Mexico offers an intriguing opportunity for wine sales as its middle class gets wealthier and more engaged with the category
It’s a place we associate with spicy food, cold beer, and fortifying slugs of tequila. Wine doesn’t fit into the stereotype at all, but – like so much in Mexico – this is beginning to change.
True, per capita consumption is currently just one bottle a year, imported wine is fairly expensive, and knowledgeable consumers are relatively thin on the ground. But with an expanding middle class, the number of consumers who are engaging with the wine category is growing.
Tourist areas like Cancun and Acapulco might be expected to sit at the centre of any mini-boom in wine drinking, but a new Wine Intelligence report on the country notes progress in all major cities of Mexico. Domestic wines account for just over a quarter of the market, with Chile and Spain leading the way among imports. France volumes are much lower, because despite the high awareness it enjoys, French wine is largely seen as a treat and consumed less frequently. Italy is making rapid inroads, and Argentina and the US are also pretty well established.
Mexicans tend to think of wine as being red, to be enjoyed infrequently with a meal or as part of a special occasion, not part of their day-to-day lives. But younger consumers are showing signs of going a stage further.
Persuading more Mexicans to enjoy more types of wines, on more drinking occasions, is one of the main challenges for anyone with a stake in the market. But with 70% of Mexican imported wine drinkers stating they enjoy trying new and different styles of wine, there seems to be a clear opportunity.
As Mexico’s GDP grows, and the country addresses some of the economic and security problems that have held the country back for so long, wine drinking is likely to continue its upward trajectory. There is an opportunity for wine marketers not just to come along for the ride, but to influence the direction of travel. The rewards, in an upwardly mobile country of 112 million people, could be significant.