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Mexico: Our wines as good as yours

I get what seems to be an endless stream of email pronouncements from the press office of Mexico’s Congress. Most I simply delete with barely a glance. But occasionally one catches my eye.
Yesterday, one came over the transom with this headline:

Mexican wines are of equal or greater quality than imports: Deputy Vega Delamadrid

Hmm, interesting. I’ve tasted a few Mexican wines. They are all right. But I’d never consider buying one. It seems they all cost double what an imported wine from, say, Chile or Argentina might cost.

Turns out that Francisco Arturo Vega De Lamadrid, a lawmaker in the Chamber of Deputies, heads a commission to promote vineyards. Yesterday, 20 Mexican winemakers set up shop in the grand central courtyard of the Chamber to present their case.

What has the deputy worked up is that imported wines pay less in taxes than national wines, giving them an advantage. Various taxes and inspection fees add 31 percent to the cost of Mexican wines, he said, while Spanish vintners pay only 14 percent tax in their domestic market. In Chile, vintners pay 25 percent and in Argentina 19 percent.

The deputy said only 30 percent of wine consumption in Mexico is of domestic brands while 70 percent is imported.

Mexico’s wine production in 2008 was worth only $140 million, he said.

No doubt that Mexico could give a big boost to production. It’ll take time, though, to boost quality. And it is a far stretch to say they are as good as foreign wines. 


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I think if you paid a visit to the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, Mr. Vega's home state, you might change your mind about Baja California wines!!

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This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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