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Sunday, June 24, 2012
Mexico: Wine industry begins to soar
MEXICO CITY – The dry and barren landscapes of the Mexican state of Baja California – where dust blows through with little thought for those caught in its path – do not necessarily lend themselves to the notion of fertility.
It’s a land where open views are often interrupted only by rocky interludes or a solitary cactus.
Yet this dusty canvas is also home to one of Mexico’s homegrown successes.
Baja California has a temperate climate, with warm days and mild evenings, making for the perfect environment for wine production.
Despite favorable conditions, however, the Mexican wine industry still is relatively young. Many vineyards have been in operation only since the 1980s or later and are just beginning to find their feet.
The sale of Mexican wine began slowly, but in the past five years the industry has experienced something of a boom. Of the wine purchased within Mexico, three out of 10 bottles are made with national produce, according to wine aficionado website Vinisfera.com .
Efforts have been made to break down negative stereotypes regarding wine, making it more attractive to a wider market, though there is still a lot of work to be done in order to help nurture a stronger culture of wine-drinking nationwide.
As a result, the number of wine drinkers has doubled in the past five years – a boom wine critic Rafael Ibarra said “has largely been stimulated by young people.”
“Previously, those who consumed wine regularly were over the age of 50,” he added.
Mexican vineyards, which often concentrate on producing more boutique wines at the upper end of the price range, find themselves competing against more affordable foreign imports.
As a consequence, those buying wine have to ask themselves why buy a Mexican brand for US$20 per bottle when they can find a foreign brand for about US$10?