Mexico continues to struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19, with over 400,000 accumulated cases and 46,000 deaths. Mexico City remains at orange, the second highest level of alert under the national traffic light system for establishing economic and mobility restrictions, and the rest of the country’s 32 states are at either red, the highest alert level, or orange. The level of business activity remains substantially reduced with respect to pre-COVID levels and no significant improvement is foreseeable in the near term. Continue reading Mexican economy not 100% dead just yet
A recent story in Reforma cites information from the Mexican Wine Council in reporting that consumption of wine in Mexico has weathered the steep economic downturn remarkably well. The story maintains that while wine sales in restaurants have dropped 25% so far this year, sales in wine shops and liquor stores are up 35% and supermarket wine sales are up 30%. This has to be a testament to the yeoman-like labor of the country’s wine producers, importers and distributors over the past ten years to boost consumption of wine in the country. Although Mexico is the oldest wine producing country in the Americas, wine has never been a traditional part of the culture here. In recent years, however, Mexico’s wine industry has really hit the salt mines in an effort to democratize wine consumption to include the commercially attractive middle class market. The road is long and steep: A 2005 report on world per capita wine consumption by The Wine institute ranks Mexico at number 161 out of 189 countries, far behind the hedonistic sybarites of Burkina Faso, Uzbekistan and the Faroe islands, for example. The good news, though, is that the trend is unmistakably upward. Although domestic wine production still serves only about one third of the market, Mexico’s wineries, concentrated in the Baja California peninsula, have made tremendous strides in quality and are gaining recognition beyond the country’s borders. The good ones are still on the spendy side though, and this will continue to be a tough obstacle for both domestic and imported wines to overcome in the battle to gain the hearts and minds of the middle class Mexican consumer. Anyone who buys wine on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border will notice right away how much more expensive the same bottle is south of the Rio Bravo. A quick price check, for example, reveals that a bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel costs about US$8.00 at BevMo in California, while the same bottle will cost you US$18.00 at the La Naval wine shop in Mexico City, which has pretty good prices by local standards. Likewise, a bottle of Wolf Blass Shiraz Yellow Label generally costs about US$10.00 in the United States and runs about US$22.00 in Mexico, and so on. I haven’t seen any bottles of Two Buck Chuck on the shelves here yet, but frankly I think I’d be scared to drink any wine that costs under 30 pesos in Mexico.
There is lots of information on Mexican wine on the web, here’s one place to start: www.bajawine.info