When most people think of escaping for a California wine getaway, they think of Napa or Sonoma — not Baja California. The Mexican state, just over the San Diego border is cementing its reputation in the wine world with its Ruta del Vino. The picturesque region boasts more than 150 wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe. Nearly 750 thousand visitors annually flock to the destination, which is just east of the seaside cities of Rosarito and Ensenada, to leisurely sip local varietals and dine on superb cuisine by award-winning chefs. Find out how to make the most of a trip there.
Where To Sip
Wine tasting etiquette is similar in this region of Mexico as it is in California. Most tasting rooms are open to the public and do not require reservations. Always double check opening days and times before you go.
Fernando Pérez Castro started Lomita with an obsession of cleanliness in the wine-making process. All wines are made only using only grapes processed and grown on the property, and have at least three years growing in the fields using organic practices.
Finca la Carrodilla is the first certified organic vineyard in the region. They farm their grapes using biodynamic principles with agricultural sustainability. Winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez turns out formidable Chenin Blancs, Tempernillos, and Bordeux blends. The winery also has an organic garden on site and shop where you can pick up produce and picnic items.
Perched on a hill on the northern end of the Valle, Decantos Vinicola offers an expansive tasting room with food, sweeping views and a variety of wine, including a few sparkling. They also get back to their traditional wine-making roots by being the first gravity flow winery in the country that completely eliminates the use of mechanical pumps for a more organic winemaking process.
Where To Eat
The number and quality of the restaurants in this region just might eclipse the wine. Dine on cuisine from Michelin-starred chefs and local celebrities celebrating the bounty of the land and traditions of the region.
The fine dining restaurant from Chef Javier Plascecia and Executive Chef Oscar Torres offers and all alfresco dining experience romantically situated under a centuries’ old oak tree in the middle of the Valle. Dishes feature meat and produce of the region and can either be ordered via tasting menu or a la carte. Specialties this season include bay scallops with a shies aguachile, and slow-cooked lamb barbacoa that is wrapped in a banana leaf and covered in clay.
After tasting wine at Lomita, walk across the driveway and follow a path through the vineyards to its critically acclaimed restaurant, TrasLomita. The tables are situated next to a small waterfall and stream filled with koi and turtles. 28-year-old rising star chef Sheyla Alvarado fronts the outdoor kitchen and turns out dishes like octopus expertly cooked on the wood-fired grill, sinfully rich crab pasta, and pork and mushroom quesadillas, all of which are perfectly paired with Lomita wines on the menu.
Michelin Starred-Chef Drew Deckman lives out the principles of the slow food movement, which he champions with this restaurant that features ingredients from the onsite ranch in addition to local seafood and meats. Dine on specialties like abalone with beets, mussels in a Thai curry broth, and a ribeye for two.
Where To Sleep
Like the cuisine and wines, sleeping in the valley takes full advantage of the environment. Relax in plush surroundings with endless views of the mountains and vineyards.
The winery has been around for half a decade, and to celebrate they opened their luxurious resort at the end of September. Check in to soak in refined luxury. The property features two presidential villas, expansive suites — complete with private butler service — exquisite pools, wine tastings from the property’s vineyard, and dining at renowned restaurant Latitud 32.
Staying at Encuentro Guadalupe is one of the best ways to experience the region’s environment. The property is comprised of 22 individual free-standing lofts perched on a hill overlooking the valley. The property also features an outdoor pool and sundeck, restaurant, and wine cellar for a tasting.
Sleep in rustic luxury at the hilltop oasis. The boutique hotel may only have six rooms, but that doesn’t mean it skimps on the amenities. Enjoy gazing at the valley scenery from the outdoor pool, yoga classes in the on-site studio, dining at Corazon de Tierra, and wine tasting at Vena Cava.