Known for tequila, underrated for wine: Mexico

We have already taken you to many countries in South America on our blog and introduced you to the respective stories, growing regions and grape varieties of the wine. Today we come to the least known but the country of origin of viticulture on the entire American continent. It’s about Mexico, which geographically separates South America and North America. Come with us on a virtual journey west in this post and let yourself be enchanted by the Mexican wine tradition!

Landschaft Mexiko

The American cradle of wine is Mexico

Mexico is often considered the cradle of viticulture in all of America. The Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés came to Mexico around 1520 and found well-known vines here, which, however, were not used by the inhabitants of the country for winemaking. Without further ado, he ordered the cultivation of wine: ten vines should be planted annually for each slave. The real success of viticulture in past centuries, however, is due to the monks who began to produce wine from 1600. Casa Madero, founded in 1597, still exists today and is considered the oldest winery on the American continent.

Viticulture prohibited

When the Spanish Charles II noticed around 1700 how successful viticulture was in Mexico, he forbade Mexicans from making wine – except for church purposes. In doing so, he wanted to boost Spain’s wine export business, because Mexico had become too strong a competitor. Very little wine was grown until Mexico’s independence and the country was quickly forgotten as a winemaker. 

When Mexico was finally independent from Spain, wine production increased again, but could not be successful quickly due to the Mexican Revolution, among other things.

Since the years from 1980, however, wine production and wine quality in Mexico have increased steadily. However, doing business in their own country is difficult for many Mexican winemakers: there are many foreign wines on the market and wine is taxed 40%! In addition, Mexicans often prefer beer or tequila – and, in our opinion, often don’t value the country’s wonderful wines too much.

Climatically diverse: the wine-growing regions in Mexico

The large country has many different climatic conditions: from plateaus to granite floors in flat valleys. The climate is constant, but it is hot during the day and cold at night. The driest areas only receive around 200mm of rain per year, which is why they are almost always irrigated. In Mexico there are the main growing areas for wine. Most of these are in the north of the country, as the – south of the country is too close to the equator for viticulture.

  • Baja California: three quarters of all Mexican wines are grown here. The region borders the USA to the north and thus continues Californian viticulture along the coast to the south. The wine center of the region is the city of Ensenada. There are over 30 winemakers in the vicinity of the city! In the mild climate, varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay of very high quality thrive in Baja California. In the summer it sometimes gets very hot and there is no rainfall, so some vineyards have to be watered manually.
  • Coahuila: Mexican viticulture has its origins in this region, because this is where the Parras Valley with the Casa Madero winery is located. Coahuila is on a higher level than Baja California. In the region, wines are planted at an altitude of 1500 meters.
  • Aguascalientes: Even in this rather unknown region, wine is grown at high levels.

Modernity over tradition: Mexican wines today

Today, some Mexican wines are quite competitive internationally thanks to investors who support Mexican wineries. Most of the wineries are equipped with modern equipment. The know-how comes from neighboring California, where the wine industry comes from Mexican workers, who themselves often come from Baja California. Many of them entered the local wine industry with their work experience after their return to China.

Try wine from Mexico!

We carry a lot of wines from Mexico from various wineries.

Are you interested in the wine and want to try it first? We would be happy to put together a Mexico package for you, please send us a message at:

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