11 surprising facts about Mexican wines

Are you ready to learn something new and fun about Mexican wines today? Here are 11 awesome facts about Mexican wines that most people don’t know about (but they should)!

Whether you’re just getting started with Mexican wines or you’re a connoisseur who wants to improve your wine trivia, this will be a fun read! 

1. Mexico is home to the oldest winery in the Americas

Mexico is home to Casa Madero, the oldest operating winery in the Americas (including South, Central, and North America). 

The winery was founded in 1597 in Parras de la Fuente, a town in the northern Mexico state of Coahuila. The winery is still operating today and is one of the most recognizable Mexican wine brands.

2. Mexico’s yearly wine consumption per capita is 1.2 liters

According to Hans Backhoff, president of the Mexican Wine Council, the wine consumption per capita in Mexico has increased six times in the past 15 years going from 180 milliliters in 2006 to 1.2 liters in 2020. Yes, that’s right – only 1.2 liters (about 6 glasses) a year! 

Check out how the wine consumption per capita in Mexico compares to other countries around the world.

Wine Consumption in mexico

3. Only 5% of Mexican wines is exported

Mexico has a young wine industry and the production is still small. According to Hans Backhoff, president of the Mexican Wine Council, as of 2021 just a small 5% share of Mexican wines gets exported.

4. Valle de Guadalupe produces 2/3 of all Mexican wine

If you’re unsure where to start with Mexican wines, Valle de Guadalupe wines is definitely the way to go! Also referred to as “Baja” and “Guadalupe Valley,” the area is responsible for about 2/3 of all wine production in Mexico. 

The other main Mexican wine regions are Coahuila (8.5%), Querétaro (4%) and Guanajuato (2.3%). 

Source: Consejo Mexicano Vitivinícola

5. Taxes make up at least 42% of the cost of your wine in Mexico

This is probably the saddest fact about the Mexican wine industry – taxes are incredibly high. Wines are taxed at 16% IVA (Impuesto sobre valor agregado) plus a luxury tax of anywhere from 26.5% to 30% IEPS (Impuesto Especial de Productos y Servicios). 

Just to give you an idea of how that compares to other countries, in the United States the wine sales taxes consist of state sales taxes, city and county rates. The average wine taxes in California are 8.2%, in Oregon 0% and in New York 8.6%.

6. Women are the top wine consumers in Mexico

wine consumption in mexico - women

Hans Backhoff mentioned this in an interview for the Lider Empresarial Magazine in 2021, and we were surprised to find it out. Even though for years wine businesses have focused their efforts in the male market, recent data shows that women are the top wine consumers in Mexico, totalling  55% of the wine consumption in the country. 

7. Only 29% of the wine consumed in Mexico is produced locally

According to data from the Mexican Wine Council, only 29.3% of the wine consumed in Mexico is produced locally, the remaining portion is supplied by imported wines.

The main reason for this is because the wine production in Mexico is so small that it doesn’t have enough product to supply the Mexican market. 

8. Mexican Nebbiolo wines are a must! 

mexican nebbiolo

If you like full-body red wines, you can’t go wrong with Mexican Nebbiolo.

The native grape from Piemonte, which is the star of famous Italian wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco, is considered by winemakers the most representative grape of Mexico, and the one that adapted best to the terroir, especially in Valle de Guadalupe. 

Mexican Nebbiolo wines tend to be fuller, less tannic, and more fruit-forward than their Italian counterparts. Due to the warmer climate, Mexican Nebbiolo also tends to have a riper, darker fruit flavor than the Italian ones.

9. Mexico doesn’t have any wine appellation or denomination 

If you usually buy French wines or Italian wines, you’re familiar with the A.O.C and D.O.C.G systems those countries use to regulate wine production.

Mexico, similar to most new world wine regions, doesn’t have denominations or appellations. That means there aren’t many rules and regulations when it comes to wine production. 

It might seem a bit too relaxed at first look, but the truth is that it allows for more creativity and experimentation. Mexico is still finding its identity when it comes to wine, so the freedom to try new grapes and winemaking techniques is essential for winemakers who need to push boundaries and try to achieve the best wine the Mexican terroir can produce. 

Source: Forbes Mexico

10. Mexico produces excellent natural wines

cava garambullo -mexican natural wine producer
cava garambullo -mexican natural wine producer

Natural wines are still really fringe in Mexico, but there are at least 10 Mexican natural wine producers (that we know of).

We work directly with a few Mexican natural wine producers, who release world-class natural wines vintage after vintage. 

11. Only 10 grapes represent 70% of Mexican wines

10 super popular grapes represent more than ⅔ of the wine production in Mexico, with Cabernet Sauvignon wines leading the pack at 20%.  

Red wine grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon 20%, Merlot 8%, Syrah 6%, Nebbiolo 6%, Tempranillo 5%, Zinfandel 4% and Cabernet Franc 3%

White wine grapes: Chardonnay 8%, Chenin Blanc 5% and Sauvignon Blanc 4%