Bodegas de Santo Tomas has a rich, fascinating history. As the very first winery in Baja California Santo Tomas was originally founded in 1888 by native Italian Francisco Adonegui and Spaniard Miguel Olmart. Just over thirty years later it was purchased by Abelardo Rodriguez who became interim President of Mexico shortly thereafter! After his presidency, Rodriguez established his business in a former bank building on Miramar street in Ensenada and opened up a bottling plant, enabling the company to produce up to 600,000 cases per year. Bodegas de Santo Tomas became synonymous with seamless production and a high quality product. Throughout the decades the winery has continued to modernize production equipment, maintaining state-of-the-art technology to reach their goal of creating the finest Mexican wines sold in the global market.

Earlier in the 20th century Santo Tomas was perhaps best known for its alliance with Wente Vineyard to produce famed Duetto, a 50/50 blend. In 1988, winemaker Hugo D'Acosta was brought into the fold to add his unique expertise to the Santo Tomas arsenal. During his twelve years with the winery, D'Acosta focused on Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo blends. Bodegas Santo Tomas has won innumerable awards for its sensational wines, especially the vibrant ruby cabernet sauvignon and darker cabernet-merlot blend (Santo Tomas Reserva Unico). Recently the ST Vino Tinto, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo has made its own name as an accessible and smooth wine for all occasions.

Beyond the guided tour and reasonably priced tasting (six tastes for around $6) one of the most alluring aspects of Bodegas Santo Tomas is its warmly praised restaurant La Embollettadora Vieja which can be found at the original Miramar location. Specialities include marinated freshly caught fish on a bed of locally grown organic vegetables, gorgeous wine-based dishes featuring tender meats and newly picked herbs, and even a world class Fillet Mignon. Prices reflect the excellence of each meal.

For much of its 121 year history a great deal of Bodegas de Santo Tomas was run in the heart of Ensenada but with the recent renaissance of Mexican wine in Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe, a large percentage of its operations have been moved back toward their roots in the surrounding valleys. Tasting tours are now given by reservation at the recently built, state-of-the-art wine-making facility south of Ensenada in Valle de Santo Tomas and also at a small boutique operation in Valle de Guadalupe.

Located just 44 miles south of Ensenada, this world class facility and its delicious wines are well worth the drive and considered by many to be the highest quality wines produced in Mexico.

Updated: Sep 20, 2017 01:26 PM

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