Guadalupe Valley is located just 30 kilometers north east of
Ensenada and a quick hour and half drive south from San Diego. In recent years this area has burst on to the world wine scene. This valley is responsible for producing 90 percent of all the wine in Mexico. Accompanied by a renaissance of gastronomy, Guadalupe Valley is a perfect day, weekend or even longer getaway.
Guadalupe Valley has been compared to the influential wine regions of the world such as Rhone Valley in France and Napa Valley in California for its Mediterranean style climate. The vines grow in a wide variety of soils from granite to red clay and are massaged by an ocean breeze that rolls gently up the valley from the west. It's extreme weather with little rain, low temperatures at dusk and dawn and high temperatures during the day make for favorable conditions not only for grapes but for many of the olive trees that share the region.
In the last decade tourism has grown parallel with Guadalupe Valley vintners enthusiasm and perseverance. Now the region is populated with nearly 30 wineries along the Wine Route along with 13 hotels, and dozens of gourmet restaurants, one of which has been compared to Napa Valley's French Laundry. Rick Bayless, who specializes in Mexican cuisine and Anthony Bordain are among just a few of the celebrity chefs that have been drawn to the region leaving their stamp of approval.
From the largest winery in the north end of the valley, L.A. Cetto to the oldest winery in the south Santa Tomas, established 1888, this beautiful destination is adorned with boutique wineries that have sprouted in recent years and helped to guide this enchanting valley on to the world wine stage. The wineries celebrate the harvest each year with an almost month-long fiesta called Fiestas de la Vendimia.
Today's Baja wine route includes three main municipal delegations: Ejido El Porvenir, Francisco Zarco and San Antonio de las Minas and extends to the more southerly Santo Tomas and San Vicente valleys while revolving around the Guadalupe Valley and Ensenada, An eclectic mix of boutique wineries, respectable restaurants and upscale lodging blend seamlessly into Baja's high desert terrain.
Spanish missionaries first introduced wine into Baja California. A Jesuit Priest, Father Juan de Ugarte was the first to plant grapes in the region 1701. Today Mexico is an important member of the worlds wine society and Valle de Guadalupe is the most prominent wine growing region in the country.
Additionally, visitors can find campgrounds, numerous hiking trails through boulder fields, spas, missionary sites, community museums, art galleries, deep-sea fishing out of the nearby fishing town of Ensenada and even the valley's own cheese factory. A trip to Baja's wine country is the best of all worlds; adventurous, romantic, relaxing, picturesque, friendly and as sophisticated to an individual's pallet as one would wish.