How Was Wine Introduced to Mexico?

Even though wine is not usually associated with Mexican culture, this drink has a vast history in the Mexican territory.

Recetario Doméstico Vitauva (1956) by Vinícola Reusense, S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Wine in Mexico

The history of Mexican wine begins with the Conquest, when the Spanish brought with them wine and strains of European Vitis vinifera and promoted their cultivation.

Misión de Santo Tomás. Folleto (1938) by Bodegas de Santo Tomás, S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

For many years, Mexican wine consumption was very limited and focused on ecclesiastical and local uses, since regions with climates suitable for its production, specifically the states of Coahuila and Baja California, were far from the capital, making its distribution very expensive.

Compañía Destiladora de Vinos y Licores. Placa de impresión (1901) by Compañía Destiladora, S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

During the Porfiriato period (1870-1910) there were plans to promote the farming of grapevines all over Mexico, but they were not completed due to the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution (1910).

Moscatel Joselito (1943) by Bodegas de San Miguel, S. de R.L.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

The First Wine Companies

After the Mexican Independence (1810-1821), and throughout the 19th century there were attempts to make the Mexican wine industry prosper, but they were insufficient.

Bodegas de Santo Tomás. Folleto (1940) by Distribuidora de Productos Mexicanos, S. A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

For example, Bodegas Ferriño, founded in 1860, by Miguel Ferriño Lander, an immigrant from southern Italy, or Bodegas de Santo Tomás, founded in 1888 by Francisco Andonegui in Ensenada and acquired later, in 1931, by Abelardo L Rodríguez. 

Madero XXXXX. Brandy (1947) by Casa Madero, S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

In 1893, Evaristo Madero, grandfather of the future President Francisco I. Madero, bought the Hacienda de San Lorenzo and named it Casa Madero.

Secador de botellas. Catálogo Ilustrado Número 18 (1902) by Artículos Mundet para Embotelladores S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

The Role of Immigrants in Mexican Vineyards

In 1906, one hundred Russian families settled in the Guadalupe Valley, cultivating vineyards and making their own wine. In 1928 Angelo Cetto founded Bodegas L.A. Cetto in Tijuana.

Encorchadoras. Catálogo Ilustrado Número 18 (1902) by Artículos Mundet para Embotelladores S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

In the 1940s, in response to the strict protectionist laws imposed by President Lázaro Cárdenas, large foreign producers such as Pedro Domecq from Spain and the Martel house from France established themselves in the country. These producers brought important investments and technology which boosted the local wine industry. 

Extractos Patentados "Brambila". Formulario de Vinicultura (1932) by Aureliano Brambila y SánchezMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

In 1948, the Asociación Nacional de Vitivinicultores (National Association of Wine Growers) was formed with 15 wineries, however, in the eighties, wine production stagnated thanks to the signing of the Acuerdo General sobre Aranceles Aduaneros y Comercio (General Agreement on Customs and Trade Tariffs) that allowed the reduction of import tariffs for wines on foreign liquors which as a result, invaded the Mexican market.

Aguardiente Superior de Parras (1800) by Autor no identificadoMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

Despite the fact that wine production in Mexico is the oldest in America, its development has been anything but steady.

Cava Los Reyes (1951) by Pedro Domecq, S.A.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

The growth of Mexican Wine industry has been fragmented, with isolated producers and moments of stagnation until the end of the 1980s, when its rebirth stage began, showing results up to this day.

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