Wine Country

Valle Guadalupe, Baja California © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa - reo

In recent years Mexico has gained attention  for its prime wine offerings. A two-centuries-long wine tradition in Baja California in particular.   Internationally acclaimed wineries are attracting visitors to the Guadalupe Valley, with more than 50 producers offer a taste of some 40 varietals. The Guadalupe Valley is just one of seven valleys between Ensenada and Tecate that are dedicated to the cultivation of grapes. The valleys produce 90% of all Mexican wines, or 1.2 millions cases of wine a year, of which 25% is exported abroad. The Guadalupe Valley, located  15 minutes inland from the Ensenada coast,  hosts the biggest event in the region “The Vendimia”.

Wine Barrels, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa - reo

Tequila and Mezcal

Agave, Jalisco © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa - reo

Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave or maguey  plant native to Mexico.

Studies reveal that mezcal production goes as far as 1500 B.C. and was made in different regions of México.   In the 19th century the town of Tequila introduced a modern and industrialized way to produce mezcal.  By the 1940s Mexican authorities had separated the tequila from mezcal and began regulating its production.

Working in an Agave Field, Tequila, Jalisco © ARIJIM
Jalisco © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa - reo

Five Key Differences between Tequila and Mezcal

1. Agave

Tequila agave species can only be used for tequila blue weber variety, while for mezcal production 14 different species can be used and can even be mixed.

2. Denomination of Origin

Currently a beverage can  can only hold the name of tequila if it is made in these 5 states: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Mezcal, on the other hand, has denomination of origin in 9 states: Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas and Michoacán.

3. Exports

During 2015, the United States, Germany, Spain, France and Japan were the main consumers of tequila, since to these countries 182.9 million liters of the drink were exported. In that same year, the United States, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom were the major importers of mezcal, with a total of 1.9 million liters.

4. Composition

In the composition of tequila there may be up to 49 percent reducing sugars and other compounds (except the 100 percent variety). In contrast, mezcal is always made 100 percent agave.

5. Process

Tequila is usually made in an industrial way, with ovens and copper stills, while mezcal is made in artisanal way  with underground ovens and even with the use of animals in the process.

Agave Field, Jalisco © CPTM- Photo: Ricardo Espinosa - reo

For more information, check out these sites:

Tequila Magical Town

Traditional Mezcalera