When Guillermo Rodriguez spent time at his summer home in San Antonio de las Minas, he and his friends often gathered to enjoy their favorite ritual - playing dominoes while blending wine. Over time the wines they produced in these sessions became legendary for their wonderful flavor.
Delighted by this new endeavor Guillermo decided to devote himself to the development of high quality wine which he produced out of his own kitchen. He affectionately named his first label, "Chateau Domino" in honor of the fun times he and his friends had enjoyed throughout the years.
Guillermo invested much time, love and money into producing premium Mexican wines. Selecting a fine French Merlot varietal for his first commercial production, he threw himself into carefully planting and tending vines on his San Antonio de las Minas property.
In 2002 he formed a partnership with noted Swiss enologist Christoph Gartner who currently operates the Vinisterra vineyards, supervises office and field staff, and hand crafts the wines. Christoph and Guillermo are old friends who share the belief that Mexican wines are unique with limitless potential on the world stage.
Christoph, formerly with Bodegas de Santo Tomas, is deeply passionate about encouraging the 'fullest expression of the grape'. He plants his fields at medium density to produce low yields with a rich fruit concentration and celebrates the markedly different characteristics of grapes grown in different Baja California valleys including Valle de Guadalupe and Valle de Santo Tomas.
Eschewing modern technology, Christoph makes certain that Vinisterra grapes are picked by hand and carefully sorted into small plastic bins in order to minimize damage during their transportation to the winery. Fermented in temperature-controlled tanks so that they can macerate over several weeks, the fermented juice is then transferred into French and American oak barrels for aging.
Vinisterra currently produces more than 7000 cases of wine each year from its estate vineyards and an array of regional vines. There are three main labels: Domino, Macouzet and Cascabel/Pedregal.
Domino are bright, new, fruit-forward table wines best shared during fun gatherings of friends and relatives. The Domino Tinto (red table wine) is aged in previously used barrels to enhance its character, while the rose and white wines are bottled without aging.
Macouzet wines make terrific companions to spicy and Nouveau Mexican cuisine. There are two Macouzet wines: a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend and a 100% Tempranillo. Formal, elegant and richly flavorful, these wines reveal the beauty of blending grapes grown in different regions.
Cascabel and Pedregal represent the premium level of quality. Known for their complexity, intense flavor and structure, some of Christoph's blends for this label have included Syrah with Mourvedre and Tempranillo with Grenache. These delicious wines have already garnered significant international attention.
A journey to the Vinisterra winery is a magical occasion. The building itself ~ Guillermo's former home ~ is visually appealing and environmentally friendly, constructed from thermal materials and actually semi-buried under ground to maintain cold temperatures naturally. Bricks used for its creation were actually made right in the town of San Antonio de las Minas! The winery and tasting room are open to the public on weekends and holidays from 11am to 5pm, and during the week by appointment.
Take a right off of Highway 3 Tecate-Ensenada at the only stop light in San Antonio de las Minas
Follow the Vinisterra signs
Phone from U.S:
011-52 (646) 178-3310 &
Sources: Vinisterra Website, Vino Club SMA