Tourist Influx Raises Fears for Mexico’s Wine Heartland
Agence France Presse
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October 31, 2022

Jorge Osiel Lopez prepares wine barrels at the Anatolia winery in Mexico's Guadalupe Valley (Guillermo Arias/AFP)

When Pau Pijoan began winemaking in Mexico's Guadalupe Valley it was home to little more than a dozen producers. Two decades later, he fears it is becoming a victim of its own success.

The growing popularity of Mexico's wine heartland in Baja California has brought an influx of tourists -- and with them a proliferation of hotels, restaurants and other development.

"When I bought land, there were 15 to 18 wine producers. Today, there are more than 200," said Pijoan, a veterinarian by trade.

"We are responsible for this brutal and disorderly growth typical of Mexico," he said.

Mexico, better known for its tequila and mezcal spirits, is ranked 35th among world wine producers, according to the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV).

The Guadalupe Valley produces around three-quarters of the country's wine, but vintners fear for the future of their picturesque corner of northwestern Mexico due to tourism and climate change.

They have launched a campaign called "Let's save the valley," warning that discos, mass concerts and other leisure activities threaten the vines that bear grape varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay.

"Between 2014 and 2019, we lost 18 percent of agricultural land. If we continue on this trend, in 2037 there will be no more arable land," they said.

Guadalupe Valley must not become a new Tulum, they added, referring to a once-sleepy fishing village in the Yucatan peninsula that has become a tourist magnet.

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