Tag Archives: wine country

A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine Country


A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine Country
As seen on Forbes Magazine, Amanda Arnold , Contributor

Just a two-hour drive south of San Diego across the Mexican border lies a peaceful Baja California valley brimming with ripened grapes, delicious wines and gourmet cuisine concocted from the freshest of fresh local ingredients. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors take a peek at Mexico’s lovely—and somewhat little known—Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley), a wine country destination screaming for a late summer getaway of the great outdoors, delicious food and plenty of vino.

Interested in trying a sweet alternative to beer? Venture over to our blog to explore Washington’s cider scene.

A Taste Of Mexico's Wine Country

A Taste Of Mexico’s Wine CountryThe Fiestas de la Vendimia, a celebration of the annual harvest, runs from Aug. 2 through 18 this year, which is why we recommend a late summer visit to the Valle de Guadalupe.

Where To Play
The Fiestas de la Vendimia, a celebration of the annual harvest, runs from Aug. 2 through 18 this year, which is why we recommend a late summer visit to the Valle de Guadalupe. Many of the valley’s wineries participate in the festivities by hosting special events: This year, there’s a wine pairing dinner at oft raved about restaurant Laja with special guest and prominent Mexican chef Daniel Ovadia on Aug. 7; a street party at the Plaza de las Artes in Ensenada on Aug. 8; and a wine pairing dinner at Viñas de Garza on Aug. 15—to name just a few of the happenings.

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Mexico’s Wine Country in Valle de Guadalupe


Head to Valle de Guadalupe for upscale wineries, chic hotels and a south-of-the-border answer to the French Laundry.

WE WERE WATCHING the kids swim in his backyard pool in Los Angeles when my friend Juan Carlos, who grew up in Tijuana, began raving about a life-altering bowl of chicken soup he’d recently eaten.

Mexico's Wine Country in Valle De Guadalupe

Mexico’s Wine Country in Valle De Guadalupe

“It was at the Mexican version of the French Laundry,” he said. “You know—a fancy, farm-to-table place in the middle of Mexican wine country.”

I had no idea, I sheepishly admitted, there was wine country in Mexico, nor anything resembling the French Laundry. But Valle de Guadalupe is a Mediterranean microclimate in Baja California where wine has been produced for more than a century, and it’s in the midst of the kind of winemaking and tourism renaissance that Napa Valley experienced in the 1970s.

A decade ago, the area was mostly known in the wine scene for being home to L.A. Cetto, a huge maker of mid-market wines—the Mexican version of E. & J. Gallo. Today Valle de Guadalupe boasts scores of artisanal wineries; the region’s wine has improved and become trendy enough to be served in fashionable Mexico City restaurants. Top chefs are opening eateries in the area, and several stylish boutique hotels have been built in the past few years.

It sounded irresistible, so a few months later, I found myself caravanning, with Juan Carlos, his wife and my husband in one car, another couple of friends in theirs, across the Mexican border and south on the Tijuana-Ensenada Cuota toward Valle de Guadalupe, a 3½-hour ride from L.A.

We ditched our plan to drive directly to the valley when Juan Carlos pointed out Bar Villa Ortega, his favorite spot in Puerto Nuevo, for Pacific lobster, placemat-size flour tortillas and micheladas—pressed lemon over ice with beer in a salt-rimmed glass. We sat on a spacious covered patio built on a bluff, making us feel like we were eating on the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

We arrived in the valley with our bellies full of lobster and ears full of mariachi music. Flanked by low sierras, a carpet of glimmering green vines heavy with fruit stretched over the valley, interrupted by the occasional winery. These varied in style from sleek, modern structures to rustic haciendas. If it hadn’t been for the dirt roads and the lack of a chic town square, I would have thought I was in Sonoma. read more »

Valle de Guadalupe By Lorena Mancilla

Written By Lorena Mancilla – San Diego Reader

Imagine a valley filled with vineyards surrounded by olive trees. The weather is dry and warm and there’s hardly any wind. There are only a couple of paved roads and people mostly walk or drive on dirt roads bordered with shrubbery. The sounds and sights of the country are subtle: birds, mountains, desert plants — wait, there’s also drama: a turkey vulture devours a squirrel. Oh, well.

Valle De Guadalupe

Valle De Guadalupe

One could be standing in California or it could be Italy, but this place is Mexico; actually, it’s Ensenada, but without the breeze of the Pacific. The place is Valle de Guadalupe, a region with a Mediterranean climate where 80 percent of Mexican wine is produced. The valley is the same size as Napa Valley, but Napa has 40,000 acres of vineyards. Compared to other regions, Mexico’s production is still small. In all of the different wine-producing regions of Baja, including San Vicente Valley, Guadalupe Valley, and Santo Tomas Valley, only 6200 acres are used for wine production.

The history of Guadalupe Valley has been touched superficially by few historians; the original population was indigenous, mainly Kumeyaay. There were also Dominican missionaries, but they didn’t stay for long. In 1904, a group of Molokan Russians colonized parts of the valley and with them came the first grapevines.

During the 1950s, groups of farmers demanded farming land from the government and created ejidos. The ejidos were groups that collectively owned land, which was given to them by the government in order to promote agriculture. At the beginning of the ejido era in the valley, they grew alfalfa, wheat, and other crops. In 1927, an Italian named Angelo Cetto came to Baja California and started to explore the valley. He grew different kinds of grapes and founded a company that mainly focused on the production of brandy. In the 1940s, Cetto produced one commercial wine, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that the company began concentrating on wine. The serious wine industry in Baja is fairly young, 20 years old. read more »