Wines & Beer
Mexican wine and wine making began with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, when they brought vines from Europe to modern day Mexico, the oldest wine-growing region in the Americas. Although there were indigenous grapes before the Spanish conquest, the Spaniards found that Spanish grapevines also did very well in the colony of New Spain (Mexico) and by the 17th century wine exports from Spain to the New World fell. In 1699, Charles II of Spain prohibited wine making in Mexico, with the exception of wine for Church purposes. From then until Mexico’s Independence, wine was produced in Mexico only on a small scale. After Independence, wine making for personal purposes was no longer prohibited and production rose, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many other European immigrant groups helped with the comeback of wine in Mexico. However, the Mexican Revolution set back wine production, especially in the north of the country. Wine production in Mexico has been rising in both quantity and quality since the 1980s, although competition from foreign wines and 40% tax on the product makes competing difficult within Mexico. Mexico is not traditionally a wine-drinking country, but rather prefers beer, tequila and mezcal. Interest in Mexican wine, especially in the major cities and tourists areas (along with the introduction into the US on a small scale), has grown along with Mexican wines’ reputation throughout the world. Many Mexican companies have received numerous awards. Various wine producers from Mexico have won international awards for their products.
There are three major wine producing areas in Mexico, with the Baja California area producing 90% of Mexico’s wine. This area is promoted heavily forenotourism with the “Ruta del Vino” (Wine Route), which connects over fifty wineries with the port of Ensenada and the border and the annual Vendimia harvest festival.