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.
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.
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.
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)