Thursday, August 11, 2011

Future of the Mexican wineries

The fundamental problems faced by Baja California (and all Mexican) wineries, are two:
- First, there's little tradition of wine drinking in the country, except among the Europeanized upper and upper-middle classes.
- Second, Mexicans still look to Europe, and increasingly to Chile and Argentina, when they want wine.

Baja California producers must build a reputation for their wines among Mexican nationals, just as California needed to persuade New Yorkers that its wines could compete with European imports. Time and increasing quality will help.

To expand their markets, many Mexican vintners hope to export their wines, particularly to the U.S., with its large population of Mexican descent. In truth, there's little reason to expect that strategy to succeed. Aside from cultural ties, the Mexican foods most popular in the U.S. aren't particularly compatible with wine, and U.S. (and Australian and Chilean) wines are better values and often better quality.

The Mexican wineries need to persuade their own large population of 100 million people to drink their wines, rather than trying to get U.S. consumers to do so.

That said, the many excellent wines coming from a few Baja California wineries show what the region can do. They don't need to take a back seat to anyone--just get the word out and increase production to match.



(Sources of information: In addition to the wineries, Gilberto Salinas, an importer and wine seller, is very knowledgeable and helpful. E-mail him at gsalinas@gsalinasvinos.com or phone + 52-664-971-0953. Gary Sehnert at Wines of Mexico, 619-233-VINO or mexwine@cox.net, is also a good contact.)
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Visit a mexican winery this summer: Wine Festival

A great way to get to know these wineries and others is to attend the Vintage Festival (Fiesta de la Vendimia) in Ensenada, Baja California Norte, which takes places in August every year. The festival's wide variety of attractions-including wine tastings and contests, winery tours, fishing tournaments, cook-offs, gourmet food and concerts-are sponsored, organized or subsidized by area wineries. For further information about the events, contact the Winemakers Association (Asociacion de Vinicultores) at www.ensenadawines.com.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Visit a mexican winery this summer: Bodegas Santo Tomas

Open since 1888, this winery has been producing wine longer than any other winery in Mexico. It is best known for having joined California's Wente Vineyard to produce Duetto, a 50-50 Santo Tomas/Wente blend. It is also known for its Santo Tomás Reserva Unico. The winery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Visit a mexican winery this summer: Casa de Piedra:

 This discreet vineyard, located at Km 93.5 in the valley of San Antonio de Las Minas, is considered by some as Mexico's most innovative and ground-breaking winery. Its red Vino de Piedra and white Piedra de Sol are considered among the best wines in Mexico. They are exclusive, expensive and hard to find, but many who have tried them say it's worth it. For more information, visit www.vinoscasadepiedra.com

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Visit a mexican winery this summer: Chateau Camou

Inspired by what he saw in the Monte Xanic winery, Ernesto Alvarez-Murphy Camou took his mother's maiden name, bought 1000 acres in 1995 and created Chateau Camou. Like Monte Xanic, Chateau Camou aims at creating top-quality wines and is considered one of Mexico's most modern and sophisticated wineries. It is best known for El Gran Vino Tinto, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The 1995 vintage won a silver medal in the 1998 Challenge International du Vin in Bordeax, France and the 1997 vintage picked up a silver medal at the 2000 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in Belgium and a gold medal at the 2000 Wines of the Americas fair in Los Angeles. Chateau Camou offers tours Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon for US$3. For more information, visit www.chateau-camou.com.mx

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Friday, August 05, 2011

Visit a mexican winery this summer : Monte Xanic

Monte Xanic: Located near the town of Zarco, 25 miles northeast of Ensenada, this winery is less than two decades old, but has quickly gained a reputation as one of Mexico's finest and is credited with putting the country's wine on the map. The winery produces three lines: Monte Xanic, Calixa and the Gran Ricardo, which has a limited production of 1,500 bottles and is only bottled in Magnums. The winery has received many awards, among them a bronze medal at the 2000 Challenge International du Vin in Blaye-Bourg, France for the 1998 Monte Xanic Chardonnay. The 1995 Monte Xanic Cabernet Sauvignon received a Gold Medal and the Civart Prix d'Excellence in the 1998 challenge. For more information, visit www.montexanic.com.mx

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