A Pedacito of Valle de Guadalupe
Updated: Jun 19
I had never heard of the Valle de Guadalupe prior to my friends going there about five years ago. The Mexican wine region, located south of Tijuana and just east of Ensenada, is quickly growing in popularity and I was eager to get down there to check it out for myself.
A very last-minute trip to stay with my friends in Rosarito Beach a year later gave me just the opportunity to check out this interesting part of Baja California.
We hired my friends’ regular driver, Luis, to take us the hour or so south of Rosarito Beach to the Valle, stopping once to take a picture at the most amazing overlook that I think I’ve ever been to.
After a short photo session, we hopped back into Luis’ car and planned out our wine tasting adventure. Or, more specifically, we mapped out some of the wineries we wanted to go to with the expectation that plans would change based on where the day took us.
Our first stop was a small winery my friends had already fallen in love with, Vinícola Retorno. The winery, which opened in 2008, was quickly gaining a reputation for its fantastic reds and whites, including their Nebbiolo. Yes, in Mexico the Nebbiolo is a must-try.
The owner of the winery was fantastic, letting us taste both reds and whites as well as a new vintage of Nebbiolo that he had just bottled and didn’t have a label yet.
We had a plan for our second winery, but he convinced us to head to Sol Y Barro instead. The winery was a little larger than Retorno and had a really good reputation, he said.
The tasting room was really cool and we were able to do a great tasting with one of the assistant winemakers. There was one other couple at the winery but we were able to learn more about the origins of the wine and the process.
My friends had heard about the lunch at 3 Mujeres, a winery run by three sisters on top of a hill overlooking many of the vineyards. We had it on our list to check out, not knowing exactly what we’d be getting into. I’m so glad we went!
We were treated to a home-cooked four-course meal paired with wines from their vineyards. It was, by far, one of the best things I could’ve done, from eating the food locally grown and prepared by the family, to drinking the wine they made that went exactly with each course.
It was so good that I did not get a single photo of the vineyard or the food!
Our final stop on day one was ATP Vinos and Familia. Somehow, we were the only people in the tasting room so we were treated to a lovely story of the start of the winery by the owner, who didn’t speak any English, and his daughter who translated for us.
The winery opened in 2010 and several of the vintages had already won awards in Central and South America. Being able to learn from the man behind the wine was really fun, and his passion for what he does was contagious.
After the day of wine drinking, we made our way back to the house with a plan to come back the next day to check out a few more wineries.
Hopping into a larger vehicle to accommodate more of our friends, Luis agreed to drive us back for day two of wine tasting.
After stopping to visit a friend’s family, we decided to hit a larger winery that had a good reputation: Bodegas F. Rubio. It’s a family-run winery that has a vineyard on the property. The tasting room is larger than many of the others in the Valle and the outdoor area set up for tastings had the most beautiful views of not only the vineyard but the mountains that make up much of the area.
There are so many amazing wineries in the Valle and while it’s becoming more and more popular, it still retains that feel of an almost undiscovered travel destination.
My friends have now opened a winery themselves, so that gives me even more reason to head to the region to taste even more amazing Mexican wines.
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