The most anticipated moment at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles international wine competition is the announcement of the following year’s venue. Towards the conclusion of tasting on Sunday, May 14 in Poreč, a charming seaside town in Croatia’s Istria region, all 320 judges turned attentively to the stage to learn that they will be visiting Guanajuato, Mexico for the main CMB session in June 2024. A teaser video showing the landmarks of Leon, San Miguel de Allende, and the surrounding countryside drew applause and cheers at the first sighting of a sombrero-clad vaquero, tipping off the roomful of wine professionals to the destination.
The event’s main session, dedicated to red and white wines, will take place in the modern and industrial city of Leon on June 7th, 8th, and 9th, 2024. This is the first time the competition will be held in North America. Smaller competitions are held in the spring and summer that focus on Sauvignon Blanc, sparkling wine, rosé, Mexican wine, and sweet and fortified wines. At this year’s event in Poreč, 7,500 samples of red and white wine were tasted and rated. The final tally of medals awarded is not yet available.
While Mexico as a wine destination may come as a surprise to some, it is important to realize that the total production of Mexican wine per year (according to the Mexican Wine Council, November 2022) is valued at $2,174,014,500.00 USD with the USA as the main export market. More than 44% of the total 14,580 hectoliters of wine are exported to the USA and 12% are exported to Japan.
Guanajuato has become a leading player in the Mexican wine industry, thanks in part to its rich history and ideal climate for grape cultivation. As the birthplace of Mexican National Independence, Guanajuato has a deep connection to Mexican culture and heritage. It occupies the 5th place at national level in extension of vineyards, with 485 planted hectares and more than 100 projected hectares, which represents 4.5 % of the national area for the production of quality wines. The state is also the fifth-largest grape producer in Mexico and ranks fourth in overall wine production.
Regarding the upcoming CMB competition in Guanajuato, Diego Sinhue Rodríguez Vallejo, Governor of the state, told Forbes, “What you are going to experience is a 360-degree holistic experience. Besides the competition, we want to take advantage of our Unesco World Heritage cities, of the archeological zones that we have, and to also enjoy the state beyond the competition. We want to show you our cultural and artistic richness. We have great artists from Guanajuato such as Diego Rivera and José Alfredo Jiménez.”
Guanajuato, located in the heart of Mexico, is a state with a rich cultural, historical, and architectural heritage that attracts millions of visitors every year. It boasts two World Heritage Cities, Guanajuato capital and San Miguel de Allende, as well as six Magic
Rodríguez Vallejo also pointed out how easy it is for visitors to get to the state, telling Forbes, “Guanajuato has great connectivity to the outside world. We have 20,000 American citizens in San Miguel de Allende, and besides that we have 10 daily flights abroad from the United States to Guanajuato from destinations such as California, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit and Chicago.” Guanajuato International Airport near Leon is served by United Airlines from multiple cities in the USA. Focusing on the wine, he also stated, “We have great wineries such as Cuna de Tierra, which produces Nebbiolo. We have really nice white wines from Dolores Hidalgo and we also have distinguished houses such as Viñedo San Miguel. But we don’t only have wines; we have experiences at the wineries because they have built up experiences with restaurants, hotels and tours that will let you experience a great adventure in Guanajuato.”