Top 4 Wineries to Visit in Valle de Guadalupe
September 5, 2019
Many of us may associate Mexico with tequila, mezcal, and refreshing lagers, but south of the border, our neighbors are starting to produce exceptional wine. Valle de Guadalupe lies in Baja California where the warm, dry Mediterranean climate and cool evening breezes allow winemakers to experiment with different varieties and styles. It's no wonder that so many boutique wineries have cropped up in the region.
Valle de Guadalupe often draws comparisons with Napa although you'll also hear some liken it to the Southern Rhone. With well over 100 wineries across Valle de Guadalupe, it's a great spot for a weekend wine getaway. Along with its wines, this up-and-coming wine region boasts some excellent dining destinations which are a must-visit for gourmands. Wondering which wineries to add to your itinerary? These are our top picks.
1. El Cielo
Located along Baja's Ruta del Vino, El Cielo specializes in producing excellent boutique wines ranging from Old World-inspired wines to those featuring New World ripeness as well as exciting blends across their three lines: Astronomos, Constelaciones, and Astros. Winemaker Jesus Rivera is a Valle de Guadalupe native who excels at bringing out the best of the region's unique terroirs in his exquisitely crafted wines. In addition to the winery, El Cielo also has a restaurant, coffee shop, and hotel attached to the property. The restaurant, Latitud 32 is known for its fantastic steaks – perfect for enjoying with a glass of one of the winery's outstanding Cabernets.
2. Vinicola Adobe Guadalupe
This idyllic winery lies about 40 miles outside of the laid-back local food mecca Ensenada, in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe. Adobe Guadalupe's vineyards are planted to several grape varieties from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to Rhone classics like Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault to the Italian Nebbiolo, which is proving to be a regional winner. Winemaker Daniel Lonnberg makes wonderfully mineral-driven wines that are built to age—Baja's microclimates yield wines with excellent tannins and acidity. The winery offers wine tastings in its tasting room. You can also taste their olive oils which are made from the olive trees that border the vineyards. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation if you're planning on stopping by.
3. Monte Xanic
Monte Xanic holds the title of the valley's oldest winery. You'll find high-quality Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and more in Monte Xanic's vineyards. The Malbec, in particular, is a major star to come out of the winery, but the Monte Xanic team have picked up awards for several of the wines across their lineup. And these awards are well-deserved. Since it opened its doors in 1987, Xanic has led the charge for fine wine in Valle de Guadalupe and helped shaped the region's modern industry. A high percentage of granite in the soils coupled with the dry climate help to produce concentrated wines with plenty of minerality. Before you roll up to the winery for a tasting, be sure to book ahead. Tastings at this gorgeous property are by reservation only.
4. Vena Cava
Fans of sustainably-made wines should stop off a Vena Cava, an organic winery owned and operated by Phil and Eileen Gregory. Phil is at the helm of Vena Cava as winemaker, dedicating his energies to high-quality, small-production organic wines that strike the balance between Old World-style elegance and New World fruit. Cabernet, Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc, and a few blends make up Vena Cava's line of wines, as well as a delightful sparkling brut rose. The winery offers a regular tasting and a premium tasting in its stunning tasting room. If you're feeling peckish, head over to Troika, an out of this world food truck on the Vena Cava estate which serves up tacos, tostadas, and sliders from locally-sourced ingredients. One last word of advice—book ahead.
So whether you're in SoCal planning a weekend adventure or Baja's beautiful vistas and thrilling food scene have long been on your travel bucket list, Valle de Guadalupe is perfect for wine lovers looking to broaden their horizons and get first-hand experience of a truly exciting new wine region. Hit the Ruta del Vino or set up individual appointments at wineries you're especially keen to check out. And don't worry if you don't have time to visit every winery on your list. With so many fantastic wineries nestled in the valley and endless top options for dining out, you'll want to make the trip to Valle de Guadalupe again and again.
Written by Camille Berry for Knockaround.