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News - 20.05.11

Mexican sommeliers Got to Know More about Argentine Wine

From May 8th to 15th, a group of Mexican sommeliers visited our country. Invited by Wines of Argentina, they toured Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Patagonia

From May 8th to 15th, a group of Mexican sommeliers visited our country. Invited by Wines of Argentina, they toured Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Patagonia. Their visit took place as part of the activities organized by Wines of Argentina with the purpose of educating sommeliers about the Argentine regions and their distinguishing qualities through a program that includes Training Seminars and Tastings by provinces and/or wine regions.

The sommeliers, with wide work experience in several organizations and companies – wine tasters, judges, instructors, and in some cases restaurant owners or agents involved in the sale of wine – were the following: Manuel Orgaz Tapia (Bachelor of Tourism and head sommelier of the Club de Industriales in Mexico City); Leonardo Alejandro Islas Hernández (Certified Sommelier & Bartender, Bar Manager and Cellar Manager); Roberto Carlos Raygoza (Certified Sommelier of the Universidad del Tepeyac); Álvaro Gamboa (General manager, chef and sommelier of Olio Bistro); Esperanza Mendiola (Wine educator) and Narciso Betanzos Medina (Restaurant and Bars business manager in Casa de Sierra Nevada San Miguel de Allende). On this occasion they traveled with Rodolfo Gerschman, PR of Wines of Argentina in Mexico.

The scheduled activities included tastings of wines from wineries of the Northern region, San Juan and La Rioja. During their stay in Mendoza, they made visits to different wineries and held meetings with their business and tourism directors and enologists. For three days they participated in mini wine fairs where they could taste and get to know about new products. They also visited the production facilities in Neuquén and Río Negro.

About our wines:

Esperanza Mendiola came to South America for the first time. She has been working as a sommelier for 15 years, is a teacher, and also owns a wine store and is a restaurant consultant. “We Mexicans appreciate and know quite a bit about Argentine wines. However, we’ve found many more wines here than we knew existed. Now I see that the wine has a face to go with it. It’s not just an Argentine wine; now there’s also a face of hospitality. It’s a beautiful country, and the wine is extraordinary as always. The most important thing was that we got to know about the specific wine production processes, and we were able to understand better the differences between each one of the regions like Luján, Valle de Uco, or Maipú.”

Manuel Orgaz Tapia visited the country for the third time and has been in the beverage business for 29 years. “On this trip I’ve understood that there’s more to Argentina’s wine industry than just Mendoza, and that there are many other winemaking regions in the country. It’s been a trip that has personally nurtured me a lot. In Mexico my clientele is basically traditional, and I’m trying to show them products from other countries. I’ve gone from having 3 to 18 labels on my menu. I’m sure that on this trip it will grow a bit more. Mexicans by tradition drink basically Spanish wine (which makes up 55% of all wine consumed in Mexico). However, there’s a rich variety and much competition since wines from all over the world are marketed. What’s surprised me a lot is the blends, Pinot Noir and Torrontés, which today I find to be a less aggressive and more pleasant wine.”

Roberto Carlos Raygoza has been in the world of wine for 12 years and works with the distribution company Enoteca. Regarding his trip to Argentina, he pointed out, “Wine producers are very close, and they are doing very interesting things in order to promote the country as worldwide producer and not just a brand name. I’ve noticed that Malbec is not everything and also that they’re doing very interesting and dynamic things with other varieties like Bonarda, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. This greatly changes the scene and the concept that we had of Argentina, a country that we used to relate only to Malbec.” Raygoza stated his surprise about Cabernet Franc.

The visitors agreed that, in Mexico, Malbec is consumed par excellence since the partnership Malbec + Argentina has taken quite a strong position. Then, there are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grapes that could be associated the most with Argentina. They also added that “our market is diversified; the vast majority of people don’t know about wines, and access to wine is limited. The connoisseurs – those who consume the greatest quantity of imported as well as locally-produced wine – prefer wines that are more elegant, hearty and intense; full-bodied and oak-aged wines; oak is highly valued.” They held that “Argentine wine is completely accessible,” and foretold an agreement on free trade between Argentina and Mexico to achieve a more streamlined flow of exchange.

Regarding the promotion that Argentina is doing in the Aztec country, they mentioned that the sector is very busy with their product, closely working en bloc. “Word-of-mouth communication is always very important; I’ll talk about what I found, what I saw, and about the quality I found here, which has been extraordinary,” said Manuel Orgaz Tapia.

Market information:

Mexico is the 6th market in the Exports Ranking of Argentine bottled wines according to target market in USD FOB. It also ranks 8th in the sale of 9-liter cases, according to Caucasia’s 2010 statistics. The total exports in 2010 amounted to USD 15,009,587 and reached a volume of 479,486 L in 9-liter cases. The USD FOB/9-liter cases value averages USD 31.30. Comparing the same period of 2009, the USD FOB value varied 23.10 % and the sale of 9-liter cases, 31.8 %.