Top 5 Things To Do In Valle de Guadalupe

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Mexico is known for its tequila, but in Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) you’re presented with some more spectacular experiences. Valle de Guadalupe is the historical wine region in Mexico, where the clear blue skies blend with the mountains, which form a fortress around a valley full of vineyards, where the vines are romanced with the light sea breeze.

Wines from this region can compete with the best in the World. A tour of Valle de Guadalupe presents you with an opportunity of discovering many tasty Mexican varieties. It also gives you the chance of trying out world-class restaurants and staying at small and cozy hotels fitted with modern amenities and gadgets.

Here are 5 things you shouldn’t miss out on when visiting Valle de Guadalupe…

1. Try Out the Cuisine                                                                                 

Visiting Valle de Guadalupe without complementing the excellent wines with appetizing Baja food will make your trip much less satisfying. Luckily, you will find different varieties of high cuisine in Valle de Guadalupe there is high any time of day; from the traditional breakfast in San Pedro de las Minas to special dinners that the best wine houses prepare in their properties. If you love seafood, then you’ll get a lot of super fresh fish and seafood straight from the Pacific Ocean is super-fresh fish and seafood.                                

2.  Imbibe in the Wines

It would be a sin not to taste some of the many splendid wines produced in Baja which can compete with some of the best wines in the World.   Valle de Guadalupe wineries produce some of the finest wines in Baja and you should certainly check them out. Would be expert sommeliers can try out their wine tasting skills here coupled with the breathtaking views offered by the green vineyard fields.

3. Visit the Vine and Wine Museum

Your tour will be incomplete without a visit to the Vine and Wine Museum, where, in addition to having a prevailing view of the Guadalupe Valley, you will be able to learn about the history of winemaking in the state of Baja California, from the coming of the missionaries to the kinds of crops and the variety of grapes found in Baja.

4. Try Out the Cheese

On a visit to Valle Guadalupe, you should certainly head down to La Cava de Marcelo, in Ojos Negros, for cheese that will perfectly complement your wine choices. At the 100-year-old artisanal cheese cellar, one of the few in all of Latin America open to the public, spending an afternoon on your tour sampling their many regional cheese variants, from queso fresco flavored with basil to two-year-old añejos will certainly not be an afternoon wasted.

5. Stay at the Hotels

Stay at one of the valley’s bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels for a full Valle de Guadalupe experience. You will find a great number of small, comfortable and warm hotels with that special Mexican ambience. If you desire more luxury, you will find a host of modern hotels with world class amenities and gadgets.

Valle de guadalupe tours

Valle de guadalupe tours

You need a first-hand experience…

Nothing beats a firsthand experience of Valle de Guadalupe attractions. If you’d to love to get a first-hand feel of what it feels like to enjoy the many attractions of Valle de Guadalupe, then waste no more time and book a tour with Baja Winery Tours.

Attractions to See and Complete Your Valle de Guadalupe Experience

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Just a few hours south of downtown San Diego and across the Mexican border lies Baja California Sur’s Valle de Guadalupe, a place of verdant valleys and sweeping vistas that has grown to become one of the region’s most exciting food and wine destinations. The valley has long been building its gastronomic reputation, but only in recent few years have things really taken off, with new and exciting talents putting up shop, and travelers on southbound excursions reaping the rewards, among them, exclusive limited-release Mexican wines, the best olive oils the New World has to offer, terrific cheeses, and a world-class culinary scene.

Besides having an exciting food and wine industry, Baja also offers an incredible array of destinations of attractions that make the trip to Mexico all worth it. If you’re looking to visit and want to do something besides booking your own Baja winery tours, here are some ideas.

Art

If you’re an art buff, you can’t go wrong by visiting Todos Santos, a self-described bohemian town located some 37 miles north of Los Cabos. The local art enclave is home to a thriving community of local and expat artists, who have put up several galleries and studios to showcase and sell sculptures, oil paintings, handicrafts, and jewelry. Spend an afternoon wandering the town’s bougainvillea adorned streets, and you never know what you’re going to see—unique bookstores, bustling cafés and bistros, and gorgeous colonial-style buildings.

Beaches

Baja’s crystal-clear seas and long stretches of powdery, white sand beaches should give anyone a strong case to visit the region. Bahia Santa Maria’s turquoise waters, with a backdrop of towering cliffs and wide beaches, is a popular snorkeling spot, boasting of pristine coral reefs beneath the surface of the water.

And for thrill-seekers, Baja is also a mecca for watersport enthusiasts. Go diving around Cabo Pulmo, home to a 20,000-year-old coral reef. If surfing’s more your thing, head over to Playa Costa Azul. On the other hand, go for a relaxed day of swimming and sunbathing at Las Palmas (Playa San Pedro, the perfect lounge spot for vacationers.

Fishing

Still on the subject of water, Baja’s waters along the Sea of Cortez is rich in game fishing, earning the moniker of being the “'Marlin Capital of the World.” Book a charted fishing trip and choose from a local panga, or a decked out cruiser complete with a guide.

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Golf

With its dry and sunny weather all year round, it comes as no surprise why Los Cabos has earned a reputation for being one of the world’s best golf destinations, offering a wide variety of unique championship courses, designed by names such as Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Jack Nicklaus. Whether you're looking to have a calm day of golf, or looking for a real challenge with friends, Baja California Sur’s golf courses are sure to keep you entertained.

Break away from our Valle de Guadalupe wine and see for yourself what the rest of Baja has to offer. Get in touch with Baja Winery Tours to book your tour.

How Research in Mexican Universities Helped Spur the Growth of Valle de Guadalupe Wineries

Baja winery tours

Baja winery tours

Although Mexico has a long and storied tradition of producing and enjoying alcoholic beverages —in particular, beer, mescal, and of course, tequila— the country’s wine industry is a relative newcomer to the international wine scene, which may come as a surprise to some due to the country’s Spanish heritage. Even more surprising is that Mexico is actually the first wine-producing country in the Americas, a claim to fame that dates back to when the conquistadors and friars brought vine clippings to the New World hundreds of years ago.

Signs of Improvement and Change

Still, attitudes are changing, with Mexico’s wine production showing clear signs of growth, particularly in Baja, where Valle de Guadalupe wineries have helped transform the region into an up-and-coming wine destination often dubbed as “the next Napa Valley”—a comparison that may not be completely accurate, but one with merit nonetheless.

Mexico’s recent wine consumption has showed near-prodigious growth. In the last 10 years, wine consumption has increased by at least 40 percent, with no signs of slowing down. By 2020, it’s predicted that consumption will triple to 180 million liters per year—or two liters for every Mexican citizen, about the same per capita consumption of Brazil. Still, this level of consumption is but a drop in the bucket next to international standards—for example, the annual per capita consumption of French adults is an average of 50 liters a year.

While the Mexican government has yet to make any real concerted effort to promote Mexican wines to the rest of the world, institutions such as research centers and universities have taken up the task of raising awareness of the quality and unique characteristics of the Mexcio’s wines.

Universidad Autónoma de Baja California

Researchers from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) have conducted a number studies on Mexico’s wines, with one paper delving into the production needs of Baja’s wine industry. Since 1993, the UABC has also held an annual international wine tasting competition, with the support of the International Organization of Vine and Wine, the intergovernmental organization based in Paris, France. The contest aims to promote the production of superior Mexican wines and encourage the reasonable consumption of wine within Mexican society, thereby encouraging the growth of the country’s wine culture. The university also offers undergraduate minor in studies focused on the local food and wine industry.

Colegio de la Frontera Norte

Another educational institution, the Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF)—a prestigious research center and think tank in Baja—has conducted several research activities focused on Mexico’s wine industry. The institution is funded and administered by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), the government agency that oversees Mexico’s developments in science and technology.

Baja wines

Baja wines

If you’d like to learn more about Baja’s rich wine tradition, book your very own Valle de guadalupe winery tours at Baja Winery Tours today. 

The Best Wines from Valle de Guadalupe

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Besides being a spectacular region for outdoor activities like surfing, hiking, and motocross, Baja has grown to become one of South America’s premier wining and dining destinations, with wineries centered in Valle de Guadalupe, located some 70 miles south of the San Diego border, 2 hours away by car. This Baja wine country is home to more than 60 wineries, all found in a 35-square-mile area, thus making it easy for visitors to see them all in any of the Valle de Guadalupe wine tours offered to guests.

Ideal Location for Winemaking

The history of winemaking in Baja can be traced back to the Spanish conquistadors, who brought vine clippings from Europe in the 16th century. Today, Baja wineries occupy a strategic location for winemaking, with a combination of hot daytime temperatures and cool nighttime moisture from ocean breezes, creating a Mediterranean climate proven to be hospitable for growing a wide variety of grapes.

Grape Varieties Cultivated in Valle de Guadalupe

The grape varieties grown in Valle de Guadalupe include a laundry list of greatest hits, such as Tempranillo, Cabernet, Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, Grenache, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot, and white grapes such as Chenin blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This eclectic mix of grapes, and the resulting wines, is part of what makes Baja a charming destination for wine connoisseurs and foodies alike.

In this guide, we go over a few wines made from the local grapes grown in Baja, and what best to pair with them.

Chardonnay

Founded in 2005, Valle de Guadalupe’s Lechuza Winery offers a Chardonnay in both unoaked and oaked versions. The unoaked type features a balanced and attractive flavor, while the oaked variety has strong notes of oak. As with any Chardonnay, Lechuza’s is great with light seafood and chicken dishes.

Nebbiolo

The Nebbiolo grapes of Italy’s Piedmont region—where the climate is temperate all year round—are bountiful in Valle de Guadalupe despite temperatures going over 110 degrees. Its mouth-drying tannins make it a perfect wine for foods such as braised ribs, roasts, and anything with truffles.

The Baron Balche winery produces some of the finest reds in all of Baja, but is limited at just 120,000 bottles a year, with each bearing a character that’s unique to Baron Balche. A custom Baja winery tour can be arranged for this popular stop on the Baja wine trail.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a mainstay in most tasting sessions in Valle de Guadalupe’s wineries. For the very best, head to Casa de Piedra, a pioneer in Baja’s winemaking evolution. The winery’s flagship is Vina de Piedra, a unique blend of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, and widely regarded as one of the finest wines in all of Mexico. For maximum enjoyment, pair it with Valle de Guadalupe’s delicious pizzas or tacos, or for something more filling, braised short ribs, or mushroom stroganoff.

Valle de guadalupe wine

Valle de guadalupe wine

Experience the magic of Valle de Guadalupe’s wines by getting in touch with Baja Winery Tours to book your tour.

Valle de Guadalupe in Autumn

Valle de guadalupe experience

Valle de guadalupe experience

As summer fades and temperatures cool down in Baja, a Valle de Guadalupe winery tour offers a calm and refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle of the urban grind. For many of our guests, the weeks between the middle of October and early December are the best time to be in Baja wine country, when the fall gives the region a much-needed break from the heat and humidity of summer.

Cool Weather and Fewer Tourists

Another reason to visit during the fall is a noticeable difference in the number of tourists. Although the Los Cabos travel industry sees a steady, year-round stream of tourists from all over the world, August and December are typically the low season of the year, which makes it a fabulous time to come and visit if you want quiet seclusion.

What You’ll See

A Valle de Guadalupe winery tour also brings you up close and personal with luscious bunches of grapes hanging heavy from the vines. If you come early, you can see the vineyards before the harvest while you enjoy a glass a glass of wine. The colors can be a lovely sight, with the leaves turning to gold and red—an awe-inspiring spectacle indeed. And because of the cool autumn weather, walking around the vineyards won’t feel like a chore at all.

What You’ll Eat and Drink

Fishing is at its peak in Baja during this time of the year, which means an influx of fresh-off-the-boat seafood for you to enjoy at any of the great restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe. You can also take your pick from year-round table offerings, such as charcuterie, tapas, pizzas, and salads—a fresh winery tour salad is an experience we also recommend to our customers’ delight.

No Valle de Guadalupe winery tour would be complete without sampling the local wines. The Valle de Guadalupe region contains more than 60 wineries—all packed in a 35-square-mile area—so different winery tours may let you see different places (and sample different wines!) each time. Try any of the local whites and match it with a light meal.

Why Valle de Guadalupe?

Just an hour’s drive from the San Diego border and a few minutes away from Ensanada, Valle de Guadalupe has grown to become one of North America’s most intriguing food and wine destinations. The area is also one of the oldest wine cultivating regions in America, beginning with the Spanish, who brought over vine clippings from Europe some five hundred years ago.

Valle de guadalupe tours

Valle de guadalupe tours

Today, the combination of local ingredients and impressive new talent rewards visitors with an incredible array of limited-release wines, some of the best aged cheeses and olive oils in the entire continent, and topnotch gastronomic experiences from some of Latin America’s most critically-acclaimed restaurants. Get in touch with us today and book your tour.

Valle de Guadalupe in Summer

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Summer is a good time to plan your Valle de Guadalupe winery tour. Different people have different ideas about when summer starts and ends, however, for our purposes, let’s call summer June, July and August.  June is when the country restaurants, also known as campestre, start to open, so it’s a perfect time to visit if you have food on your mind.  And the annual vendimia, or wine harvest festival, comes around in August.  If you’re like most people and worried about it being too darn hot, don’t be.  While the sun shines bright, daytime temperatures only reach sunbathing levels and nights in Guadalupe are always cool.

The Vineyards in Summer

Summer is flowering time for vines so, although the harvest won’t begin until Fall is either upon us or just round the corner, you’ll be assured of whole hillsides covered in flowers, which can be a wonderful sight. A wine grower is a gardener at heart, though she or he practices the art on a grand scale, and all gardeners love to be busy. They also like to know that people are watching what they do. And they’ll be doing a lot because summer is a busy time in the vineyard. Pruning was over some time ago and the harvest is when things will really heat up but there’s plenty going on.

The Valle de Guadalupe experience, though, isn’t just about Mexico wine tours, as delightful as they are. It’s also, among other things, for the birds: the gray thrasher, which is the endemic bird of the Baja, is found here, as are California thrashers, California gnatcatchers and lots of different kinds of hummingbirds. If you’re a serious birder, you might want to take some extra time after the tour to head for the coast, where you will see in a day more ducks than most people can even think of, as well as long-billed curlews, falcons and if you’re lucky, an albatross or two. 

What You’ll Eat - and Drink

Hummingbirds, of course, mean flowers and you won’t look at the borage and nasturtium flowers for long without realising that they are in your salads. There are so many vineyards, wineries and restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe that we like to change things up regularly, which means if you join us on three different Valle de Guadalupe winery tours, chances are you’ll see different places each time. It’s a treat for the eyes and the scents are so heavenly you’ll think you’ve found paradise.  At the end of the day, however, rest assured that we never forget the main purpose of the vine, which is to produce the perfect foil for a good meal. And we know exactly where to take you for something delicious to eat.

You’ll choose the dishes and the wine, of course, because choosing what you’re going to eat and drink is a big part of the pleasure of eating out, but if it were us we’d probably be going in high summer for a chilled white wine like a local Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon and, to eat, something fairly light. Maybe a selection of tapas, a frittata or even a pizza. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the salads; a fresh winery tour salad is a delight many of our customers have raved about.

Valle de guadalupe tours

Valle de guadalupe tours

Summer Will Be Here Soon

People have been making wine in Mexico for more than 500 years, so it’s not surprising that they know how to get things right. If you’re a wine lover – or just someone who likes a glass of something good now and again, and would like to see where and how it’s made, contact us today and book your tour.

Not Climate or Terroir but Climate and Terroir

Baja winery tours

Baja winery tours

Ask a wine lover what the most important thing is in winemaking. The answer will tell you a lot about the person. Not much about wine.

Some will say it’s climate and point out that most wine comes from one of only three climates: Mediterranean, continental and maritime. QED. Others, though, say “No, no, it isn’t the climate, it’s the place.” Except, of course, that true wine lovers don’t say “place”; they say “terroir”.

What Is “Terroir”?

Well, the French like to have their say and it is a French word so this is what l’Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin said in 2010: terroir is “an area in which collective knowledge of the interactions between the identifiable physical and biological environment and applied vitivinicultural practices develops, providing distinctive characteristics for the products originating from this area.” Or, if we dare translate the long-winded frogs, it’s “a place where everyone knows what they’re doing.”

What about the Soil?

Some wine lovers would add that the nature of the soil is not irrelevant: Chablis grows best in a clinging white clay while anyone drinking a red Bordeaux would like to think the vines have had their roots in some well-drained gravel. But who are we to argue with l’Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin?

So What Does Baja Wine Country Have?

Join us on a Baja winery tour and you’ll find that Baja California settles the argument by saying that it’s actually both.

If you were to go higher into the Sierra, you’d find cooler summers and in winter there could actually be frost on the ground but that’s not where wine is made.The climate in the area where vines are grown is Mediterranean. Summers are dry and mild and the winters cool and (sometimes) rainy.

As for the soil, those Bordeaux growers would dig their hands into this well-drained and stony soil – and they’d smile. They’d recognize this as a perfect place to grow Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Do people actually know what they’re doing? Well, sixteen million gallons of wine are made here every year, and the people who drink it are generally smiling as broadly as those Bordeaux growers we mentioned.

Baja winery

Baja winery

Come and See for Yourself

But don’t take our word for it. Contact us today and book your tour.

Valle de Guadalupe in Spring

Valle de Guadalupe winery tour

Valle de Guadalupe winery tour

There is no bad time for a Valle de Guadalupe winery tour – but there are good times, and spring is one of them. The mountains shelter the area from storms and the sea molds the climate to the way sun lovers like it to be. March, April and May are good times to be in Baja wine country.

Clear Skies and Little Rain

You’re making this trip because you want to see where the wine is made and vines won’t grow, flower, or produce grapes unless they’re watered. By the beginning of spring, though, the winter rain that is so essential is almost over (not that it was terribly heavy to start with). The likelihood that it will be cloudy is low and the chance of rain (perhaps one day in six) is even lower. And don’t worry about the wind, because there isn’t any.

Sunshine and Warmth

The average temperature in March is 59, rising to 64 in May but that’s misleading because it measures temperatures over 24 hours and what you want to know is: what will it be like in the daytime? Because nights can be chilly; at two in the morning it can be as low as 50 in March and, while that would be pleasant enough in Chicago, it isn’t what you’re coming to Valle de Guadalupe for. During the day, March temperatures hit 70, which is much more enjoyable – warm enough for shorts and a T-shirt but not so hot that walking becomes a chore.

What You’ll See

The great thing about vineyards is the way they change with the seasons and if we’re honest we’d say: come four times a year so that you see the vineyards and the country in all their multi-faceted glory. Spring, though, is a special time; there are no grapes yet, and won’t be for a few months, but the vines (which were pruned at the end of last season) have begun to send forth their green shoots of new growth and, with any luck, you’ll see the first flowers.

What You’ll Eat - and Drink

Baja winery tours make sure that we are not on the road at mealtimes because wine is made to be drunk with a meal – it’s the perfect companion to good food – and we give you every opportunity to tour one or more vineyards with a knowledgeable guide so that you understand what is happening and why and then we sit you down for a tasting and something delicious to eat.

Mexico wine tours

Mexico wine tours

Why Valle de Guadalupe?

Did you know that Mexico is the oldest wine-growing region in America? Wine has been made here since the Spaniards arrived with vine clippings from Europe five hundred years ago. Then immigrants from Italy and Russia brought more cuttings. Not much of Baja California’s wine is exported so to have that pleasure you need to visit. Get in touch with us today and book your tour.

The Perfect Start To Your Baja Wine Tour

Valle de Guadalupe Tours

Valle de Guadalupe Tours

Only about an hour and a half driving time from the US border in the heart of the Guadalupe Valley is a wonderful introduction to the wine country of Baja California. Opened in 2012 by President Felipe Calderon, the gleaming modern architecture stands in fascinating contrast to the granite mountains and rich vineyards of the region. 90% of Mexico’s wine is grown here and the Vine and Wine Museum – the only such museum in the whole of Mexico – is a fitting monument to a thriving industry and a wine aficionado’s dream.

History of Wine-Making

Where better to begin a Baja wine tour than in the museum’s 10,000 square meters where dedicated areas will tell you about the area’s history, its industry, its culture and its wine? There is everything here, starting with today’s ultra-modern wine production methods and going all the way back to the arrival of the first missionaries with their vines and their viticulture.

Ideal Conditions And…

It doesn’t matter whether you are the rarest of oenophiles or simply someone who likes a glass of wine with dinner (or perhaps you’d like to try a little tapas) – there’s something here for everyone. It’s hard, though, to imagine anyone spending time in the museum and not leaving with a better understanding of what it is that makes an area truly a wine country. Soil plays its part. Weather plays its part. And just as important is the care lavished at every stage, from first flowering of the vines to the bottling and maturation of the finished product.

…Perfect Grapes

Fortune smiled on Baja California, giving it the soil and the Mediterranean climate ideal for certain species of grape – the Nebbiolo and the Misión, certainly, but also the Garnacha (grape originally from Spain that loves those hot, dry late summer days), the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Living History

In the museum, you can see the old wooden artifacts used by the Spanish Jesuit Fathers and the Russian immigrants of the very early 20th Century who split from the Orthodox Church and held to the Molokan ways. You can also, though, admire the stainless steel equipment in use today.

There are movie clips showing every stage of production (even beginning with barrel-making) and bronze sculptures and fine art to the glory of the vine.

Valle de Guadalupe

Valle de Guadalupe

Ideal Time to Go?

The museum should be an automatic lead into a Baja Winery Tour. Go in winter and revel in the cool temperatures and the sparkling air. Go in spring, when the neatly pruned vines are bursting into growth. Go in summer and see vines in full leaf stretching to the horizon and born down by clusters of grapes. Go in September to be sure of seeing the harvest. Go in October for the glory of the fall colors. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, just go!

Contact us today and book your tour.

Feature Spotlight: La Casa de Doña Lupe

Valle de guadalupe tours

Valle de guadalupe tours

It’s Organic. It’s Beautiful. It’s Delicious.

In 1968, Doña Lupe decided to create in the place she loved a vineyard and a restaurant that would be everything she wanted it to be – and as Doña Lupe is a woman for whom only the perfect will do, the vision was a perfect vineyard and a perfect restaurant.

And it came to be.

Not through magic, but through dedication. A study in serenity, an oasis of beauty and a monument to excellence. All that and, because Doña Lupe is devoted to the organic ideal, everything is natural and organic. And, forty-seven years after the dream first began to take shape, Doña Lupe is still here, a benevolent ruler over the Paradise she conceived. Ask her secret and she will tell you it is no secret: it takes love and it takes time. Nothing this good can be rushed.

The Vineyard

The Spanish inheritance of Baja California is there for all to see, but identified most clearly of all in the Garnacha vines and the delectable red and white wines they produce. Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon are also on offer.

Take a walk by the vines and marvel at the wonderful Valle de Guadalupe scenery. Then try a tasting of the wines on offer at the airy outdoor patio.

The Restaurant

If there’s one place where La Casa de Doña Lupe transcends expectations more than any other, it’s here. The restaurant combines the best of the Old World and the New.

The classic Mexican appetizers. Artisan home-made pizzas. Home-made lasagna and other pastas. Sandwiches and spaghetti. Bread and cheese of a sort most people can only dream of.

And, of course, the full La Casa de Doña Lupe wine list to go with everything.

The Shop

And when the sightseeing is done, and you’re feeling just a twinge of sadness because soon you have to leave and you’re wondering how soon you’ll be able to return, stop by the shop and pick up something to remember this wonderful day by. Organic jams, salsas and seeds. Salad dressings and salad oils. Natural skin oils. You’ll find olives and olive oil, bread, cheese and sauces – all made from organic ingredients. But take enough, because you can be certain of one thing: you’re going to want to share with your friends.

Valle de guadalupe experience

Valle de guadalupe experience

Wait No Longer

La Casa de Doña Lupe is there, waiting for you. Turn the dream to reality – just as Doña Lupe did forty-seven years ago. Contact us today to book your tour!

Valle de Guadalupe: Your Perfect Winter Getaway

Valle de guadalupe wine tours

Valle de guadalupe wine tours

If you want to avoid the peak of the tourist season in August, visiting Valle de Guadalupe during the winter months is a must. If you’re looking out your window and all you see is snow or rain - and you could use a dose of mild sunny winter weather - it’s time to visit the vineyards of Baja California. This region cools down like most places in December, yet still has the yearlong sunny temperatures one would expect in Mexico.

Winter wine tours are fueling tourism in the Valle de Guadalupe, where you’ll be able to dine in exceptional restaurants and sample unique wine blends you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The areas unique scenery is the perfect backdrop for a winter weddings and because there are typically less tourists, it’s the perfect time to savor the peace and tranquility of this beautiful area.

Where to Eat?

Enjoy a fine meal outside and admire the beauty of the mountains and vineyards at Fuego Restaurant and Lounge, where you’ll enjoy a vast variety of mouth-watering seafood and traditional Mexican cuisine. Whether you dine here for breakfast, lunch or dinner, your expectations are sure to be surpassed. Due to the areas warm temperatures during winter months, you’ll be able to sit back, have a glass of wine and listen to live music while drinking in the stunning scenery. With a great selection of wine and a cozy hotel nearby, this is a must-see during your getaway.

On January 10, 2016, Deckman’s en el Mogor will be hosting The Winter Bounty of Baja California, which offers a one-of-a-kind chance to sample a variety of authentic Baja cuisine. Using only the freshest Baja ingredients, special guest chefs will cook 7-course meals while attendees indulge in numerous wines from the region.  If you’re thinking about attending, expect to sample exotic specialties including sea bass tartar with sesame and ginger, and gooseneck barnacle tempura. Local lamb and quail are delicacies that will also be served during this amazing wintertime feast.

Where to Stay?

Keep warm in the heart of the Guadelupe Valley at Hotel Boutique, which is conveniently located near the Trevista vineyard in the Guadeloupe Valley. The Hacienda style architecture, coupled with amenities like free WiFi, swimming pool, bar and the Fuego Restaurant and Lounge will keep you coming back time and time again. 

While lodging at Hotel Boutique, be sure to take a horse ride to explore the nearby vineyards, as well as a pleasant walk in gardens for a peek at the agave plants growing wildly there. If you’re into sports, a quick game of volleyball will have you making new friends in no time. The opportunities here are endless and time will fly by as you escape the winter doldrums for some sunshine and smiles.

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Treat yourself to a well-deserved winter getaway and enjoy the wonderful wine and food this region has to offer!  The Winter Bounty of Baja California will give you a glimpse into the delectable, unique cuisine that’s native to the area while the hotels will delight you with their charm and affordable prices. And if you can’t swing an entire weekend getaway right now, why not take a day trip to Valle de Gaudalupe instead?  Contact us today to learn more!

The History of Winemaking in Valle de Guadalupe

Valle de guadalupe experience

Valle de guadalupe experience

Imagine yourself as a Spanish missionary, exploring the land that is now the Guadalupe Valley. You’re looking for glory and riches but living with the fear of attacks by local tribes at any time. Your first goal is to establish a settlement and set up a means of survival in Baja California. Unfortunately, the gold you’ve been searching so rigorously for is nowhere to be found.

But wait!

You notice the climate is similar to regions where growing wine is popular and decide to grow grapes that can be turned into wine and shipped back to Spain. You are surprised to see how well the grapes grows in Mexico - and your vineyards soon begin to flourish. A town by the name of Santa Maria de las Parras is founded in 1597, as well as the first vineyard in the region.  This vineyard, called Casa Madero, founded the era of wineries in Mexico.

Under the control of Felix Callabero, Guadalupe was founded in 1821. The city proved to be an agricultural success, complete with irrigation ditches for fresh water and domesticated animals for food. This mission village prospered for decades but increasing retaliation from native tribes due to proselytism eventually forced Felix Callabero to flee south. Thankfully, the vast vineyards still remain present along the outskirts of the city and traces of the original settlement exist as reminders of the past.

In 1859, after the Mexican Revolution, the Catholic Church no longer had the right to hold property in Mexico and as a result, many of the original settlers fled the area, abandoning their Baja wineries in the process. The land then fell under private control and was quickly transformed into the first large winemaking operation in Mexico. As word spread about the richness of the soil, people began moving to Valle de Guadalupe to purchase land in hopes of building better futures for themselves and their families.

It’s interesting to note, however, that Valle de Guadalupe wasn’t just settled by the Spanish. Russians immigrants played a key role in establishing this region as well. In the early 1900s, a peace-seeking group of Russians called the Molokans fled their homeland to escape the violence of the Russian Revolution. They purchased respectable quantities of land in the area and allocated a large portion of it to making wine. The Molokans used new winemaking techniques from Europe and their presence is still felt today with Bibayoff’s wines. This family-style winery is a terrific stop on a Baja wine tour, since you’ll be able to see unique wine making techniques firsthand.

Most Russian settlers ended up fleing the area around the time that World War II began, leaving the valley predominantly under Mexican influence once again. Visiting some of the few remaining Russian homes offers a more in-depth look at the Russian influence on the region, however, as is highly recommended during a visit to the area. 

Valle de guadalupe wine

Valle de guadalupe wine

It’s amazing to imagine how these early settlers in Valle de Guadalupe were fighting for survival when you witness the regions prosperity today. If you’re interested in coupling history with sampling some of the world’s best wines, book your tour today!

Valle de Guadalupe: A Must-See for Napa Wine Enthusiasts

Valle de guadalupe experience

Valle de guadalupe experience

When we think of wine from California, most people automatically assume the best wine comes from Napa Valley. Located north of San Francisco, this fertile valley is home to some of the world’s most renowned wines. In fact, Napa has surpassed some of the most famous French wines in blind taste test in categories such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. A “new Napa Valley” has emerged south of the border in Baja California, however, and is available for group tours at fraction of the price one would pay in Napa.

Wine has been produced in this region for a longer period of time than many assume, which partially explains why Valle de Guadalupe is quickly becoming known for the quality of wines produced there.  This is ironic since when we think about alcohol-based beverages from Mexico, we automatically suspect tequila and beer.

The Culture

Although Napa is more commonly visited than Guadalupe, vineyards, desert mountains and local villages await tourists who stop for a visit. In fact, engaging in a cultural getaway and enjoying the one-of-a-kind landscapes that make this region so unique for wine is what tourist’s enjoy most. Baja wineries have been an important influence on the culture of this region since the 16th century and continue to have a large impact on the economy there today. Most vineyards in Napa export the wine they produce. In order to get authentic wine from Guadalupe, however, you’ll have to take a trip to Mexico.

The Weather

By blocking clouds from the ocean, the climate in Valle de Guadalupe resembles that of Piedmont, Italy and is particularly sunny all year long. This Mediterranean type climate is perfect for enjoying the heat of the Mexican sun during the day and a cool glass of wine at night.  This is in stark contrast to Napa, where it can get quite warm during certain times of the year.

The Location

Just a few hours away from San Diego, the Valle de Guadalupe region offers insight into wine-making and couples it with quick drives to and from the famous Baja coastlines. If you presently live in Southern California, a quick 3-hour trip across the border will put you smack dab in the middle of wine country. This beats the long, 8-hour drive along busy freeways that will most likely require a hotel stay during the course of your journey.  

With its combination of exciting adventures, unique residents and unconventional landscapes - including the desert and green vineyards - the remarkable memories to be made in Valle de Guadalupe will last a lifetime. Napa Valley offers a more traditional style of wine tourism that one would expect when taking a tour of wine country.

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

In order to be a true wine aficionado, one must explore new regions and appreciate the way the locals produce their wine. For those looking for an exotic trip to a foreign land with its own wine culture, a trip to the Valle de Guadalupe should be on the itinerary.  Contact us today to book your tour!

Valle de Guadalupe Tours: Sampling The Best Blends In The Area

Valle de guadalupe tours

Valle de guadalupe tours

The art of winemaking on Mexican land has been traced back to the 1500s during the time of the Spanish conquest. Surprisingly, when looking at winemaking as an industry, however, it’s still very much in its infancy in Mexico. With that being said, the Valle de Guadalupe region is quickly becoming known as a golden parcel of land, capable of producing grapes that can be transformed into rich wines that rival some of the best in the world.  Often referred to as the “Napa Valley of Mexico,” the area boasts some of the most stunning flavors and blends to ever grace Mexican wines as we know them.   

The past few years have seen an enormous amount of growth in Baja, Mexico in terms of all of the different Valle de Guadalupe wineries that have been emerging - and flourishing. With well over 100 wineries (and counting), it’s no wonder that this region has become a hotbed for wine fanciers of all backgrounds.

The Location

You will find when you set out for a Mexico wine tour that roughly 90 miles south of San Diego and just a bit inland from the Pacific Ocean sits Valle de Guadelupe, an area with a surprisingly Mediterranean climate that is a bit more extreme due to its proximity to the coast.

For vintners establishing a presence in a wine region in its earliest stages, it can be challenging to figure out which grapes will grow the best and come together to create award winning blends. For example, most winemakers will tell you that a hillside grape and a valley floor grape of the very same variety have uniquely distinct flavors.  When combined, however, you will wind up with a blend that includes sweeter, subtle notes along with a spicy kick.

In Valle de Guadalupe, the grapes that have the greatest potential are Nebbiolo, Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Malbec. The blends of some of these grapes highlight some of the best flavors that Baja wine country has to offer.

The Beauty Of The Blend

A wine blend provides much more complexity than a single varietal wine. Looking at some of the best wines that you can procure today, many are actually made from blends of different grapes.  When you start to blend varietals, a winemaker has the ability to dramatically change the quality of the wine, with the end goal being to blend different vintages and ultimately arrive at a good balance of the flavor characteristics. In certain instances, whites and reds can be blended together to create an exquisite combination of both flavors and aromas.

Anyone who has been following the growth of Valle de Guadalupe will tell you that the wines coming from this area are certainly unique, filled with a range of flavors including minerality, saltiness and even a bit of spice. These blends have a strong connection between the rich soil of the region and the popular foods that you will find in many of the local Valle de Guadalupe restaurants.

It’s important to note that a fair amount of wines that come from flourishing Baja wineries are actually wine blends. Concentrated and full bodied, yet with a whimsical punch of spice, these wines are seen as a gem to some and a flaw to others.

A Sampling Of Baja Wineries Worth A Visit

Casa de Piedra – A winery that was built in the 1990s, Casa de Piedra boasts some of the most exquisite architecture constructed of rustic metals, stone and reclaimed wood. A location that started as a side project by Hugo D’Acosta, you will find a number of incredible blends and other notable boutique wine options to sample and bring home during a tour of the region.

Vinisterra – A stunning location for viewing and learning about the growing and blending process, Vinesterra is a stop on your winery tour that you do not want to miss. The Pedregal blend by Christoph Gaertner, a winemaker from Switzerland, is one of the stars of the show on the sampling menu.

Monte Xanic – This happens to be one of the most sizeable Baja wineries to come out of the new wave. Founded in 1987 by a group of wine enthusiasts, including Hans Backhoff, the beautiful bodega at Monte Xanic offers a public tasting room where you can check out some of the top blends.

Vinicola Emeve Blends

Vinicola Emeve is a winery in the Valle de Guadalupe region that is quickly becoming one of the trendiest destinations for anyone who wants to sample unique, beautiful wine creations. Noted winemaker Reynaldo Rodriguez produces some of the most stunning blends ever to be sampled in the area. The very first blend to come out of Emeve was a complex Malbec-Cabernet in 2006 that went on to win a number of medals and accolades for its delicious taste and pleasing aroma.

The wines from Emeve, aged in both American and French oak barrels, are described as being elegant and fresh with excellent tannins and acidity.  Los Nietos is one of the most popular blends to come out of the winery to date, which is a mixture of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The bouquet of lush, red fruit is aged in a French oak barrel for 14 months.  Some of the other memorable blends that you will find at this Baja winery gem include the 2007 Cabernet-Merlot, 2007 Rose and 2007 Harmony Of Reds. Wine enthusiasts can sample these wines by adding this stop to a Baja winery tour or by visiting L’Abricot restaurant in Tijuana.

Many Reasons To Visit

Valle de Guadalupe offers stunning views of some of the most amazing landscapes that Mexico wine country has to offer, which is one of the top reasons why this area has taken off as a major travel destination.  

If you really want to take in the beauty of Baja wineries, setting up a Mexico wine tour is a must.  Whether you want to book a group tour or a private tour, you will find that there are always plenty of options available to you in Valle de Guadalupe.  What’s more, breathtaking architecture, incredible weather and a love of winemaking makes the area a special destination for couples who are looking to take the plunge with a Valle de Guadalupe wedding.

Baja Wine tours

Baja Wine tours

If you’re interested in unique wine blends that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, taking a Mexico wine tour should be on your travel to-do list.  Located just a few hours away from San Diego, region that is sure to enliven your senses and deliver a wealth of aromas and flavors like you’ve probably never experienced before. Spend a day, a weekend or a week enjoying all of the best wines that Valle de Guadalupe has to offer by taking a tour – or perhaps even an excursion of a lifetime. Learn about the grapes and how the wines are produced, as well as sample wine blends with delectable food pairings.  We can assure you that you won’t leave disappointed.

The Best White Wines in the Valle De Guadalupe Region

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle De Guadalupe, a beautiful region that’s bustling with some of the best wineries in Mexico, is just a short drive from San Diego and quickly becoming one of the most prominent wine regions in the world, battling Napa Valley for the distinct honor of “The World's Best Wine and Food Destination.”

The weather in this coastal area of Baja is perfect for growing many types of grapes, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, French Colombard, and Sémillon just to name a few.  And with over 100 wineries to choose from, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.  If you’re a fan of white wines, here are some of our top recommendations.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines produced in Valle De Guadalupe – and one of the best selling white wines in the United States. This flavorful wine comes from the green grape variety of the same name, which adapts well to a wide range of environments and gives way to high yields worldwide .

Chardonnay’s long list of different flavors depend on the fruit notes and spices of the wine itself. Buttered, oak influences contribute the wine to fresh apple, pear, tropical, citrus, and melon flavors. It pairs well with poultry dishes, pork, seafood, and recipes involving heavy cream and butter bases.

The Special Reserve Chardonnay from Château Camou is what many consider to be one of the best white wines of the Valle De Guadalupe valley. This wine blends 60 year-old grape vines with young vines to create the all-around spectacular finish. It also goes through a nine-month aging process in French barrels. Château Camou;s Special Reserve Chardonnay is golden yellow in color and clean, with a delicate aroma of tropical fruits, peach, butter, honey, and toasted oak for a complex, yet balanced flavor that leaves you with a long and lasting aftertaste.

The 2010 Kuiiy from Las Nubes winery, although not a true Chardonnay deserves mention.  A mix of Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay make for an excellent white wine, golden yellow with greenish tones, clean and  bright with plenty of long slender legs. Intensely strong fruit aromas with apple, pear, and notes of pineapple give way to a light floral undertone and great balance.

And rounding out the list is Casa de Piedra’s Chardonnay, which many consider to be one of the best wines in all of Mexico.  The 2011 Piedra del Sol Chardonnay mixes a unique blend of apple and popcorn aroma that’s finished off with flavors of lemon and tangerine. 

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is quickly establishing a home in Valle De Guadalupe. A dry wine that’s known for its distinct and vivid aromas with its zesty acidity, the fresh and bright flavors of the grapes result from its green, herbaceous, fruity scents.  Sauvignon Blanc wines are typically aged in French oak barrels that give the wine its signature full-bodied flavor that ages well over time. Sauvignon Blanc’s pair well with both roasted and fried chicken, white fishes, oysters, grilled pork, vegetarian entrees and salads, all of which you can experience firsthand at one of the many Valle De Guadalupe restaurants.

Sauvignon Blanc Viña Kristel is produced by the Monte Xanic winery . This is a bright, clean wine with a straw yellow and green look. Marked with tropical notes, the high intensity of the wine makes it a wonderful dry wine with warm alcohol and lively acidity. It finishes long with a strong body.

Paralelo is a modern Valle De Guadalupe winery that was built on what used to be a huge trash dump. Founded in 2005, Paralelo produces two red wines, as well as a popular Sauvignon Blanc.  The 2012 Emblema Sauvignon Blanc has hints of apple and corn, while the 2011 vintage has hints of popcorn and tart white fruits.

Mexico wine tours

Mexico wine tours

While winemaking in Mexico can be traced back to the 1500’s, modern winemaking in Baja wine country is only about two decades old.  This “newness” is in no way indicative of the quality of wines produced, however, and the white wines of many of the Baja wineries located in Valle De Guadalupe should not be missed. 

Contact us today to learn more about our Valle de Guadalupe winery tours.  

The Best Red Wines in Valle De Guadalupe

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Valle de guadalupe winery tours

Just a short hour and a half drive from San Diego, nestled quietly in the Mexico countryside, is what many people consider to be the next Napa Valley: Valle De Guadalupe, an area of prime wine country prominence. Highlighted by dirt roads and beautiful scenery, this area is quickly becoming THE premier wine region. Over one hundred wineries presently call Valle De Guadalupe “home,”producing a rich variety of reds, whites, and blends that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.   

Today we are going to take a look at some of the best red wines from Valle De Guadalupe, which include the region’s own interpretations of classic Malbec’s and Barbera’s.

Malbec’s

Malbec is one of the most famous types of red wines, originating from the black-skinned grape varieties native to France’s southwest regions, particularly around Cahors.  Malbec is known as the iconic wine grape of Argentina thanks to its success in the vineyards of Mendoza, solidifying this delicious wine as a favorite among wine connoisseurs worldwide and thus earning Argentina some well-deserved respect in the wine industry.

Malbec continues to be one of the most popular wines produced in the Valle De Guadalupe region. Prominent fruit flavors make this wine known for its beautiful taste of black cherry, pomegranate, plum, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry., while cocoa and coffee add to the wine’s signature aroma.  With a medium acidity, the wine is oak aged with hints vanilla, dill, and coconut coming through in the aging process, although the oak is typically not extremely prominent.

This famous wine can be found at the F.Chauvenet in the Valle De Guadalupe area. F.Chauvenet creates a delicious Malbec, Ruby Cabernet. Pairing well with beef, poultry and hard cheeses, this wine breathes in a relaxing feel for all.

Monte Xanic, a premier winery in Valle De Guadalupe, features Monte Xanic Edicion Limitada Malbec, a Malbec that’s beautiful in color with violet and cherry tones. Aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, this Malbec is crisp and with a medium intensity aroma that’s dry, fresh, and inviting. Paired with lean meats and Bluefin tuna, this wine will soon become your next favorite.

Barbera’s

Barbera is another favorite red wine from the wineries of Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico. This wine is made from the dark-skinned wine grape variety of the same name, originating from several Italian wine regions and native of Piedmont and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. By the 2000s, Barbera became the third most commonly planted red wine grape variety in Italy and has continued to grow in popularity ever since. In addition to simple red wines, Barbera is also used for blends.

This wine grape is special in its versatility, making it perfect for growing in Mexico’s Valle De Guadalupe climate. The wine itself is characterized by its notes of black and red cherry, blackberry, spice, and chocolate. Barbera wines typically see oak but can age well within a few years to gain a character profound within itself.

Barbera wine can be found at Union de Productores del Valle de Guadalupe, one of the top wineries in the region. This wine pairs particularly well with lamb, beef, spicy foods, poultry, and game like deer and venison. The wine is characteristic of a typicial Barbera with its fruity notes.

Barbera can also be found at Santo Tomás, the region’s oldest winery, where construction of a one-of-a-kind wine tasting room was recently completed. The new facility is prime for wine tasting, offering a truly special experience for the wine connoisseur.

Must-Visit Vineyards

If you’re a big fan of red wines, here are a few of our favorite vineyards in the Valle De Guadalupe region

Trevista Vineyards has been producing incredible wines in the Guadalupe Region of Mexico since 2007 and is known for its casual, charming, and relaxing environment. Many people say that this winery is a comfortable destination for great food, great wine, and a welcoming energy that can’t be found anywhere else.   Favorite reds include:

  • The 2011 Tempranillo, which is known for its midnight color, as well as semi-woody and black fruit taste. The wine is balanced sweetly with fresh baked fig bread and flavors of sweet raisin cream, making it delectably sweet
  • The 2010 Tempranillo, which is is an attractive, sweet wine, described with its dense purple beauty. Ripe black fruits garnish the wine with a velvety texture palatable to the taste with a long and pure finish.
  • The 2009 Cabernet, which couples black fruit with earthy flavors of mint, along with elements of pleasant florals and natural minerals. This pure, clean wine is relaxed with spice cake notes.

Red wines are a prominent feature of Cavas Valmar, a family owned and operated winery that features seven highly-rated wines. Favorites include:

  • The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is of classic Mexican style from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Pairing well with beef, lamb, poultry, and spicy foods, this wine is perfect for every occasion.
  • The 2010 Tempranillo, which is known for its fruity notes and flaccid tannins. The wine has a welcoming nose and a delightful finish.
  • The 2009 Luna Del Valle, a Californian Red Blend relative to traditional Napa Valley wines. The Luna Del Valle has been described as one of the greatest tasting red wines of the Valle De Guadalupe area.

Monte Xanic, a 27 year-old vineyard, is one of the premier wineries in Mexico. Some of their most popular wines include:

  • The Edición Limitada Malbec, mentioned above, which offers notes of wild and tart cherries, raspberry, wood, blackberry, and cream. The pleasant wood tones provide coffee notes for firm and sweet tannins with a full body.
  • The Edición Limitada Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon variety. Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, the deep bright color of this wine is crisp and bright, presenting red fruit flavors for an extremely attractive aromatic complexity.
  • The Edición Limitada Cabernet Franc, which is a 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot variety. Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, this wine has a semi-sweet mouth feel with robust tannins to give an overall round body. A well-balanced, long finish makes this wine clean and bright.
Valle de guadalupe wine

Valle de guadalupe wine

The wines of the Valle De Guadalupe region are profound beauties. Developing an essence for the new wine country, Valle De Guadalupe is a must-visit for your travel bucket list. Come for the gorgeous weather and stay for the delicious food and wine.

Baja California Cuisine--What's the Food Like, Exactly?

Baja California, it must be said, has not always been widely recognized for its fine cuisine. The region's most famous culinary contribution is one that few people tend to associate with it--we're talking, of course, about the Caesar salad, supposedly invented in Tijuana in 1924. However, until just a few years ago really, Baja California cuisine was most widely understood to consist of fish tacos, cheap beer, and well... that's about it.

But flash forward to 2015, and the game has changed drastically. Baja California cuisine is now placed firmly on the map--and not just in Mexico or wider North America, but all around the world. This can be attributed in large part to the explosion of one specific culinary style--Baja Mediterranean, or "Baja Med" for short.

But what exactly is Baja Med cuisine like, and what sort of Baja California cuisine can you expect to enjoy on one of our tours? Allow us to briefly explain things for you here:

Baja Med, the New Baja California Cuisine

According to Miguel Angel Guerrero, fourth-generation Tijuana chef and local celebrity in his own right, there are three essential elements that make up Baja Med cuisine. Here they are, as most would agree is their order of importance:

1. Mexican Influences. This of course makes sense, because it's still Mexican food that we're talking about here!

2. Mediterranean Influences. These exist due in large part to the sections of Baja California that feature a Mediterranean climate--most notably the Valle de Guadalupe of course! The wines, olives, and unique herbs and spices produced in the valley make it perhaps the spiritual heart of Baja California cuisine.

3. Asian Influences. Baja Med's Asian influences are probably the cuisine's "wild card," and they're generally the style's least immediately recognizable roots. However, parts of Baja California have surprisingly large Asian--and more specifically, Chinese--populations, and their traditional cooking has been incorporated into Baja Med as the final ingredient.

What Kinds of Ingredients Are Used in Baja Med Cuisine?

This is an excellent question, because the fresh local ingredients unique to the Baja California region are what truly make Baja Med cuisine so special.

One could make the argument that the most important ingredients in Baja Med cuisine come from the sea. Fishermen working out of Ensenada bring back mussels, clams, oysters, and shrimp, not to mention tuna and other fish incorporated into the cuisine's iconic dishes. From the port city, these ingredients get sent throughout the region and even further abroad.

Of course, ingredients coming from the Valle de Guadalupe also play an integral role in Baja California cuisine. Besides (naturally) the wine, the valley is also the primary source of the olives and olive oil that play such important roles in the local food and restaurant scene.

Other ingredients employed tactfully in contemporary Baja Med cuisine include traditional Mexican cheeses and mole sauces, Asian staples like lemongrass and scallions, and produce unique to various parts of Baja California including tomatoes, strawberries, guava, and dates.

So are you starting to get the idea? Before we sign off, we'll leave you with some images of iconic Baja Med dishes. Where applicable, click through to check out some of Baja California's most iconic restaurants:

Looks good, doesn't it? If you like what you see, why not join us to try some of the most authentic Baja Med around on a Baja Winery Tour? If you've got any questions before we head out, feel free to contact us at your convenience.

"A Day in the Life" at Baja Winery Tours

ruta-del-vino

Though the group tours page here on our website does feature a brief itinerary of a typical tour, we still get a lot of messages from potential tour-takers asking us variations on a simple question: "so what exactly do you do on a tour of the Valle de Guadalupe?"

Frankly, it makes sense. Before you shell out cash and a full day of your weekend heading to someplace you've never been before, you certainly want to know what to expect! That's why we'd like to address the question here in our newest blog post--"A Day in the Life" here at Baja Winery Tours.

A Day in the Life at Baja Winery Tours

We hope you got a good night's sleep, because you've got a long day ahead of you! Unsure of what to expect, excited, and perhaps a bit nervous even, you leave the house around 8 o'clock to make it to our central San Diego meeting point well before our departure time of 9:00 AM. Once you arrive, any worries you might have had quickly start to fade away. Your tour guides are friendly and down-to-earth, and you can tell you'll make fast friends with the rest of the group. You hop onto our comfortable, air-conditioned transportation and you're off, soon crossing the border and ready to experience this land so close to home yet so far away.

The Drive

It's about an hour and a half from central San Diego to the Valle de Guadalupe, the heart of Baja California wine country. You might have heard some nightmare Tijuana driving stories from friends before you left, but once again Baja Winery Tours has it all figured out. Rather than the gritty urban jungle of the border city, you look out the window to see scenes more like this one:

Baja winery tour ocean scene

Instead of passing through Tijuana, all of our tours hug the Baja California coastline along Mexico's Highway 1. The views here are impressive to say the least, and more than one guest has commented that it's something like driving along California's Big Sur coast.

Before you know it, you're turning off of Highway 1 and heading inland. Here the scenery rapidly starts to change, and rather than the deep blue of the sea you'll soon be seeing the patchwork greens and browns of Mexican agricultural land:

Mexican agricultural country

And then, quicker than you'd thought possible, you're in the Valle de Guadalupe on Mexico's world-renowned Ruta del Vino. Who knew two hours could pass so fast?

The First Wineries

At this point it's around 10:30 AM, and you're ready to start what you came here to do--try some of the valley's world-famous wines! The wineries we visit rotate depending upon the season and the group--that way we can provide the absolute ideal wine-tasting experience on every one of our tours.

Today, the first winery we're stopping at is called La Lomita. Opened in 2009, La Lomita has quickly grown into one of the Valle de Guadalupe's most respected family-owned-and-operated wineries:

The staff at La Lomita are always warm and friendly, and whether you're a seasoned wine expert or just a casual fan, they'll take you under their wing as they show you exactly how they produce their fantastic selection of wines. You start the tour with a quick walk through the vineyards, and from there you'll see how the best grapes are hand-selected prior to processing:

You'll check out the cellar, and of course, you'll have ample opportunity to sample the wines crafted here at La Lomita. It's not a bad way to start the tour, and it's still not even the afternoon!

After an hour or so exploring La Lomita and enjoying their wines, it's time to move on to the second winery on our tour. Today we'll be checking out Monte Xanic, founded by five friends in 1987 as arguably the Valle de Guadalupe's original boutique winery. The team has grown since then, but the same passion and expertise is still poured into every bottle of wine made at Monte Xanic today.

On the tour here, you'll enjoy a look at a larger and more established winery business--Monte Xanic currently produces over 50,000 cases of wine annually. Wines made here are sold throughout Mexico and even in some select spots internationally, so you'll discover an operation that's a bit more advanced logistically than at La Lomita. That being said, there's a reason that Monte Xanic wines are still the gold standard to which most new Mexican wines are compared. Once you get to the sampling part of the tour, you'll understand completely!

Lunch

By this time it's almost 1:30 in the afternoon, not to mention the fact that you've got a few glasses of fine wine in you! There's no doubt you're feeling hungry, but don't fret--it's time for lunch at one of the Valle de Guadalupe's top gourmet restaurants.

Though our lunch destinations do rotate as well, today we'll be enjoying a five-course tasting menu at Finca Altozano, without a doubt one of the top restaurants in the Valle de Guadalupe. The restaurant's roots stretch back well over a decade to when it was just a small tent, some wooden logs, and a grill manned by the indomitable Tijuana chef Javier Plascencia:

This is the same guy that owns multiple restaurants throughout Tijuana and just opened up the fantastic Bracero Cocina in San Diego--does the name ring a bell?

Anyway... Finca Altozano is a restaurant with a simple concept, an asador campestre ("country grill") using the freshest local ingredients to create plates that are classic, innovative, and environmentally friendly all at once.

Here you'll have a choice to make. You might decide to relax in the shade:

Or you might choose to take a seat in one of the restaurant's iconic giant wine barrels:

Finca Altozano wine barrel seats

Either way, prepare yourself for a deceptively simple and absolutely delicious five-course menu featuring without a doubt the freshest, most mouth-watering birria and barbacoa you've ever had the pleasure to enjoy. While you eat, you'll chat with your fellow tour members and guides, sharing stories and laughs on this beautiful afternoon.

The Final Winery

After a long, leisurely lunch, it's about 3:00 PM--time to visit the final winery on our tour. Today we'll be visiting the Adobe Guadalupe, which doubles as an inn and a horse training center. In fact, the Adobe Guadalupe is the largest breeder of Azteca sporthorses in the world!

For today though, there'll be no horseback riding for you--we've simply got too many things to do.

Founded in 1998, the Adobe Guadalupe is home to over 60 acres of vineyards growing a vast variety of grapes for an equally vast variety of wines. The grounds of the Adobe Guadalupe are also full of interesting sculptures and pieces of folk art designed by local, national, and international artists like Juan Sebastián Beltrán, Cecilia García Amaro, and Natana Gulliver:

Baja Winery Tours Valle de Guadalupe art

After exploring the grounds of the Adobe Guadalupe, learning more about their winemaking process, sampling their wines, and sharing yet another fantastic experience with your tourmates, it's starting to get late. The sun is just beginning to wane over the Adobe Guadalupe:

Adobe Guadalupe sunset

It's just after 5 o'clock, and it's about time to get headed back home.

The Drive Back

After a long day of food, sun, laughter, exploration, and plenty of wine, you're grateful to be getting back on the transportation for your return trip across the border. It was a lot of fun, but frankly, you're exhausted.

If you and the rest of the group still have some energy, we'll stop at one of our favorite roadside stands for authentic Mexican tacos or delicious, freshly made churros before we cross back into the United States. Even if you didn't think you could fit anything else in your stomach, the smell alone will probably entice you to enjoy just a bit more of the Mexican experience before you go.

Now, before you know it, you're crossing the border back into the United States. As we return to our original meeting point in central San Diego, today feels almost like a dream. Did we really manage to have so many incredible experiences in one afternoon, and just a few hours away from San Diego?

It's now 7 o'clock, and it's time to hop off the bus and head back to your car. Before you go, you share goodbyes and perhaps even contact information with your new winery tour friends. After thanking your tour guides one last time, it's off back home once again. As you walk across the parking lot, you realize how excited you are to brag about the experience to friends and family tomorrow!

So that's it--a typical day for us here at Baja Winery Tours. If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, or if you have a few more questions before making your decision, why not contact us? We'd be more than happy to fill you in and to have you along on our next tour.

Valle de Guadalupe Weddings and Events

Stunningly beautiful natural surroundings, world-class wineries and dining establishments, easy access from Southern California and even the rest of the United States... When you really think about it, is there any place better for a wedding or special event than the Valle de Guadalupe

Wedding and event planning experts have declared 2015 the year of the "ranch wedding," and they've indicated that unexpected venues are a major trend for this year as well. No matter how you slice it, a wedding in the heart of Baja California wine country just gets more and more appealing.

If you're intrigued by the idea of a Valle de Guadalupe wedding or special event, then you're on the path towards making a great choice! Now all that remains is a bit of research into what exactly your Valle de Guadalupe wedding and event options are...

And luckily for you, we here at Baja Winery Tours are ready to help!

In this post, we're going to take a look at just a few of the hotels, restaurants, and wineries that regularly host weddings and other similar large events here in the heart of Baja wine country. Use it as a jumping-off tool to discover some of the best options for Valle de Guadalupe weddings and events:

Hotel Hacienda Guadalupe

The Hotel Hacienda Guadalupe could arguably be the most experienced Valle de Guadalupe wedding and event venue--and when you're planning something so important and on such a large scale, isn't experience exactly what you're looking for?

Though the Hotel Hacienda Guadalupe hosts events as small as corporate meetings and as large as mid-sized conventions, weddings really are their speciality. They offer banquet services including waiters, bartenders, and hosts for up to 400 guests in an elegant but laid-back indoor/outdoor setting.

The wedding party frequently books the entire twelve-room hotel, making the Hotel Hacienda Guadalupe a totally intimate and exclusive venue with all the staff focused entirely on you and your group.

And let's be honest--a private pool with a stunning nighttime view of Mexican wine country doesn't sound like a bad afterparty, does it?

La Villa del Valle

Though they generally cater to smaller parties with an average number of 100 or so guests, La Villa del Valle is another experienced venue when it comes to Valle de Guadalupe weddings and events. Their banquet services feature what they describe as "Mexiterranean" cuisine, mixing local flavor with international favorites in a way that's sure to please any palate.

Similar to the Hotel Hacienda Guadalupe, La Villa del Valle is small and only houses six guest rooms. This means that it becomes an entirely exclusive spot during weddings and events, and its 70 acres of vineyards, orchards, and gardens are all yours to explore should you choose to host your event here.

Barón Balché

Barón Balché is without a doubt a winery first and an event venue second--but in a sense, that's what makes this place so special!

Barón Balché is widely recognized as one of the top Valle de Guadalupe wineries, but comparatively fewer people know that it's a top venue for weddings and events in Baja wine country as well. Despite the fact that they don't advertise it widely, they have beautiful event facilities and an experienced and competent staff ready to turn your dream wedding into a reality. Excellent house-made wines which you and your guests will certainly enjoy are just the icing on the cake.

These venues are fine examples of what the Valle de Guadalupe has to offer in terms of wedding and event facilities, but they're really just the beginning of a longer list. To learn more about Valle de Guadalupe weddings and events, we invite you to contact us--or better yet, to come along on a tour and see firsthand what the Valle de Guadalupe has to offer!

Things to Do in the Valle de Guadalupe--That Don't Involve Wine or Food!

There are no two ways about it--Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe is famous first and foremost as a paradise for lovers of fine wine and food! But this being said, it doesn't mean that there's nothing to do in the Valle beyond hopping from winery to restaurant, sampling what there is to eat and drink.

Even if you're not the world's biggest wine fan, a trip to the Valle de Guadalupe could still be very much worth your while. Wondering why? Well let's take a look at some of the non-wine and food-related activities and things to do that the Valle de Guadalupe has to offer:

Horseback Riding

Though the Valle de Guadalupe is by no means a typical Mexican destination, the fact of the matter is that traditional aspects of Mexican life continue living on here even today. That's why it should come as no surprise that horseback riding is still a popular activity for tourists and locals alike--though you don't necessarily have to don a charro outfit to enjoy it.

One of the most popular places to partake in this activity is the Adobe Guadalupe, which besides being an excellent winery and bed & breakfast is also the world's largest breeder of Azteca sporthorses. Guests here can ride in both the English and Western styles on well-trained horses adaptable to riders of most any skill level. A horseback ride across the Adobe Guadalupe's vineyards to the neighboring Monte Xanic winery is without a doubt one of the most fun things to do in the Valle de Guadalupe.

Hiking

When you think about northern Mexico, you probably think "desert"--and when you think "desert," you probably don't think "hiking." That said, the Valle de Guadalupe is not the northern Mexico that you might think you know!

The fact of the matter is that the Valle de Guadalupe features a surprisingly pleasant Mediterranean climate, and the breezy, vegetation-covered mountains surrounding it provide a very agreeable setting for an afternoon hike. One of the area's most well-known trails is accessible from the grounds of Mogor Badán and is around four hours round trip up into the mountains and back.

Camping

Though the Valle de Guadalupe can certainly get hot during the day, the cool and clear nights here are ideal for spending out under the stars. Thankfully, there are a few spots in the valley that offer good old-fashioned campsites to visitors looking to enjoy the area's beautiful natural settings in a more rustic way.

Chief among these spots is Bibayoff Vinos, a winery still run today by descendants of early-20th century Russian immigrants to the Valle de Guadalupe. Then, for an even more off-the-beaten-path camping experience, the San Antonio Necua indigenous community--traditional home to the Kumiai people--is a deservedly popular option. The spot is located in the far northeastern reaches of the valley, but campsites are only the equivalent of about six U.S. dollars per night and guided tours of the nearby wilderness on both foot and horseback make the trip well worth it. For a unique, culturally immersive experience in the Valle de Guadalupe, it's a tough option to beat!

At the end of the day, the basic point is that there is a virtually endless supply of worthwhile things to do in the Valle de Guadalupe. Though typical group tours with Baja Winery Tours stick primarily to restaurants and wineries, if you're planning a private tour with us and have another activity in mind, let us know! Though we can't make any guarantees before speaking with you, we're always happy to try and accommodate tour suggestions on an individual basis.