Querétaro wine from Mexico could become fashionable in North Texas

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The state in the center of Mexico is growing as an important wine-producing region in the world

At more than 6,000 feet above sea level and under the warm sun of central Mexico lies San Juanito Vitivinícola, a place of vineyards in the state of Querétaro, Mexico.

Although it is more than 1,000 miles away from Dallas-Fort Worth, some restaurateurs and bar owners in North Texas believe it is the next wine-producing region in North America.

The contemporary Mexican food restaurant Don Artemio, in Fort Worth, has already incorporated Querétaro wine into its menu. The restaurant’s manager, Martín Quirarte, says that the fact that the region is little known is an opportunity to create a base for selling Querétaro wine in Texas

“You ask 95% of our customers, even more, and they don’t know that Querétaro is producing wine,” says Quirarte.

That’s why he feels “a huge responsibility” to introduce Querétaro wines at Don Artemio.

The restaurant is already one of the top choices for high-end regional Mexican food and drinks in Dallas-Fort Worth.

“We have to find the balance between excellent taste and exceptional price quality for our customers,” he added.

Although the state of Baja California, in northwestern Mexico, is probably the best-known wine-producing region in the country, Querétaro was one of the first regions to produce wine in the country and presents an interesting and unusual opportunity for winemakers.

Martin Quirarte, manager at Don Artemio’s, a restaurant located in Fort Worth, poses with a…

Welcome to Querétaro

Querétaro is the southernmost state that produces wine in Mexico, located two and a half hours north of Mexico City.

This place defies almost every norm of viticulture: it is located in an unconventional place for this activity because it is closer to the equator than almost any other wine-producing region, and it is 6,500 feet above sea level.

“We are so far south that we should have a tropical climate and we do get strong storms, but it is very hot during the day and cool at night. That change is very beneficial for the vine,” said Antonio Treviño, a winemaker at San Juanito Vitivinícola. “During the day [the grapes] receive sun and grow; and at night the cool helps preserve them.”

Beyond the fluctuation of the climate, which helps the grapes to mature and retain their acidity, the soil of Querétaro retains water during drought periods and drains it when it rains too much.

“This combination of geographical, climatic, and oenological factors has been key to the development and consolidation of Querétaro as a wine region,” said Treviño. “The foundations of this new renaissance of viticulture in the region are just being laid.”

The future of Querétaro wine in Dallas-Fort Worth

Don Artemio sells three Queretaro wines: Vinaltura Gewurztraminer, Vinaltura Malbec, and El Bajío Brut (macabeo, xarello, and ugni blanc).

Quirarte wants to sell more.

“One of my goals is to make Mexican wine known, and I fell in love with that region,” he said. “Anything we do has to enhance the menu, it has to make an impression at first, and it has to be balanced. I would love to see Querétaro have what we need.”

So far, Don Artemio is one of the few restaurants in North Texas that sell wines from this region of Mexico, but Quirarte would like others to take a liking to them as well.

Wine production in Querétaro was partially truncated by strict alcohol control laws, so it did not have viticulturists until the mid-1970s.

The region has the potential to become a benchmark for wine, Treviño believes.

“It has already positioned itself as a quality wine producer,” he highlighted. “There are young companies that are eager to innovate and predisposed to implement the latest in agricultural technology. I think Querétaro has a lot of room to grow nationally and internationally.”

Although Texas restaurateurs still have a lot to learn about this Mexican region, internationally renowned restaurants like Pujol, in Mexico City, have been serving Querétaro wines for years. This prestigious restaurant currently serves seven Queretaro wines.

“They are very balanced wines that have surprised us in recent years with their elegance and balance,” said Marianna Ramírez, beverage director at Pujol. “Although Querétaro has made great strides in wine production, it still has wineries that preserve their essence in a more exclusive way.”

Querétaro wine has been much talked about in Mexico and the United States, explains James Tidwell, master sommelier in Dallas and co-founder of TexSom International Wine Awards.

“I think it has a bright future because there are many tourists who go there just to try the wine,” said Tidwell. “Also, it is being talked about in the media. It meets many things that people want from their wines.”

Even stores like Total Wine & More are joining the trend, as they already sell El Bajío Brut, from the Freixenet México winery in Querétaro.

The disadvantage that Querétaro had 50 years ago has changed radically, and at some point, it could occupy a privileged place in the world of wine.

“Querétaro is already important, but I can say that Querétaro will be a very important place for Mexican wine in 10 years,” said Quirarte.

Source: Al Dia Dallas