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Mexico kicks off premium push on Asia

A focus on premium and boutique wines will be key to Mexico’s success in international markets, believes ProMexico’s trade commissioner for Hong Kong.

Valle de Guadaloupe

While the country has enjoyed growing success in domestic and US markets Mexican wine is still “relatively new” outside of Mexico, including Asia, said Alejandro Garcia, trade commissioner for ProMexico in Hong Kong.

Speaking to the drinks business at a seminar hosted by the trade and investment body at the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair today, Garcia confirmed the body’s renewed efforts to break into new markets, starting with Hong Kong.

“We know that Hong Kong is now a big, important player in the wine industry”, said Garcia. “We know that we have a high quality product but it is new to the Asian market, and the whole of the international market. We have been focused on the domestic and US market previously.”

Mexico’s most important wine producing region is Baja California, home to some 80 wineries that are responsible for producing almost 80% of all Mexican wine production.

Confirming growing interest in Mexican wines, specifically in the UK, Marks & Spencer added two Mexican wines to its range earlier this year; a Quetzal Chenin Chardonnay and Quetzal Malbec from L.A. Cetto winery in the Guadalupe Valley, which is one of the biggest wineries in Baja.

Introducing the wines last month, M&S winemaker Belinda Kleinig noted that while Mexico had been producing wines for more than 500 years, its generally does not produce “inexpensive commercial wines”, instead choosing to maintain premium appeal.

It is this trait that Garcia hopes will help Mexico to establish itself within new markets.

“We can’t compete with the high volumes products and we don’t produce high volumes”, said Garcia. “We want to show the international wine and spirit market that we have more to offer than Tequila and beer. We have a high quality wines and so we are trying to focus on the high quality, premium end of the market.”

While international varieties such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are common, winemaker Camillo Maroni, of Casa Magoni, was keen to point out the region’s other planted varieties, which include Nebbiolo, Zinfandel, Syrah and Viognier.

“Our focus is to expand our markets into countries where Mexican wine is not represented”, said Magoni. “Mexico is relatively new in international markets, even though we have a wine heritage that stretches back 500 years. It is presenting itself as exotic and unknown. We are creating curiosity for tasting our wines. Our quality can compete with any other around the world. Mexican wine has great potential to grow.”

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