Mexican wines are on the rise

The lack of a strong market has more to do with the context than with the grape, as Mexican is as good as wines from other countries

Mexican wines are on the rise
The consumption of wine has increased in the last years - Photo: Luis Hidalgo/AP
English 31/12/2018 13:21 EFE y Redacción Mexico City Martí Quintana Actualizada 13:21
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Over 100 wine cellars in 11 different states make the wine business a rising industry in Mexico, where its consumption had increased in the last years, but it can't fully succeed because of the lack of support to the farms and acceptance towards the beverage. “In 2000, we had a per capita consumption of around 300 milliliters, today it's 750 milliliters. It's still very low compared to countries where the culture of wine is better established,” Daniel Milmo said, the president of the Mexican Wine Council, an organization that represents 42 associates and 95% of the producers.

Currently, there are around 1,000 labels in Mexico, with an annual production of 19.4 million liters of wine, four times more than during the beginning of the century and the equivalent of USD $220 million.

According to Milmo, the consumption has increased between 8% and 12% per year in the last years, therefore, the size of the market could double in the next 7 years. Nevertheless, both the consumption and production of wine are facing several challenges that make this beverage, which is traditional in many parts of the world, a “rara avis” on the Mexican table, where the 70% of the wines consumed are imported, mainly from Spain, Chile, and Argentina.

With 80,000 acres of vineyards, Spain has around 2,347,501 acres, Mexico imports 68.1 million liters and exports 1.2 million liters, mainly to the U.S. They explain that one of the main reasons is the lack of support from the government. “We have to create a law to support the wine industry and its promotion, as producers in Spain or Chile,” Milmo said.

The president of the Mexican Wine Academy, Luis Fernando Otero, agrees. He is collaborating with the Legislative branch to create a Promotion of the Wine Industry General Law, which is in high demand in the industry. The lack of a strong market has more to do with the context than with the grape, as Mexican is as good as wines from other countries. “We have around 90 different grape varieties. Although we're very young in the industry and we keep making tests,” Otero said, whose organization looks to strengthen the promotion of wine in the country and its consumption.

In the last years, Nebbiolo or Malbec grapes are being successfully cultivated in Mexico. And although 65% of vineyards are in Baja California, the different climates, heights, and grounds give every wine a distinctive flavor.

Little by little, Mexican wines are becoming prestigious and they were recently awarded 18 distinctions in the Brussels World Contest, which took place in Valladolid, Spain, in May.
Nevertheless, Milmo claims there's certain “malinchismo” (preference for foreign things) when the time comes to chose a wine in Mexico.

In this context, the industry, producers and experts, is fighting to create a true wine culture in Mexico.



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