Grape Harvest Festival, From the Earth to the Ear
By Jesús Aguado
The encounter with the grape and wine, gastronomy, music, and folklore is simply inevitable. Although the Grape Harvest Festivals are relatively new in this state, the Sanmiguelense winery Vinícola Toyán preparing the biggest festival ever. It will feature pre-Columbian rituals, gastronomy, grape stomping, and the presence of Mon Laferte, currently the most successful pop singer in the country.
This year, the festivals will be held in three cities: Dolores Hidalgo (Cuna de Tierra), Guanajuato City (Camino D’Vinos), and San Miguel de Allende (Viñedos San Lucas, Hacienda San José Lavista, and Toyán). The first event will take place at Camino D’Vinos on Saturday, July 30, with artistic and cultural activities, closing with fireworks.
Located in upper San Miguel, the vineyard is a magical place with a wide avenue flanked by tall trees and watched over by silent statues of monks that assist in keeping the balance of energy and discreetly welcoming the visitors. There in the fertile crops have been gently cared for over the years. The plants come from four lineages of grapes: Sauvignon Blank and Chardonnay (for white wine) and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (for red wine).
In Toyán, the grapes are carefully planted, grown, and then harvested for processing as it develop into wine. Later, the wine is aged 14 meters underground in French oak barrels or bottles. In an area near the heart of the earth where the plants grew, concerts are also held. During the festival, a new tasting area will be open next to the cava. The special attraction of this new area is that wine will flow from the fountains instead of water.
The Festival and Mon Laferte
The fiesta in Toyán will begin at 12pm on Friday, August 5. The ticket includes a welcoming glass of wine, food, and beverages, and a flamenco show, plus Guanajuato’s wine tasting, pre-Hispanic rituals, and grape stomping. There will be a lecture about wine in human health by Álvaro Fuentes from Wine Bernat, a producer in Guanajuato City. On August 6, in addition to the activities during the day, the festival will be crowned with the concert by Mon Laferte.
The amphitheater of this vineyard has been the venue for the previous concerts by prominent singers like Susana Zabaleta, Samo, La Rumorosa, and Natalia Lafourcade. This year the singer of the moment, Mon Laferte, will arrive to offer her unmistakable heartbreaking voice. She has her own particular style, which can be observed in her videos. Laferte arrived in Mexico from Chile and, in just in a few years, she has become the most beloved pop singer. Her fame will take her to the National Auditorium—with 10 thousand seats—on September 30.
Some of Laferte’s songs are Tu falta de querer, Cielito de Abril, Tormento, La Visita, and Amor completo, among the many others that have brought her awards like Golden and Platinum discs for high sales of her Vol. 1 album.
Tickets for this festival are available on Eticket.com; 1200 pesos (for two days, including the concert) and 800 pesos (just for the concert). For more information, call 152 7400
The advantages of pre-Hispanic farming
In the municipality there are several farms producing organic vegetables and grains, one of which is internationally certified Rancho Toyán. There, more than 120 types of vegetables are planted, including ten varieties of corn, six of beans, and seven of squash. In Toyán, the producers also harvest peaches, pears, apples, plums, “and everything provided by Mother Earth,” said Martha Molina, the owner. One of the two unique brands of wine in the state is also produced at the ranch.
At Rancho Toyán chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not used. The fertilizer is from manure produced by their livestock. “Toyán is like Noah’s ark,” says Molina, “because we have hens, turkeys, donkeys, sheep, and pigs that are integrated with the environment.”
Molina commented that everything is a complete cycle in Toyán. Because the animals are healthily fed, they can produce healthy dung, and chemical products can be avoided. On this ranch there are fields of flowers and other plants where bees, butterflies, and other insects help maintain the natural cycle of production. Molina noted that the human body is designed for organic products and not for transgenic produce or that which is grown using excessive fertilizers and pesticides because the chemicals are retained by the body, causing illnesses.
At Toyán nature is completely respected and is free to act by itself. The owners are trying to instill a consciousness for returning to agricultural origins to make people understand that the way of planting and harvesting practiced by our ancestors before we became so reliant on science and technology is the best way. “We used to live like this,” said Molina.
The Vendimia continues
For the first time, Viñedo San Lucas will have its own grape harvest festival. This will take place on Saturday, August 20, and will feature an open bar and food, musical spectacles, and guided tours. Tickets are available at Dôce18 Concept House on calle Reloj (1200 pesos adults and 400 pesos children under 12 years).
This will also be the first festival at Bodega San José Lavista from 1–11pm. This festival will offer wine tasting, a flamenco spectacle, live music, and an open bar from 1–5pm. Tickets cost 2,000 pesos. For more information call 415 155 9108.
The Festival de las Vendimias will end at Cuna de Tierra in Dolores Hidalgo on August 27. There will be live music, a flamenco spectacle, wine tasting, and DJs. Tickets can be purchased through boletia.com for 1,800 pesos.
The Vineyards are growing
The Secretariat of Touristic Development told Atención that four years ago there were only 60 hectares of vines and today there are more than 350. The plantations have grown thanks to the commitment and passion of Guanajuato entrepreneurs.