I’ll be the first person to admit that wine is a drink one would typically never associate with Mexico, not its consumption nor its production. Tequila and cerveza and mezcal, for sure, but not wine.
The stereotype is well-justified, backed up by historical evidence as well as current habits: According to Vinisfera.com, Mexicans drink about 500 ml of wine per person annually – the equivalent of a couple glasses per year. The purchase/production of Mexican wines is highly taxed by the government (as high as 40% in the past), which no doubt has driven the market to the abundance of beer and tequila options. In any case, most areas of Mexico don’t have the climate to support a wine region, leaving a majority of the population indifferent toward and without connection to the bottles they see on the shelves.
One small region located outside of the Mexican mainland is working hard to change that perspective, an area known as the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California that produces 80% of the country’s wine (about 85 miles south of San Diego). What’s amazing about that statistic is that while 90% of American wine is produced in California, Napa’s contribution is only 4% of that 90%. That says a lot about how small the production of wine is in Mexico in general, compared to the United States, considering the Valle de Guadalupe and Napa Valley are approximately the same size. Napa has approx. 40,000 acres dedicated to wine making, whereas there are only 6,200 acres in all of Baja (including Valle de Guadalupe, San Vicente Valley, and Santo Tomas Valley).
That’s the reality of it – the state of the union, if you will – but let’s not dwell on numbers and history. What about the quality of the wine today? Forget the number of bottles produced – how does it taste? Pretty damn good, I must say, and others agree, sparking the emergence of the first ‘vinotherapy’ spa in Mexico, located in the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos.
It’s called the SOMMA WineSpa, the name a tribute to the Somma Lombardo Wine Region in Italy (and ‘soma’ with one ‘m’ is the Greek word for ‘body’). The spa integrates both the health and celebratory concepts of wine into massage therapy. This includes the creation of their creams – research has revealed the grape to contain excellent exfoliating properties and powerful antioxidants seven times richer in phenols than Vitamin E.
The less scientifically inclined need only understand that a glass of wine is served to every guest after their wine-infused treatment, paired with daily custom appetizers from the chef to be enjoyed on the terrace or in the relaxation rooms. Other services include a private couple’s massage room with hot tub and steam room, Valle de Guadalupe wine tasting, reflexology massages in private beach cabanas, and the Barefoot Elegance Experience, which we discussed yesterday.
Wine spas can be found all over the world, but this is the first one to establish itself in Mexico. Although it opened about five years ago, Spa Manager Francisco Lugo believes it is now fully realizing its potential thanks to the increase in quality and popularity of Mexican wine.
“We want to show that we’re ready to offer this type of service, that our wines in Mexico are good enough,” he said. “Wine is a symbol of celebration, and we want our concept to speak to the same idea.”
The spa is open to guests of the resort and walk-ins alike. For more information, visit the Fiesta Americana Grand’s website.