The Mexican wines industry has centuries of roots, when the Spanish conquered our land and brought their vines to the new world, but when the high quality of the wines produced in this far lands reached the ears of the King in Spain, fearing a competition from the colonies in America, the King decreed a prohibition to harvest grapes and produce wine, except for those wineries that were producing wines for the Church. This prohibition went on until México became independent from Spain in 1810.
The development of the industry was interrupted by laws, revolutions and crisis that delayed it for many many years. Now we are on the road again, still a long long road to learn ahead, but we are doing it pretty well.
Where can we position the wine industry in México? Really hard to tell, because there are many factors involved: private inversion, quality, accessibility, sustainability, diversity, high taxes, small productions and permits and a tremendous price competition compared to the wines of foreign countries.
It is a fact that there is a demand of a more interested and exigent consumer, but also a fast growing crowd of new consumers in México; young people without prejudgments and a palate that is not used or biased to a certain type of wine.
All this gives the Oenologists a freedom that has enriched the wine offer in México.
México does not have a “signature” vine like Australia and their Shiraz, Argentina and their Malbec, Chile and it´s Carmenere or South Africa and its´Pinotage.
México has more than one outstanding grape and not one, but many micro-climates and soils.
Diverse wines, diverse styles; just as the diversity of wineries and the interpretation of their oenologists. Each with it´s own philosophy, it´s own project, it´s own formula, it´s very particular understanding of the terroir, the vine, their dreams and themselves.
Each one driving it´s own oenologic project depending on the understanding of their client, or their own passion and personality.
Good valleys, good soils, weather diversity, a growing demand and a complete freedom of expression. This is the still fragile but fast growing wine industry in México!
The wineries in México can be divided it in 4 categories:
The Big classic Wineries
A group of big traditional wineries with a very classic philosophy, keeping the prototype of European viticulture of classic European vines and classic European process in caves full of French Barrels.
They have all ranges of wines: basic, medium, premium and super-premium.
To name some of them: Santo Tomás, Monte Xanic, Casa Madero, LA Cetto, Domecq and Freixenet de México.
Wineries started by Chemists and Enologists coming from big wineries, using their experience and will to start new projects. Their philosophy is to make good wines in small ammounts and support the dreams of many people that want to produce wines.
We can name some of them like “Sinergi” from José Luis Durand, “La Escuelita” from Hugo D´Acosta or “Cavas Valmar” from Fernando Martain.
The Boutique Wineries
This wineries have their our vineyard and the viticulture is completelly manual, the wine is made and aged in the same winery to control the quality. They have the newest technology, an in house lab, their own resources and very high international standards. They usually have 2 or more labels and they intend to have continuity.
In Ensenada we have more than 25 boutique wineries.
The Artisan Wineries
Many new projects are being born and contrary to the boutique ones, their process does not have strict quality controls and they may not have a continuity project, they are “home made” wines.
Some will become boutique wineries in the future, some are made only for personal joy and some will go as fast as they started.
What i can say… to look at the Mexican wine industry amazes me, understanding what passion can do, how far we can go in the future, how much we learned so far and how much we still have to learn. Marvelous dont you think? Salud….y Viva México!!
Parts of this message are from: “Guia de Viñedos de México” “Where is the Mexican Wine” by Sandra Fernández Gaytan.