The state of Queretaro is Mexico’s second largest wine producer, after Baja California. To put its wines on the map, the state came up with an Art, Cheese and Wine Route. Queretaro’s wine region is scenically located between two Pueblos Mágicos, both worth a visit. We stayed a night in each town and visited four wineries in between.
The gateway to Queretaro’s Art, Cheese and Wine Route is the town of Tequisquiapan, a pueblo mágico. These “magical towns” can be found in every Mexican state with the goal of promoting tourism. Some towns hide the magic better than others, but Tequisquiapan is definitely one of the more charming ones that we have visited.
Tequisquiapan is located 125 miles north of Mexico City, which equals a 2.5 to 3-hour drive. This makes it a perfect weekend escape from Mexico City. Make sure to arrive before dark, as the maze of narrow one-way streets in Tequisquiapan is hard to navigate at night.
On Friday evening, we drove from Mexico City to Tequisquiapan. Our stay for the night was Hotel La Plaza de Tequisquiapan, centrally located on the main square. The town is small but charming, with picturesque streets, shops and restaurants.
Our second night on the Art, Cheese and Wine Route, we stayed in the pueblo mágico of Bernal. We arrived around sunset and found the town to be truly magical. The Peña de Bernal towers out above town, creating a stunning backdrop everywhere you look. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery and a delicious meal at the rooftop restaurant of boutique hotel Casa Mateo.
One of the first wineries along the route, La Redonda is hard to miss. The space is enormous and highly commercialized, with a restaurant area and several open-air bars. As could be expected, the wine is not the best. Nonetheless, we enjoyed people-watching in the gardens with a bottle of sparkling wine and a cheese plate.
The second winery we visited has beautiful grounds that make you not want to leave. We tried two wines, both enjoyable but not memorable. If not for the wines, go for the Mexican Ranch-feel that surrounds this winery.
Finca Sala Vivé by Freixenet
To our surprise, we learned that the famous Freixenet Cava from Spain has a winery in Queretaro. The Finca Sala Vivé by Freixenet is an impressive finca that offers cellar tours, premium tastings and horseback riding through the vineyards. We reserved the wine tasting with sommelier, which resulted in a recommendation for our favorite winery on the tour.
Our Freixenet sommelier recommended San Juanito, an up-and-coming winery located somewhat off the main Wine Route. Unlike us, make sure to access the winery from the southern entrance. We arrived shaken-up after a bumpy, off-road experience trying to access from the north. Although we came for the Malbec, we ended up staying for the Brut Rosé. Not only were the San Juanito wines the best we tried on the entire weekend, the winery offered a more intimate and less commercial tasting experience.