With over 50 wineries, numerous delectable restaurants, and a handful of small B & B’s, The Valle de Guadalupe is the next big wine destination.
In 2014 I attended the San Diego Food and Wine Festival, and to my surprise a lot of the wines hailed from boutique wineries in Baja California. And even more surprising, they were incredibly tasty. Big, rich, robust reds layered with flavors that complimented the little nibbles of food i was tasting. Since then I have been intrigued by this little delicious wine paradise.
Over labor day we packed up the car and made the short hour and a half drive south (coming from San Diego, CA). With no stops at the border we easily drove through and hopped onto the Mex1 1D. This Highway has a few tolls, however the views were nothing short of stunning. Cliffs with sheer drops into the Pacific as it swirled from dark blues to cerulean hues as the waves hugged the shoreline.
So far so good, at that point we hadn’t been kidnapped. Because driving to Mexico is crazy….right?
We checked into the villa we had rented and an old golden retriever lazily loped along side us as we carried the luggage in. Floor to ceiling windows with two sliding glass doors invited us onto the patio that had expansive views of Bahia de Todos Santos, or Bay of All Saints. The breeze coming off the ocean was a welcome cool down on the hot afternoon.
After settling in we headed to our first winery ~ which involved driving down dirt roads with little signage. It made me feel as if we would come across charros (Mexican Cowboys) at any given minute. The valley still holds this pure authenticity where you feel as if you took a step back in time, yet you still have all the modern amenities. We pulled into Adobe Guadalupe, a swanky vineyard that not only creates delicious red blends, but also breeds Aztec Sporthorses that can be seen trotting in the fields. Their tasting room, bright and cheerful with high ceilings and rustic wooden trusses, had a warmth from the late afternoon sunlight. The stars of the show for this vineyard were the Rhone blend (Kerubiel), and the Bordeaux style blend (Gabriel)- both exceptional.
We ended our evening at Fuego, dining al fresco under the stars as the dark night sky settled over the valley. I opted for the fish and wasn’t disappointed. A steamed halibut on a bed of fresh locally sustained succotash with perfectly melded flavors surrounding my palate. Other favorites of the table included a tender short rib dish, fresh caught tuna tostadas and a citrus ceviche.
And so on and so on this was how our weekend unfolded. Alluring scenery, savory cuisine, and elegant wines. Although often compared to Napa, I can assure you that this little valley is creating its own independent reputation rather quickly.
Other worthy mentions ~
Barón Balché ~ Lovely wines with a beautiful underground cellar with incredible brick designs.
Viñas De Garza ~ pick up a cheese tray and relax at this gorgeous vineyard – it definitely won “most beautiful” in our books.
Baja Wine and Sun Tours ~ Owned by Alan, he does a fantastic job at delivering you and informative, and exciting tour. If you are interested he also does whale tours during whale season (large migration pattern along the West Coast).
Things to Remember ~
- Your passport
- Give yourself at least an extra two hours on your way home to allow time to cross the border, and familiarize yourself with routes on getting back before you leave. Trust me, you do not want to end up in the wrong lane at the border – two hours can quickly turn into eight.
- While at the border, on the way back, buy churros. You don’t even have to leave your car – they come to you.
- If you need to use the restroom while waiting in line at the border bring money. Yes they charge you to use the restroom.
- Mexico will NOT accept your car insurance, so go online and buy Mexican insurance for however many days you will be there. It is inexpensive and there are plenty of sites that offer it.
- Check with each wineries opening times – they all vary.
- Have fun!!! This area is incredibly safe and every one you meet is lovely ~ they are all about relaxation and slowing down. As safe as it was, if you do decide to stop in Tijuana on the way back be smart about what you do and where you go.
For the best lunch in Valle de Guadalupe check out my post here!