Salud! 7 Interesting Facts About Mexican Wines

Published on July 19, 2021

Are you a wine lover? Do you like discovering new kinds of wine? Well, you’re in luck: you’re about to learn all about Mexican wines! While Mexico is mostly known for its cervezas (beers), tequila, and delicious cocktails, in recent years it has started producing high quality wines in a variety of styles and blends that have been getting the attention of wine connoisseurs around the globe. But its history of wine production isn’t new: it goes back hundreds of years.

To get you better acquainted with Mexican wines, we have gathered some interesting facts that span their history, geography, and production. This knowledge is sure to enrich your experience when you try a Mexican wine for the first time!

Spanish conquistadors produced the first Mexican wines

The first time wine was produced in Mexico was in the early 1500s, following the victory of Hernán Cortés and his fellow conquistadors over the Aztecs. While celebrating the conquest, the Spanish quickly exhausted their supply of wines they brought from Spain. To replenish the supply, Cortés ordered each colonist to plant at least 1000 grapevines.

Mexican wines did so well they were a threat to Spanish wines

As it turned out, Cortés was on to something. The wines produced in Mexico from Spanish grapes had become so successful that they started to threaten Spain’s wine exports. As a result, in 1595 King Philip II of Spain ordered the production of wine in Mexico to stop. The only wine produced in Mexico after that was sacramental wine, made by Jesuits and other religious groups. It took until the 20th century to revitalize the Mexican wine industry.

People in Mexico only drink 2 glasses of wine a year

Although interest in wine in Mexico has grown over the last decades, especially in large cities and tourist destinations, Mexico is not known for its wine consumption. The average person in Mexico drinks 2 glasses of wine a year. One reason for that is that wine is expensive: the Mexican government imposes a tax of 40% per bottle of wine, so wine has a hard time competing with beer and tequila.

Mexican wine is gaining in popularity in Mexico

While most wine consumed in Mexico is imported from places like Europe, Australia and Chile, consumption of domestic wines is on the rise. Currently, 40% of wines consumed in Mexico are local wines. In the past, high-end restaurants in Mexico would only serve imported wines; but as the quality and reputation of Mexican wines increase, newer restaurants are starting to include domestic wines on their menus.

Mexican wine is produced in three main regions

There are three main regions in Mexico where wine is produced. The majority is produced in the north – Baja California and Sonora. The rest is produced is La Laguna, a region comprising Coahuila and Durango, and in the central states of Zacatecas, Aguascalientes and Querétaro. All these regions are characterized by a warm climate.

Mexico has its own Napa Valley

Valle de Guadalupe, a valley in Baja California, has been dubbed “the Napa Valley of Mexico”. Its warm sunny days, cool nights, granite soils and proximity to the ocean makes this area one of few in the world where world-class grapes can be grown.

Fewer restriction make Mexican wines a unique testing ground

The wine industry in Mexico is not as heavily restricted as it is in other areas of the world, which allows producers and winemakers much more flexibility. They can experiment with different grapes, styles and blends, which leads to greater variety in the wines produced. Unique blends that can only be produced in Mexico include Cabernet-Nebbiolo and Sauvignon Blanc-Chardonnay.

Interested in trying one of Mexico’s unique wines? Head to your local liqueur store and check them out!