What’s that, they make wine in Mexico? Indeed, they do—have for centuries—and not just sacramental wine and plonk. In the northern reaches of Baja California, along Route 3 in the Guadalupe Valley, the quality of wine has risen over the past two decades. Wineries here have teamed up with chefs and hoteliers to create Baja’s very own Ruta del Vino (wine route). Less than two hours from San Diego, the Valle de Guadalupe, anchored by the city of Ensenada, has moved past its Tequila-and-Tecate roots to ones based on the grape. Head south of the border for a wine-and-travel experience you won’t forget. Valle de Guadalupe is a place of green valleys and boulder-covered hills. Its dry, hot summers and cooler, damper winters, combined with porous soil and cooling sea breezes, are ideal for grape growing. This northern end of the Baja California peninsula is, in fact, one of the New World's oldest wine-growing areas. Jesuit priests cultivated vines here in the 18th century, and the first commercial winery, Bodegas de Santo Tomas, opened in 1888. Valle de Guadalupe, the Wine Country of Baja, is located approximately 15 miles inland from Hwy 1, the Coastal Route. The Valley is app. 14 miles long and 5 miles wide at it's width, being about 2/3 the size of Napa Valley.
The average elevation is about 1100 feet. The Northeastern side is protected by the Sierra Blanca Mountain Range, which provides a barrier from the hotter desert that lies beyond. The water runoff from these mountains is the source of the Guadalupe River. The latitude is 32.5 degrees North that lies in the range of the many wine-growing countries in the Northern Hemisphere, between the 30th and 50th parralels. The average temperatures range from 46 degrees to 70 degrees fahrenheit. Summer evenings are cooled by the coastal marine airs that flow through a notch in the coastal mountains into the west/east-oriented valley. This cool air offers a respite to the ripening grapes.
Three towns inhabit the Valley, San Antonio de las MInas, Porvenir and Francisco Zarco.
Food from the Region:
The perfect pairing for Baja wines is food from the burgeoning Baja Med culinary movement. This small region is home to two of the 10 Mexican restaurants that appear on last year's inaugural list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants compiled by Restaurant magazine. One of these is Corazon de Tierra, headed by the innovative Diego Hernandez, who conjures up creative five-course tasting menus with delicacies such as goose barnacles and tostadas made with yellowtail fish, avocado and ginger purée. I sipped a glass of spicy tempranillo and watched as the nasturtium leaves and borage flowers that would later appear on my plate were plucked from the organic garden.
The focus on seasonal and local lends itself to culinary development, and the eclectic dishes I spotted on the region's menus included manta ray sopes (topped corn tortillas), tuna in jalapeño and sea urchin sauce, and venison tacos. On summer weekends, pop-up restaurants (or campestres) abound, headed by chefs such as Benito Molino from Manzanilla in Ensenada. The other restaurant in the top 50 is the elegant Laja just down the road. It's at the forefront of the valley's farm-to-table trend, and chef Jair Tellez creates simple but perfectly executed dishes, such as duck tortellini and swordfish in pumpkin sauce.
Other excellent restaurants are: Ophelia in the entrance of Ensenada, Muelle 3 amazing sea food restaurant, La Villa Del Valle (a lovely bed and breakfast) and Mustafa's Restaurant that offers Mexican cuisine as well as Moroccan.
Community in Valle de Guadalupe
In Valle de Guadalupe there is always something exciting to do or see. Whether it is wine tasting, enjoying an outdoor festival, attending a local softball game, or simply hanging out and enjoying the Wine Valley's unique culture. It is the people that make the Wine Valley special. This is a place to vacation or live and call home.
The month of August (Fiesta de las Vendimias) brings an exciting time to Valle de Guadalupe with the celebration of the harvest at many of the local wineries. There is a different venue for each. Baron Balche has a Tango Spectacular, Monte Xanic has symphony under the stars, Mogor Baden has an evening of Jazz. There are diverse activities from a paella feast to a bullfight.
Real Estate in Valle de Guadalupe
Now more than ever has been increasing the demand for the valley, there are many options with many prices that could vary depending on the location or the services. Here in RE/MAX Instantips we have more than 18 years of experience with the best contacts in the area for locating any property to buy or sell in Valle de Guadalupe. If you cannot find any good option to buy real estate in Valle de Guadalupe please contact us and we can do it for you.
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