Friday, November 24, 2023

Prestigious wine competition returns to Guanajuato

Five years ago, Mexico hosted its first national edition of one of the wine world’s most important events: the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. The competition’s first Mexico edition, held in the state of Guanajuato, was one of the most important wine competitions in Mexico to date.

On December 1–3, the competition circles back to Guanajuato, this time to the beautiful town of Mineral de Pozos.

The return of the Mexico edition of the prestigious competition here is clearly a recognition of Guanajuato’s growing importance in Mexico’s winemaking industry.

As the third largest wine-producing region in the country, the state is vying to be an important player in the national wine market. Today Guanajuato has 46 wineries in production.

The state is interested in promoting such world-class competitions in an attempt to revitalize the economy after the effects of COVID-19. Wine tourism has become an important element of that economic revitalization.

Guanajuato vineyard
Guanajuato’s vineyards in the Bajío region are the third-largest producer of wine in the country. Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

It’s not a bad bet. Guanajuato is not only gaining rapid recognition for its wine region, it’s also growing rapidly: according to Sandra Vázquez, Guanajuato’s tourism marketing head, the number of wineries and land dedicated to cultivating grapes in Guanajuato is expected to increase a hundredfold in the next five years. Also in agreement with Vázquez is Carlos Borboa, director of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles México edition.

Mexico in general is experiencing a high point in its winemaking. Next year, Mexico will also host the 43rd World Congress of Wine, one of the most important global events for the industry, put on by the Mexican Winemakers’ Council.

The increasing importance of Mexico in winemaking can also be deduced from the sommeliers who have been chosen as judges in the Concours’ Mexico edition. They are a laundry list of international wine celebrities, including Doug Frost, director of Echolans Winery in Oregon and president of the Best USA Sommelier Association.

Other judges include a who’s who of wine experts, ranging from sommeliers, denomination of origin directors for wine regions around the world, respected industry journalists, winemakers, and haute cuisine restaurateurs.

Among those representing Mexico include Laura Santander, Mexico’s best sommelier of 2019; Andrés Amor, Mexico director for the Rías Baixas wine-producing region of Galicia, Spain; and Raúl Vega, owner of gastronomy tour company Terravid and the Mexico City’s Mesa 19 wine restaurant/club.

Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato
This year’s Mexico edition of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles will be held in the picturesque Guanajuato town of Mineral de Pozos. Government of Mexico

The competition will launch on November 30 in Mexico City at the Concours’ own affiliated Wine Bar, located next to the Marriot Mexico City Reforma Hotel in the Juárez neighborhood, before moving to the La Antigua Escuela Modelo in Mineral de Pozos, where three days of judging begins.

The Wine Bar is open year-round, incidentally, and offers much more than wine: customers can also partake in mezcals, sotols and many other high-end Mexican liquors. It even offers excellent coffees from Puebla and Veracruz and teas and infusions for non-drinkers in your party.

It also offers a menu of tapas, small plates and finger food, as well as some of the country’s best chocolate from Alma Chocolate, whose exquisite cacao truffles are an excellent pairing with the bar’s drink list.

Sommelier Diana Serratos writes from Mexico City.

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