Vacation en el Valle
El Valle de Guadalupe is a little slice of wine paradise hidden in Baja California, just north of Ensenada. Over the last few years it has really made a name for itself due to the quality of the wine, the interesting architecture and its beauty.
Most of what I’ve learned about wine has come out of this lovely place. And at less than a 2 hour drive from Tijuana, it couldn’t be more perfect to getaway from the day to day grind and relax. You’ll want to start early though, most of the wineries close by 5PM!
Picking the Grapes
Many of you probably already know this and weren’t as naive as I was several years ago when I learned that each type of wine is its own type of grape! Merlot comes from a Merlot grape, Chardonnay comes from a Chardonnay grape, etc.
In El Valle de Guadalupe, you’ll find both white and red grape varieties which leave it up to the wine creators to mix and match to deliver robustly flavorful wines. One of my favorite grapes grown in the region is a red grape called Tempranillo, which is usually found in Spanish or Portuguese wines. It is a delicious taste without leaving you with the dryness of a Merlot.
Picking the Wineries
Which to choose….such a hard answer because so many are unique and special! El Valle de Guadalupe has over 70 wineries, which makes it hard to visit them all…Here are a few of my personal favs:
- Legado Sais, Vinícola – excellent wine, lots of options. They have a quite a variety to choose from, a few red, a few white, Tintillo, and dessert wines like port.
- I might be biased for this one because we did get a private tour here a few years back and got to taste some grapes off the vine and their first Tintillo creation straight from the barrel…
- El Encuentro – great view, food and wine. This place also has beer if you are looking from something other than wine. I recommend getting the Churros to snack on.
- Bodegas F. Rubio – great view, vibe, food and wine.
- Clos Tres Cantos – unique architecture, great view and delish wine.
- Casa Frida – colorful and artsy just like Frida, enjoy the great view, food and wine.
- Cuatro Cuartos – this place has the ultimate ocean view with wines from different locations.
Picking the Food
The food in wine valley is just as good as the wine. Some can get pretty high end and expensive, but here are a few middle ground places that I recommend:
- Doña Estelas – some of the best traditionally mexican food in the area! Awesome for brunch and starting the day.
- Ochentos – Wood fire pizza, beer and wine. Enough said.
- Finca Altozano – think farm to table plus a tortas food truck and Das Cortes coffee.
Picking the accommodations
If you’re looking for a unique experience and you’ve got the cash to spend, here’s a few interesting places to spend the evening:
Notes to Self
Anytime of the year is good to head down there, but August is harvest month and there’s lots of activities to attend. Summer in general is busy, but also fun to see all the vines full and taste some grapes.
If you plan on going with small children, they are only allowed in the wineries that also serve food. So just keep that in mind!
If your the museum types, there’s a museum about the area that you can check out.
Don’t drink and drive! Uber has (hopefully still has) an option to hire a driver specifically for the Valle of Guadalupe. You can also rent drivers with vans or go on a tour with locals.
Anyway you do it, have fun and enjoy your weekend!