An innovative vineyard brings wine tourism to Quintana Roo
Published by Forbes Staff on August 27, 2023
An unexpected twist has taken root in the tropical Mexican Caribbean, as a pioneering vineyard garners attention and acclaim, introducing a novel facet to the region’s tourism landscape. This innovative project, dubbed “Viñedo Viveros,” has not only redefined the traditional agricultural pursuits of the area but has also earned the prestigious “Tourism Innovation” award, adding a new dimension to Quintana Roo‘s allure.
The tale begins with José Viveros Tadeo and his wife Janey Aguilar Reyes, who primarily engaged in logging activities within the Noh-Bec community of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Their routine existence took an intriguing turn when they chanced upon a small grape plant six years ago. Although the intent was to provide shade for orchids, destiny had different plans. The grape plant, against all odds, bore fruit, igniting José’s audacious idea to create wine within the Mayan expanse of Quintana Roo.
Janey recounted her thought process at the time, “I said: I am going to buy it because I know that it is a vine and that it will give shade to my plants. I never bought it with the idea that I was going to have grapes, because I know that here is not a region of grapes.” Their unconventional venture secured second place in the state government’s “Tourism Innovation” award, not only acknowledging their ingenuity but also providing them with invaluable guidance for their nascent ecotourism endeavor.
The couple’s journey was marked by trials and triumphs. They gradually transitioned from charging mere pesos for vineyard visits to acquiring a profound understanding of marketing and valuation. Encouragement arrived from unexpected quarters, with experts from the University of Chapingo and seasoned oenologists expressing interest in collaborating for the creation of the Mayan area’s inaugural wine.
Viñedo Viveros commenced as a family project in 2019, initially encompassing a modest half-hectare plot with 100 grape plants. The doubters were many, echoing skepticism about grapes thriving in this locale. Yet, the vines flourished, yielding varieties like merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and moscato, defying conventions. The audacious endeavor didn’t stop at grapes; the family also cultivated strawberries, peaches, and blackberries, traditionally uncommon in the region.
The project’s growth wasn’t bereft of challenges. The influx of tourists caught the Viveros family off-guard, necessitating a shift towards more organized tourism management. The “Viñedo Viveros” started to transition into an ecotourism and rural project, capitalizing on the “Tourism Innovation” award’s recognition.
Currently in its initial phase, the vineyard extends beyond vine tours to encompass a restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch. Future plans include artisanal wine production and the construction of lodging cabins, catering to overnight tourists. Enthusiastic about diversifying the experience, the family envisions bike tours, birdwatching, and even lizard spotting around a nearby lagoon.
In a land where corn and beans have been staple crops, Viñedo Viveros stands as a testament to the power of innovation and the capacity to redefine what’s possible. As the Mexican Caribbean embraces this unconventional vineyard, it not only enriches its own identity but also beckons travelers from around the world to partake in this remarkable journey of transformation.
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