ALFREDO AZCARATE VARELA
THE BAJA POST/EDITOR
Several media outlets from Baja California informed that, according to a PROVINO press release, as of June 20th the reopening of 17 to 20 vineyards and boutique hotels operations, has begun, following the health and sanitary protocols to start reactivation of one of the most important economic activities of Baja and Mexico and one of the most important agricultural productions in the country (grape growing and wine making).
Wine production and Eco touristic activities, as well as the so called VENIDIMIA festivities, have turned Baja California viticulture into a magnet attracting national and international tourists, which had suddenly stopped last March, when due to the COVID19 sanitary crisis, quarantine, confinement and social distancing were implemented, but now even when Baja California is still on red light, Guadalupe Valley seems to awaken and will gradually return to activity.
However, we will have to wait and see how the health emergency situation evolves in order to see how fast the valley touristic servers reactivate, companies that create jobs and attract international currency to Baja and to Mexico, from tourist hailing from all over the world who, with the proper sanitary measures and filters, are expected to start visiting the vineyard land of the State and Mexico.
Grape growing and wine making are an important activity for Baja California, nevertheless, the State faces several challenges, such the taxing issue, 37% of each Mexican wine bottle price goes to pay taxes, and the per capita consumption is 0.65 liters by person (not even a quarter gallon) it´s a crop that requires labor, thus, it creates jobs besides the intense Eco touristic activities, but Mexico is not among the 13 main Worldwide winery leaders.
About 90% of Mexican wine is produced in Baja California, in Ensenada, mainly in the Guadalupe and Santo Tomas valleys, according to a study by the National University of Mexico (UNAM in Spanish) vine was first brought to Mexico by the “conquistadores” and Hernán Cortés ordered Spaniards settling in the so called New Spain, to sow one thousand Spanish and autochthone vines for each hundred indigenous slaves they owned, while there are stories that mention Leif Eriksson, a Viking that allegedly arrived to America almost 500 years before Columbus, as the one person that brought vine plants to America (namely Canada).
Be it as it may, it’s a scientific fact that a “stripe” that includes part of Baja California and California, has the ideal terrain and weather conditions for vineyards and wine making, so Mexico the USA, Chile and Argentina are the continents leaders in this ever growing industry which, besides its economic value has also become a great tourist attraction.