Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe wine-growing region is recognized far and wide for the sustainability efforts put into place by its wineries, restaurants, and hotels. And sure, part of this is due to necessity--the area's Mediterranean climate is still pretty dry all things considered; the Valle receives about 12 inches of rainfall annually versus the Napa Valley's average of 25, for example.
However, a large part of the Valle de Guadalupe's sustainable reputation is the result of deliberate choice. First of all, much of the Valle de Guadalupe's development has occurred in the past twenty years, an era during which sustainability has been on many people's minds. Secondly, and more importantly, the Valle's off-the-beaten-path location and somewhat rugged nature has attracted a culture of vintners, restaurateurs, and hoteliers who truly appreciate and respect the natural world!
For these reasons, visitors to the modern Valle de Guadalupe will find a wide variety of wineries, restaurants, and hotels with sustainable design aspects and day-to-day sustainable practices on full display. In this blog post, we'll be taking a look at just a few of these locations and what they do to promote both a healthier Valle de Guadalupe and a healthier world:
Out of all of the wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe, La Lomita has always been one of the most forward-thinking in terms of sustainability. Besides doing nighttime drip irrigation to minimize evaporation and cut down on water use, the winery also features an on-site state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant that allows the same water to be reused two or even three times. Additionally, byproducts from the wine production process are composted when possible and the winery's restaurant sources much of its cuisine from an on-site garden and even its own dairy cow!
A new sustainable winery making inroads into the Valle de Guadalupe scene is called Clos de Tres Santos. Built just a year ago, the entire facility is based on the concept of sustainability with repurposed wood forming much of the structure and recycled wine bottles used throughout for decoration. Finally, the winery also features a membership program that supports local students in their studies, reminding us that sustainability has plenty to do with our human communities as well.
Out of all the Valle de Guadalupe's sustainable restaurant concepts, perhaps the most well-known is Deckman's En El Mogor. Michelin-starred chef Drew Deckman moved to the Valle de Guadalupe specifically because he fell in love with its culture--a culture that incorporates sustainability whenever possible. Doing his part, Deckman makes a point of sourcing all his seafood via sustainable methods--a large part of why the menu changes daily! And in order to keep the restaurant open during the colder months, he settled on an ultra-sustainable and charmingly rustic hay bale wall and tin roof construction.
Other Valle de Guadalupe restaurants of course also incorporate sustainability into their design and day-to-day practices. For example, Laja sources much of its food from an on-site garden and serves organic wines, while the restaurant Convivia at the Encuentro Guadalupe serves 60% of its tapa dishes cold to cut down on energy usage. This is a decision that goes unnoticed by most guests, but it's a conscious one nonetheless!
Finally, no discussion of sustainability in the Valle de Guadalupe would be complete without mention of the Hotel Endémico, the logical conclusion of the combination of all things "luxury" and "sustainable." Featuring 20 individual "eco-lofts" set above the ground to minimize environmental impact, solar-heated water facilities, and plenty of other environmentally friendly features, the hotel somehow feels both rustic and futuristic at the same time.
Of course, the information included above is just a brief look at the topic of Valle de Guadalupe sustainability--we're writing blog posts after all, not books! If you're interested in learning more about sustainability in the Valle de Guadalupe--of course while enjoying the best that the region has to offer in food and wine--we invite you to take either a group or a private tour with us at Baja Winery Tours! We look forward to hearing from you soon.