unique choice on the site of a large complex shared by a hotel, several restaurants, vineyards and even some residential areas. The winery here offers tours of its fields and the opportunity to bottle and customize wine with guidance from a professional sommelier. For foodies, however, the best thing at Puerta del Lobo is their restaurant, Las Ruinas, a grill restaurant located at the ruins of a centuries-old ranch, providing diners both a rustic and unforgettable experience.

Puerta del Lobo | Photo: Juan Zavala

Las Ruinas | Photo: Juan Zavala

If your itinerary allows, just 1.5 hours away lies the city of San Miguel de Allende. Also, home to several amazing wineries – including Mr Hudson favourites Tres Raices and Santisima Trinidad – the city is a great addition to any winery tour with a range of urban pleasures to explore, all laid out in our San Miguel de Allende travel guide!

Photo: DAVIDSONLUNA

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