Bodegas de Santo Tomás is the oldest winery in Baja California and ranks among the oldest in North America. The winery was founded in 1888 on the site of the Dominican Misión de Santo Tomás de Aquino which first saw the planting of vineyards on the site in the 1790s. The winery is located in the Valle de Santo Tomás, one of the five major valleys for viticultural production in the state of Baja California that are responsible for the majority of Mexican wine production. Valle de Santo Tomás sits about 40 miles south of the Valle de Guadalupe, the most well-known of these five valleys, and offers a somewhat cooler climate and longer growing season based on the moderating influence of the winds coming from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Continuing the tradition of Bodegas de Santo Tomás as a pioneer in the world of Mexican wine, they were also the first winery in Mexico to be headed by a female winemaker. During her tenure as the head winemaker, Laura Zamora earned Bodegas de Santo Tomás over 250 international medals and awards for her wines, significantly increasing international recognition of both the winery and Mexican wine at large. The current winemaker, Cristina Pino, has continued to build on the foundation established by Zamora while at the same time clearly making her own mark on Santo Tomás’ centuries-long history. Since assuming her role at the helm of the winery she has made significant steps towards implementing fully organic viticultural practices, adopting low intervention methods, and orienting the winery as a whole towards sustainability and overarching quality. Her impact can be clearly seen in the quality of the wines that are being produced, as the international visibility and recognition of the winery continue to grow under her powerful leadership.
The winery is located within the Valle de Santo Tomás, along with the large majority of the vineyards which include some plots of vines that have been producing for over 100 years. Along with this traditional center of the winery, however, Santo Tomás also has vineyards, a cellaring facility, and a world-class restaurant in the town of San Antonio de las Minas at the far western end of the Valle de Guadalupe along with a historic cellar, warehouse, and administrative office complex in the Miramar neighborhood in the historic heart of the city of Ensenada. These facilities across the region facilitate Bodegas de Santo Tomás’ production of world class wines while also serving as hubs of community engagement, public gatherings, and involvement in the community at which they have been the center for more than 130 years.