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Valle de Guadalupe
The Valle de Guadalupe, northeast of Ensenada on Carretera 3, is filled with vineyards, wineries, and rambling hacienda-style estates. Although Mexican wines are still relatively unknown in the United States, the industry is exploding in Mexico, and the Valle de Gaudalupe is responsible for some 90% of the country's production.
With a region that combines the right heat, soil, and a thin morning fog, some truly world-class boutique wineries have developed in the Valle de Guadalupe, most in the past decade. Several of these are open to the public; most require appointments. Several tour companies, including Bajarama (646/178-3252), leave from Ensenada on tours that include visits to wineries, a historical overview, transportation, and lunch. Better yet is visiting the wineries yourself by car, as they all cluster in a relatively small area. Also worth a look is winemaker Hugo D'Acosta's new school, which brings in some 100 young winemakers to use common facilities to make their own blends. The facilities are on the site of an old olive oil press (a few antique presses remain in the outlying buildings), and the grounds are augmented with artwork made from recycled wine bottles and other materials.
Several changes are in store, which may alter the isolation of the valley, and in five years the place may have a different, more upscale, feel. The Monte Xanic winery has announced an agreement with the international Banyan tree chain to build a 42-room resort and spa on its property overlooking the vineyards, and the Baja state government has already begun paving some of the region's side roads. It seems that it's not only Mexican wine that's being discovered, but the potential of Guadalupe as a "wine destination," along with the mixed blessings that accompany such discovery.
Valle de Guadalupe at a Glance
Elsewhere in Baja Peninsula
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