First Wine in the New World

As an important wine region, Mexico may seem unlikely. Yet this is where the history of wine in the Americas began. Indeed, the first winery in the New World—Casa Madero–was established in 1597 in the Mexican town of Santa Maria de las Parras (Holy Mary of the Grapevines), and the winery continues to thrive today.

Like many wine drinkers, I once assumed that that most Mexican wine would be cheap, rough-and-ready stuff sold in supermarkets. Admittedly, such wines do exist in Mexico (as they do nearly everywhere else). But beginning in the 1990s, and building on the success of already established wineries like Monte Xanic, Santo Tomás and L.A. Cetto, a group of creative young winemakers quietly began making small lots of surprisingly delicious wines. Today, Mexico’s rapidly-growing fine wine industry is bursting with energy, and the top wines are astonishing in quality.

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