#15

Oaxaca Through the Eyes of a Master of Agave Spirits

Five-Night trip with Chris & Thea Upchurch for Four People


There is no one better to guide you through the land of mezcal and the magical world of Oaxaca than newly certified master sommelier of mezcal, Chris Upchurch, and his wife, Thea. 

Located in the heart of Mexico, Oaxaca boasts the best of southern Mexican charm with fantastic cuisine, rich culture, and a vibrant art scene. The state is flanked by Sierra Norte’s forested, green mountainscapes to the north, and a tropical coast to the south with wide, sandy beaches and quaint beach villages. Oaxaca is also home to famous mezcal as well as world-class cuisine. It is a quintessential destination that is the perfect combination of culture, nature, and adventure and boasts impressive architecture, incredible indigenous villages, and a truly idyllic location. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage site, Travel + Leisure recently named Oaxaca the best city in the world in their 2023 World’s Best Awards. 

Your adventure begins with a tour of mezcal country conducted by Daniel Rodriguez, director of the Agave Spirits Institute. You will have the opportunity to see agave in the fields and experience firsthand how rudimentary mezcal production consists of barbacoa pits and clay pot distillation. The afternoon will include a tour and lunch at Silencio Restaurant, known for great mezcals and culinary fare that showcases the revered, traditional flavors of Oaxaca, led by executive chef, Daniel Robles Sumano, who has worked in restaurants in Paris, Belgium, and Barcelona. Lunch will be followed by a visit to Monte Albán, the large pre-Columbian Zapotec archaeological site, where you will learn about hand-painted folk art including the infamous black pottery of Oaxaca and impressive street murals. From there, you will taste at Mezcaloteca, the world-famous mezcal library that is dedicated to the conservation of diversity in traditional mezcals and preserving their biological production processes. 

Considered to be the gastronomic capital of Mexico, Oaxaca offers the best dining experiences that the area has to offer. You will experience the culinary specialties of the region firsthand during a hands-on Oaxacan cooking class at one of the local cooking schools as well as a Yucatan-inspired chocolate tasting. For dinners, you will be treated to the best restaurants in Oaxaca including a range of locally-sourced items such as seafood from the coastal areas, fresh vegetables from the Central Valley region, tropical fruits from the area near Veracruz, and their famous, traditional moles. 

Your accommodations will be at the historic Monasterio de Santa Catalina de Siena, located steps away from the colorful scenes of the historic city center of Oaxaca de Juárez. Originally built in 1576 to be a convent, the hotel is enchanted by floral gardens, brilliant courtyards, and serene fountains. Most of the structure has been carefully restored to its original appearance, including its famous frescoes and historic tile floors and is now a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. 

Before beginning your journey to Mexico, Chris and Thea will host you and your group for a private dinner paired with Upchurch Vineyard wines to share their Oaxacan experiences, travel tips, and must-see sights. During dinner, you will be given the opportunity to taste through some of Upchurch Vineyards’ portfolio of wines, expertly paired with the meal. Chris has more than three decades of experience crafting outstanding wines that are unique in character, varietally dynamic, and notable on a world scale. Most recently, the Upchurch Vineyard 2020 Hero Twins Cabernet Sauvignon was awarded 100 points by Wine Advocate.

After you return from your travels, Chris will host you and your group at the brand new Upchurch Vineyard tasting room in Woodinville (slated to open spring of 2025) for a guided mezcal tasting experience.

This lot includes: 

  • Five nights’ accommodations, Monasterio de Santa Catalina de Siena
  • Mezcal country tour with Daniel Rodriguez, director of the Agave Spirits Institute
  • Lunch at Café Silencio
  • Tour of Monte Albán 
  • Cooking class at one of the local Oaxacan cooking schools
  • Yucatan-inspired chocolate tasting
  • Dinners at Oaxaca’s finest restaurants
  • Mezcal tasting at La Mezcaloteca
  • Wines provided by Upchurch Vineyard to be enjoyed during your trip
  • Dinner with Chris & Thea Upchurch paired with the Upchurch Vineyard wines before your trip
  • One 1.5-liter of Upchurch Vineyard wine for each couple
  • Mezcal tasting with Chris Upchurch at the brand new Upchurch Vineyards tasting room in Woodinville after the trip

    Thank You: Chris & Thea Upchurch

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