Don Leo Vineyards in Coahuila. Don Leo Vineyards in Coahuila.

Wine culture maturing but road ahead is long

Politicians say wineries deserve greater government support

Don Leo Vineyards is celebrating 17 years in Coahuila this year but some state officials believe that winemakers should be getting more support from government to permit them to continue to grow.

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Economic Development Secretary José Antonio Gutiérrez Jardón acknowledged that “wine culture in Mexico is undergoing a maturing process” and that the domestic market “has grown at double-digit rates in the last six years.”

But the road ahead is still long, he added, as domestic consumption of wine is a mere one liter per capita annually, whereas in some South American countries the figure is closer to six.

A buoyant wine market would translate into benefits for tourism, and provide a boost to local artisans.

Supporting the local wine industry, said Senator Luis Fernando Salazar, means extolling the virtues of Mexico and Coahuila on the international stage.

He believes Coahuila wines are “first-world class,” a sentiment shared by state Deputy Jesús de León Tello, who told the newspaper Milenio that the wines of his state “are the best in the world.”

He said it was important that visitors travel to see the wineries so they can be recommended around the world.

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The politicians were speaking last Saturday during Don Leo Vineyards’ second annual grape harvest festival. Located in Parras de la Fuente, the vineyard began with one hectare of grapevines.

Parras de la Fuente

Today, the property extends over 50 hectares and is renowned for being the first vineyard to grow Pinot Noir grapes and produce wine with them in Coahuila.

But the wine tradition of the fertile Parras valley dates back to the final years of the 16th century when Jesuit monks made wine from the wild grapes that grew there. The first producer was granted royal authorization by the king of Spain in 1597, and vineyards have been producing since then.

Don Leo Vineyards is among the highest in the world at 2,100 meters above sea level.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • jdwfinger

    Good luck, hope you are profitable.

  • alance

    There are many types of wines from around the world that could be cultivated in Mexico and not just grapevines. There are many different fruit wines and liquors that can be made commercially such as plum wine and blackberry brandy. Universities could train the next generation of wine industry leaders through a major in Viticulture and Enology.

    How many processing plants are there in Mexico that make frozen OJ concentrate for both export and domestic use or making peanut butter?

  • cooncats

    The wine makers would be wise to heed that old saw about, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

  • Mitch Mackenzie

    I wonder how much wine they expect to sell in the US and how much US wine they will buy. So much for free trade helping us? I have had these wines and they tend to be “salty” in flavor. It’s pretty dry in many of these areas.

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