city in Ensenada Municipality, Baja California, Mexico

Valle de Guadalupe (Guadalupe Valley) is in Mexico outside the city of Ensenada and is the premier wine producing region of Mexico. It is a popular tourist destination for wine and Baja Med cuisine, a fusion of Mexican cuisine and Mediterranean cuisine. The region features more than 180 wineries and an ever-growing list of boutique hotels and spas.

Understand edit

Grapes of Baja

These are a few of the varietals you'll experience in Guadalupe:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon - the world's most favorite red grape (and Guadalupe's top grape), dark color and deep fruit aromas
  • Nebbiolo - a grape that Italians sometimes believe only they can grow successfully is hugely popular among the smaller vineyards of Guadalupe
  • Tempranillo - s popular grape in Spain, it's also grown at over half the vineyards in Guadalupe. Winemakers appreciate the dusky leather character it brings to wines.
  • Mision - Franciscan friars planted this grape in the 18th century throughout California (both Baja and the U.S.) so they could make sacramental wines. It is a niche grape, but appreciated for its history perhaps more than its flavor and aroma.
  • Chardonnay - is the most widely grown white grape in Guadalupe and is often blended with Chenin Blanc or other varietals
LA Cetto is the largest wine producer in the Guadalupe Valley

The region includes a number of small towns and villages including (from south to north) San Antonio de Las Minas, Francisco Zarco, Porvenir, and San Antonio Necua.

The Valle de Guadalupe is equivalent to two-thirds of the Napa Valley in size and the climatic conditions are very similar to those of the French southwest (Rhone Valley). It has a Mediterranean microclimate that is conducive to winemaking activities. Most Mexican wines are produced in the Valle de Guadalupe, though there are other, smaller wine producing regions in other states, particularly in the Bajio region.

Climate edit

The climate is Mediterranean, a little more extreme due to its distance from the coast (25 km). Mornings are often damp and misty with a layer of fog floating over the vineyards. It has very hot and dry summers, without rain but with a breeze at night from the coast, mild and slightly cold, humid winters, the rainy season is between November and March. Temperatures are generally stable throughout the year, but when the direction of the winds changes from the continent to the sea, temperatures can rise well above normal whatever the time of year. This condición santana phenomenon generally affects northern Baja California and southern California, and generally lasts 2 to 4 days.

Terroir edit

Terroir is a term that includes climate, but more broadly, refers to any physical aspect of a region that can affect grapes and ultimately, uniquely local impacts on the flavor. In addition to climate, it is affected by the soil character (especially how it drains or retains water), by nutrients in the soil, by whether a vineyard is located in a place with direct afternoon sun or shade from nearby mountains. It also might be affected by the character of nearby industries, or products of adjacent farms.

The Guadalupe Valley is often said to have a "Mediterranean climate" because of its warm temperatures and bright sunshine, but there's also factors make Guadalupe Valley different from the Mediterranean, or Napa for that matter (and by extension, its terroir will be different). The Guadalupe Valley is close to the Pacific Ocean and has steady cooling breezes and a propensity for early morning fog that brings moisture to the vineyards. The soil is mostly sandy loam on the valley floor, with more granite in the foothills as you get close to the mountains (where several of Guadalupe Valley's most interesting small vineyards are found). Also be aware that some wines may inherit a terroir that's different from the winery's own grapes because grapes are commonly purchased from other growers, perhaps to satisfy demand when crops don't produce as expected, perhaps to get a different varietal (or old growth grapes). Purchased grapes may come from three other nearby valleys with similar, but slightly different terroirs.

Get in edit

Map of the Guadalupe Valley. Click on the layers icon at the top right, then "Relief map" to see the hills and topography.

The Guadalupe Valley is 20 km (12 mi) north of the City of Ensenada and 113 km (70 mi) southeast of the border crossing from San Diego to Tijuana. From Ensenada, drive north on MEX 1 and then turn onto MEX 3 heading north. From the north, you can follow MEX 1 south of Tijuana, but a better route might be to take the Ruta de Vino, MEX 3, south from Tecate (from San Diego, cross the border at Garita de Otay, then take MEX 2D east towards Tecate before turning south onto MEX 3).

An alternative route that is slower but more scenic and passes by dozens of lesser known vineyards is to take Carratera Francisco Zarco from MEX 1, passing through several towns, ending in Guadalupe (where you can connect to MEX 3). You will pass dozens of wineries and drive through areas surrounded by vineyards.

By bus edit

ABC operates one to three buses per day (more on weekends, less during the week) from Ensenada to Valle de Guadalupe. The 45-minute trip costs M$60 on the second-class bus or M$575 on the first-class ABC Plus bus.

Several tour companies operate private tour buses or Sprinter vans that leave from the San Ysidro border crossing to Valle de Guadalupe. Buses do not go to Guadalupe Valley from the Tijuana bus station, but you could take one to Ensenada then use an Uber or taxi to visit wineries. ABC buses depart Tijuana at least hourly.

By boat edit

Many cruise ships from the United States make port calls in nearby Ensenada. The cruise lines always have day tours to the wine country of Guadalupe Valley. This is an easy way for many visitors to experience that flavors of Baja wines and cuisine without worrying about travel logistics. The disadvantage is that the day trips offer a very limited amount of time in the valley.

Get out edit

If you're driving your own car from San Diego or Los Angeles, it is far better and faster to go home via the border crossing at Tecate or Garita de Otay than at Tijuana. The U.S. Border Patrol has an app that tells you estimated wait times at border crossings. It is almost always wrong, often under-estimating waits by a factor of 2 or 3. The scenic and lightly traveled MEX 3 is an easy drive, and even though it's a longer distance than MEX 1, you always make up the time difference with shorter waits for the notoriously inefficient U.S. checkpoints.

Get around edit

Vineyards in the Guadalupe Valley

Many visitors tour the valley on day trips from cruise ships docked in Ensenada, but that short tour provides only the briefest glimpse in the world of Baja wines. There are a lot of wineries in the area and a great number of upscale restaurants and inns. The Guadalupe Valley is a region that richly rewards the slower traveler who spends at least several days exploring all the region affords. Renting a car in Ensenada is a good way to explore the area on your own schedule, and lets you visit multiple vineyards in the same day. Tour operators in Ensenada also offer daily and overnight packages to visitors not on a pre-packaged cruise ship itinerary.

By car edit

Most of the roads are usually well maintained dirt roads that may have potholes, especially after a rain. Small cars with low ground clearance may occasionally have problems. Be courteous of bicyclists and field hands and slow down to avoid kicking up huge dust clouds as you pass.

Uber is available in Valle de Guadalupe and in Ensenada. Arranging a full day with an Uber or taxi driver is an excellent approach because it gives you flexibility in your schedule, a local who knows the roads, and a designated driver so you can drink the wines without worrying about getting pinched in a sobriety checkpoint.

By bike edit

The Guadalupe Valley is easy to traverse by bicycle and many of the small dirt backroads are a joy to ride. Finding the wineries is easy: just look for the blue and white winery signs. Signage in the region is excellent. Many of the wineries are close together and often offer lodging. An excellent multi-day bike itinerary could easily be put together. Allow as little as a weekend to explore a small handful of wineries, or several months if you can spare the time and want to experience the myriad sides to Baja hospitality.

See edit

  • 1 Wine Museum (Museo de la Vid y Vino), Federal Highway 3, KM 81, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 156 8165. Tu-Su 10:00 - 16:00. Modern museum inaugurated in 2012 as a monument to viticulture. Descend into the galleries as if you are entering a wine cellar, one where exhibits showcase production methods, grape varieties, climate and environmental contributions to the terroir of the regions wines, and information about the many vineyards of the region. Tastings are a given. This is a great first stop on a wine tour because it provides local intelligence about the area and includes up-to-date details about the ever-growing number of local artesanal wineries.
  • 2 Russian Community Museum of the Guadalupe Valley (Museo Comunitario Ruso del Valle de Guadalupe), 276 Valle de Guadalupe, +52 646 1552 030. Tu-Su 10:00 - 17:00. Between 1904 and 1906, 350 Russians from the Caucasus region, settled here, and began cultivating wheat, barley, vegetables, and wine grapes. They were fleeing the Russo-Japanese war and seeking to freely practice their religion, which was Christian but unorthodox. The museum offers an overview of the migration, foundation and daily life of the Russian colony in Valle de Guadalupe. By donation.
  • 3 Jersey Kids Zoological Park, Venustiano Carranza 777, Francisco Zarco. W-Su 09:00 - 18:00. This is a 1-stop family weekend playground. The zoo area includes camels, tigers, flamingoes and more. There are several pools, a splash pad, and a shallow wading pool for the tiniest tots. Palapas with picnic tables and barbecue grills. No alcoholic beverages allowed.

Do edit

Outdoor sports edit

  • 1 Todos Santos Polo Club - There are four polo teams in Baja that regularly play each other. The Todos Santos club is quite old, having been established at Rosalito Beach, but they moved to Valle de Guadalupe in 2007. Enjoy a glass of locally made wine while you go out on the pitch for some divot stomping, though you'll just have to stomp the dusty, sandy dirt... we haven't any grass, old man. So sorry! The polo club also has an upscale restaurant and is a popular venue for concerts and other large events.

Festivals edit

Vendimia party at the Mogor winery
  • Vendimia - In Valle de Guadalupe, the annual harvest festival is more of a series of events than a single event. Most of the events are elite parties hosted at individual wineries. These parties include dinners, wine tastings, music, and dancing and showcase local cuisine and local wines. Two larger events draw thousands of people: 1) Muestra del Vino is a wine tasting event that opens the Vendimia and 2) Concurso de Paellas is a paella contest that marks the closing of Vendimia. Vendimia takes place throughout most of August.
  • Valle Food and Wine Festival - A weekend full of signature dishes from local chefs, local wines, music, sun and fun. Held in late October.

Hot air balloons edit

Vineyards and cellars edit

Basic Terminology

Here are a few terms you'll hear on your wine tours:

  • blanco/rosado/tinto - white/rose/red
  • bodega - wine bar, can also mean winery or cellar
  • cava - cellar
  • cava - sparkling wine, like champagne, made with Penedes grapes
  • cosecha - vintage
  • dulce - sweet
  • enologia - winemaking
  • roble - oak
  • seco - dry
  • vendimia - harvest
Wine grapes in Valle de Guadalupe

More than 180 wineries are in the Guadalupe Valley. The following is a partial list of wine producers offering public tours and tastings. Some are large producers, most are small. Some also have on-site bed and breakfast inns, gourmet restaurants, and have occasional outdoor concerts and other events. The best time to visit is August to early October: this is when the harvests come in and the full process of crushing the grapes to obtain the sweet juice can be observed. Note that some wineries are open to the public every day, some are not. Some may require reservations in advance. Most charge a tasting fee and/or a tour fee. Some offer special tastings by request only. Check winery web sites and call ahead with any questions or requests.

  • 1 Adobe Guadalupe, Parcela A-1 s/n, Ejido El Porvenir, Rusa de Guadalupe, +52 646 155 2094. 10:00 - 18:00. Stay in the old hacienda lodge, take a horseback ride of the estate, dine in the patio restaurant, and taste the estate wines. Volume: 7,000-8,000 cases/year, wine tasting: M$200-M$300, Groups of 4 to 20 require reservations
  • 2 Vinícola Alximia, Las Lomas al Tigre Km 3, Villa de Juárez, +52 646 151 9363. 11:00 - 19:00 (closed W). State-of-the-art new 3-level winery with dramatic modernist design and a range of innovative wines from winemaker Alvaro Alvarez Parrilla. Volume: 4,500 cases/year
  • 3 Barón Balch'é, Juanita Beltrán S/N, Ejido El Porvenir, +52 646 688 1032. 10:00 - 19:00. Modern winery with caves that honor ancient Mayan culture. The winery produces a number of award-winning wines including a line of premium wines aged in white oak barrels for 3 years before bottling.
  • 4 Vinos Bibayoff, +52 646 947 9511. Th-Su 11:00 - 17:30. Friendly, unpretentious vineyard owned by the Bibayoff family, Russian Molokans who have operated the rancho since 1931. They produce a range of white and red wines, including an excellent zinfandel and also produce old vine grapes for other wineries.
  • 5 Bodegas Cieli, +52 646 150 9837. Th-M 12:00 - 18:00 (closed Tu W). Bodegas Cieli is a delightful property that recalls the dusty backcountry of Baja, and its rustic tasting room only adds to the charm. The Italian-inspired winery produces a number of reds, whites, and blends of different varietals while the kitchen serves Italian cuisine that matches the wines perfectly. For those more interested in beer than wine, Cieli also operates a small craft brewery producing some interesting ales and a creamy rich stout.
  • 6 Bodegas F. Rubio, Callejón de la Liebre Parcela 70, Ejido El Porvenir, +52 646 156 8046. Th-M 12:00 - 19:00 (closed Tu W). F. Rubio is a young winery, established in 2014, but one that is rapidly building a reputation for fine wines and fine dining in their bistro. Their Herencia white is made from Palomino grapes and is a full-bodied wine with a touch of Chenin Blanc. Their Malbec is aged in French oak for 12 months and has a somewhat dry palate.
  • 7 Casa de Piedra Vinicola, La Ruta del Vino KM93.5, +52 646 156 5267. Th-M 11:00 - 16:00 (closed Tu W). Hugo D’Acosta learned the art of winemaking in France and Italy and today passes on his prodigious knowledge to the next generation of Mexican winemakers while operating one of the most highly regarded wineries in the Valley. Reservations are highly suggested. The restaurant uses locally sourced organic vegetables and locally caught seafood.
  • 8 Bodegas Magoni, MEX 3, KM 83, +52 646 187 0483. Daily 11:00 - 17:00. The tasting room on La Ruta Vino opened in 2014 but Don Camillo Magoni has been making wine in the Guadalupe Valley for more than 50 years. Magoni began his career at the LA Cetto winery before starting his own vineyard. Today he grows on over 270 acres planted with more than 100 grape varietals. Some of his wines stem from his Italian roots, including a delightful Viognier and a Flano blend, called Manaz.
  • 9 Casta de Vinos, El Porvenir, +52 664 200 2357. Daily 11:00 - 17:00. Stunning contemporary architecture with a round main entry hall built of stone. The wine cellars were carved from the base stone. The winery produces a number of varietals and blends and a few limited edition releases, such as Casta Negra, which is a blend of Nebbiolo and Petit Syrah and is limited to 50 cases per year.
  • 10 Cava Maciel, Calle Sonora Lote 2 Manzana 7 Ejido, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 161 8471. Daily 11:00 - 17:00. Hilltop winery with outstanding vistas from the outdoor tasting patio. The small scale winery is operated by Jorge Maciel, who opened it in 2009. He produces a number of varietals from known quantities like the ubiquitous Chardonnay to lesser known varietals like Mourvédre, a light easy drinking wine.
  • 11 Corona del Valle, +52 646 116 2440. Tu-Su 13:00 - 21:00. Bright, airy, modern winery just off the busy MEX 3 highway. Surprisingly family friendly with a kids play area and several dishes on a kids menu in the restaurant (most wineries seem to assume that wine drinkers never travel with kids). The winery produces an outstanding Chardonnay and several red wines, including Merlot, Malbec, and Tempranillo.
  • 12 Decantos Vinicola, Rancho San Miguel Fraccion A, S/N, Ejido El Porvenir (Guadalupe), +52 646 688 1019. Daily 11:00 - 19:00. Stylishly beautiful contemporary winery with stunning modern art works at every turn. The wine cellar holds up to 16,000 bottles. The winery has grown so popular that most available wines are fairly young. They produce a clean, oaky Chardonnay, a Tempranillo and Nebbiolo, and several blended wines.
  • 13 Don Tomas, Camino A San Marcos Parcela 192, El Porvenir, +52 646 255 0437. M-Th 09:00 - 17:00, F-Su 09:00-19:30. The winery, started in 2014, has been growing into a cluster of buildings that includes the adobe-style tasting room, a restaurant that makes its own ice cream, and a cluster of casitas, cabins that can be rented for overnight (or longer) stays. The winery produces eight standard offerings, each bearing a "Reales" label. Reales #4 is a 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Reales #5, is a 100% Grenache. Reales #2 is a blend of seven grape varietals, aged 15 months in French and American oak.
  • 14 El Cielo, Carretera El Tigre-El Porvenir KM 7.5, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 978 0011. El Cielo is a large winery, producing over 30,000 cases per year. Their hacienda style facility includes the winery, caves, tasting room, a luxurious boutique hotel, two lakes, and two restaurants: one is an upscale steakhouse, the other a fusion of Baja and Yucatan cuisines. El Cielo produces several levels of wine, the first is made for casual drinking and is typically a younger wine. The Constellations level is more evolved and can stay in the bottle from four to ten years. The Estrellas label represents the premium wines, designed to be cellared and matured from ten to twenty years.
  • 15 Vinícola Emevé, Parcela 67, Porvenir, +52 646 688 1012. M-Th 11:00 - 16:00, F-Su 11:00 - 17:00. The modern winery features a large tasting room with floor to ceiling glass windows, a subterranean cave where tastings can be arranged by reservation, and fields of neatly tended vines stretching as far as the eye can see. Wines include a 100% Chardonnay aged in Hungarian oak for 4 months, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French and American oak barrels, and a 100% Malbec aged 12 months in French and American oak barrels.
  • 16 En'Kanto, Final de Calle Plata s/n, Villa de Juárez, +52 646 116 6334. Founded in 2016, this small winery produces up to 1,200 cases per year. It's a beautiful rustic space with tables and chairs under towering shade trees. The winery produces several varietals and some excellent blends. Their Dazzle wine is light and refreshing, a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Viognier. They have a Merlot, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Nebbiolo (which seems to be one of the most popular grape varieties grown in the Guadalupe Valley). Guest rooms are available for overnight stays.
  • 17 Finca la Carrodilla, +52 646 978 1345. W-Su 10:30 - 17:00. This good-size winery produces 5,000 cases per year and features a rooftop garden that's a green oasis, as well as helping to keep the building cool. Finca la Carrodilla began in 2011 and gets its name from La Virgen de la Carrodilla, an Argentinian saint who watches over vineyards. The winery practices sustainable agricultural practices and grows its grapes organically. It is one of the few wineries in the valley that can label wines as "organic". Varietals include Syrah and Chenin Blanc, and the winery produces several blends.
  • 18 Hilo Negro, +52 646 179 5377. Th-M 11:00 - 18:00 (closed Tu W). Hilo Negro is an impressive modern glass and steel winery whose aging cave is burrowed into the earth below the restaurant and tasting rooms, elevated on steel girders like a beach house on stilts. The restaurant is called 'emat, a Kumiai word that encompasses the Earth's spirit with a unity of land and water. It's a farm-to-table restaurant using locally grown produce, grass-fed beef, and artesanal cheeses made in the Guadalupe Valley. White wines are made using varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier and are usually bottled young. The reds use Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo and Syrah and are aged, either in French oak barrels, or in stainless steel and then bottle-aged.
  • 19 La Casa de Doña Lupe, Parcela 72-92 Rancho La Gotita S/n, Francisco Zarco, +52 634 109 6937. Daily 09:00 - 19:00. Doña Lupe Yi was one of the modern wine pioneers of Guadalupe Valley. The winery opened in 1968 and though its reputation and popularity have grown, the winery itself has remained small, producing only about 1,200 cases per year. It is a popular stop with tour vans from Ensenada, particularly on weekends, though weekdays are quieter. The on-site restaurant is excellent featuring locally sourced ingredients and home-cooked quality. The breads are baked in house and they even have their own artesanal craft brewery. The winery produces a number of notable varietals, both red and white. Reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, and Barbera.
  • 20 La Casa Vieja, México 3 KM 93, 22755 Villa de Juárez, +52 646 155 3153. 10AM - 8PM Saturday and Sunday. Small family-run ranch producting natural wines from Misión and Palomino vines planted over 200 years ago. The tasting room is in their historic 1800s adobe home.
  • 21 L.A. Cetto, Carretera Tecate KM 73.5, El Sauzal, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 980 0474. M-Th 10:00 - 16:00, F-Su 10:00 - 17:00. L.A. Cetto is the iconic Baja winery. Established in 1928 by Luis Angelo Cetto, the winery is the Guadalupe Valley's largest, oldest, and most successful winery, producing more than 1.2 million cases per year. Most cruise ship winery tours visit L.A. Cetto, which can become a bit chaotic when 2 or more of the big cruise ships are in port at Ensenada. A 1-hour tour is offered and a 1-hour tasting. A premium tasting of their reserve wines demonstrates the finest quality the winery produces.
  • 22 Las Nubes, Callejón Emiliano Zapata, El Porvenir, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 688 1027. Daily 11:00 - 17:00. Founded in 2008, Las Nubes has grown to a mid-size winery producing over 10,000 cases of wine per year. The modern facility uses sustainable methods to grow a wide range of varietals and also purchases "old vine" grapes from other local vineyards. The wines often have whimsical names of clouds, like Cumulus and Cirrus. They grow a large number of varietals, both white and red, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Grenache, Cabernet, Syrah, Carignan, and Tempranillo. The upper level includes an expansive outdoor deck with comfortable seating and awnings providing some shade from the bright afternoon sun as steady Pacific breezes keep it comfortably bearable. The lower levels include the production facilities as well as the aging caves, where thousands of oak barrels lie stacked in neat rows in the cool, damp air.
Bottles from Monte Xanic
  • 23 Monte Xanic, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 155 2080. Daily 11:00 - 17:00 (reservations required). Large, modern winery producing over 60,000 cases per year. The main tasting room includes a covered outdoor tasting deck with comfortable seating amid a rustic natural setting. A more intimate waterfront tasting area can be reserved by special request. A large number of varietals are grown, with Chenin Colombard and Cabernet Sauvignon among the oldest, most mature vines. The wines have earned an international reputation for quality with more than 260 awards received in competitions since their first vintage in 1986.
  • 24 Quinta Monasterio, Parcela 12, El Porvenir, +52 646 977 5880. Daily 10:00 - 18:00. This small, unpretentious winery will delight travelers who enjoy getting off the beaten path and finding hidden gems. The winery includes a full-service spa and cabanas that can be rented for overnight stays. Located in the foothills along dirt roads, it takes a bit more effort than the wineries clustered on the main highways. Founded in 2006, Quinta Monasterio produce about 7,500 cases annually. The standard tasting session includes a mix of varietals and blends as well as an accompanying cheese platter. Blends include Renata, a blend of Chardonnay and Zinfandel, and Cosecha, a young blend of Cabernet, Tempranillo and Syrah.
  • 25 Relieve Vinicola, Calle Granate, Villa Juarez, +52 646 247 5285. W-M 11:00 - 18:00 (closed Tu). Founded in 2005, the winery produces 3,500 cases per year. The winery includes an upscale restaurant called Mixtura that serves innovative Baja Med cuisine with an emphasis on fresh seafood dishes. The main tasting room is a work of art in itself, designed with sharp angles and so much glass that its impossible not to feel an intimate connection with the outdoor environment. The Chardonnay is blended with 20% Chenin Blanc and aged in concrete tanks. The rose is a blend of Pinot Noir and Malbec (no Granache). Several varietal wines are available including a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot, and a Nebbiolo.
  • 26 Rondo del Valle, Carretera El Tigre Km 3.5, San Antonio de las Minas, +52 646 117 0453. Th-M 11:00 - 17:00 (closed Tu W). Very modern winery, opened in 2014, with a contemporary architecture facility that's all stone, glass, and steel. If you come during harvest time the main tasting room is taken over by a conveyor belt feeding the de-stemming equipment. You can taste the wines while observing that first step of the winemaking process as bushels of grapes are loaded off trucks at one end of the building. The Travesí is a deep ruby red blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Malbec. The Morador is a premium label that varies by vintage, it blends Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon, and Syrah.
  • 27 Vinicola Retorno, Santos Degollado 161, Villa de Juárez, +52 646 151 9247. Daily 10:00 - 18:00. This small, family-run winery opened in 1997 and produces 5,000 cases per year and reflects humble beginnings from just before the boom in small wineries hit. It reflects a passion that's almost more hobby than business, though the stability of its operation attests to the quality of its wines. It's a startling contrast to the valley's bevy of over-funded technology-heavy glass and stainless wine labs. The family built their cave from adobe, by hand. They crush grapes using a wooden press, by hand. The Pa Abola is a blend of Barbera and Tempranillo with 6 months in American and French oak. Mezcla Bordelega is a French-inspired red blend of Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that ages 12 months in American and French oak and one to several years in the bottle. The house signature wine, labeled Retorno, is a blend of 90% Grenache and a hint of Syrah, aged 2 years in the barrel and one year in the bottle.
  • 28 Vinos Shimul, Rancho Pet'ay s/n, Valle de Guadalupe, +52 646 177 2108. Friday and Saturday by appointment only. Shhh! This is a secret for the serious wine cognoscienti. Shimul doesn't shout out their presence: you won't find any blue and white signs guiding you off the freeway, and you won't find posted hours for tastings. No cruise ship tours visit Shimul. You might find some online reviews for Shimul, but only a handful compared to the hundreds, or even thousands for neighboring wineries. The owners like it that way. Since 2000, they have been producing less than 1,500 cases per year. L.A. Cetto might be the biggest winery in the Valley, but Shimul would rather be the best. The winery grows varietals that other growers in the area shun, such as the Mision grape, which is a heritage varietal with a reputation for being labor-intensive to grow. They also age their wines for longer times than neighboring wineries, and using more complex regimens, sometimes involving two or three barrels of different type woods, or using second-use barrels rather than new barrels.
  • 29 Solar Fortun, +52 646 116 7235. F-Su 11:30 - 18:00. Founded in 2012, the winery produces 3,000 cases per year. It's located at the end of a canyon, down a long dirt road that ends in the valley's largest grove of old-growth California oak. The wines include a 100% Mourvédre that's aged in French oak and an interesting 50-50 blend of the Mourvédre with Petit Verdot. The winery's flagship wine, labeled "O Positivo", is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
  • 30 Vinícola Tres Valles, +52 646 178 8052. Th-Su 11:00 - 17:00. Founded in 2002, the small winery produces about 3,500 cases per year. It is a quirky place with eclectic sculptures of iron and wood, like the lizard near the entranceway or the spider in the tasting room. The wines are serious business though. Jala is a light white wine that's a blend of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Maat is made with old growth Granache and aged 12 months in French and American oak. The Sangiovese is an Italian varietal with a floral bouquet.
  • 31 Trevista Vineyards, Parcela # 18, San José de la Zorra, . 12:00 - 17:00 Saturday only. The vineyards are actually operating on other days, but are usually booked for events and large tour groups. You can sometimes arrange to get in by calling ahead. The winery is an interesting place because they are very small (producing only about 300 cases per year) and because they focus on the Tempranillo varietal. When you sample their wines you will probably be doing vertical tastings of different years of the Tempranillo.
  • 32 Vena Cava, Rancho San Marcos Toros Pintos sn, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 156 8053. Daily 11:00 - 17:00. The folks at Vena Cava are taking sustainability to a new level with their eclectic new winery built largely of reclaimed, errr, junk. Like the ceiling of their tasting room built of abandoned boats from the port of Ensenada. It's definitely a conversation starter. Let's talk wines. They have some straightforward varietals, like a 100% Granache, but quite a few blends, like an 80% Sauvignon Blanc with 20% Chenin Blanc, or a 50-50 blend of Grenache and Syrah.
  • 33 Viñas de la Erre, Carretera Tecate-Ensenada KM 87.5. F-M 11:00 - 18:00 (closed Tu W Th). The Rocha family had owned the land for more than three decades before deciding to start a vineyard in 2014. It's a charming small winery that produces 1,500 cases per year. Their Mezcla de la Erre is a complex blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, tempranillo and zinfandel---it earned the winery a silver medal in San Francisco. It is a wine that draws well outside the lines of traditional French (or even U.S.) conventions. So does their wine Selección de Tintos Reserve, a blend of cabernet franc, petit verdot, merlot and cabernet sauvignon aged 28 months in French oak.
  • 34 Viñas de Garza, Rancho Mogorcito, México 3 Km 87, +52 646 175 8883. F-Su 11:00 - 16:30. This family-run vineyard is one of the larger artesanal wineries, producing over 9,000 cases of wine per year. The property is immaculately landscaped with the tasting area atop a hill with soft breezes blowing through the spacious outdoor tasting pavilion. There is no restaurant on site, putting the focus squarely on the wine itself. Three different tasting packages are offered, differing by the quantity and quality of wines you want to sample. Chances are good that your tasting will be guided by one of the owners, who love to share their passion for wine and Baja with visitors. Wines may include a Chardonnay aged 10 months in French oak, a blend of Grenache and Tempranillo, or perhaps the Especial Edition blend of Grenache Syrah and Mourvédre.
  • 35 Viñedos Malagón, C. C 101, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 155 2102. W-Su 10:00 - 18:00. This vineyard was once part of the Rancho Malagón where Russian immigrants farmed the land in the 20th century. The winery opened in 2000 marking a new industry for a new millenium. Wineries are the name of the game in the Guadalupe Valley these days. Viñedos Malagón has been quite successful among the wine startups and now produces over 5,000 cases of wine per year. The property includes an upscale boutique bed-and-breakfast with spacious rooms decorated in bright colors with rustic pine furniture. The wines are graced with whimsically named labels, like Whistling Donkey, a 100% Nebbiolo, or Tinto a blend of five varietals. A craft brewery is also on premises under the name Cerveceria El Destino.
  • 36 Xecue, MEX 3, KM 88.9, +52 646 175 3830. Tu-Su 11:00 - 19:00. Owners Jose Luis and his wife Alberta split the workload 50-50, he grows the grapes, she makes the wine. Together, they welcome visitors to their modernistic young winery. Opened in 2004, they produce about 4,000 cases of wine per year. The winery includes an elegant restaurant serving regional Baja cuisine and rooms are available for overnight stays. A variety of wines can be sampled including Kumeey, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 25% Cab Frac. Kekoo, is a 100% Grenache varietal, Relato is a blend of Cab, Merlot, Tempranillo, and Nebbiolo

Buy edit

There are surprisingly few shops in this area, but they will likely come as merchants realize how fast the area has grown and how many wine enthusiasts and foodies have already discovered it. There are a large number of wine shops selling bottles of the local vintages...if you're looking for a potable souvenir. For now, you will find a wider range of shops in Ensenada.

  • 1 Por un Beso, Calle Principal y Tercera 210 4-5, Delegación Francisco Zarco, +52 646 977 7167. Daily 09:00 - 18:00. Neat and cozy small boutique shop selling souvenirs, hand-made crafts and typical clothing. Pottery, jewelry, handbags, and even a few T-shirts.

Eat edit

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget M$100-299
Mid-range M$300-599
Splurge M$600+

Baja Med is a term conceived by Chef Miguel Ángel Guerrero that refers to a fusion of Mexican cuisine, such as chicharrón and cotija cheese, with those of Mediterranean, such as olives, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and sometimes elements of Asian cuisine, such as lemongrass. Baja Med dishes showcase the fresh produce and seafood of Baja California.

Valle de Guadalupe has a great number of excellent places to eat, most are tucked away within the wineries on bumpy dirt roads. You can get high end farm-to-table food, fresh seafood from the coast, and affordable Mexican food of course. These places are scattered around the Valley, so grab a car or bike and get out for a great bite to eat.

Budget edit

  • 1 Familia Samarin (Russian place), Principal 276, Francisco Zarco, 22750 Guadalupe, +52 646 155 2030. Rustic restaurant, nice menu, wine and cheese tasting room, and a little garden with chickens and a couple of animals that kids will enjoy. The Russian Community Museum is part of the complex, with a simple home of Russian Molokan settlers outfitted as it would have been. US$10 per person without alcohol.
  • 2 Taqueria la Principal, Av. Principal, Guadalupe. Classic small-town taqueria with all your usual favorite cheap eats, carne asada, al pastor, chicharrones, pollo.

Mid-range edit

  • 3 La Justina Valle, Rancho Mil Amores, México 3 Km 86, Ejido El Porvenir, +52 663 198 3926. Lively nuevo Mexican restaurant with large outdoor seating area and excellent cocktails. Try the octopus tostadas!
  • 4 Salvia Blanca Cocina, Calle Merlot Parcela 325, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 103 4041. Daily 08:30 - 20:30. Inside the property of Contemplacion Hotel. Contemporary restaurant serving nuevo Mexican cuisine. Beef tongue is a house specialty, good chilaquiles at breakfast. M$200.
  • 5 Wa Kumiai Tabita, San Antonio Necua (turn off MEX 3 at LA Cetto winery), +52 646 257 1748. Sa Su 09:00 - 15:00. Interesting family-run restaurant with a fusion of traditional Mexican cuisine with dishes inspired by age-old Kumiai methods and ingredients (the Kumiai are an indigenous group that historically occupied territory from San Diego to south of Ensenada and east to Tecate; people from San Diego often spell it Kumeyaay). M$200.
  • 6 Meson Leonardo's, Avenida A #270, Villa de Juárez, +52 646 155 3003. Daily 07:00 - 14:30. Popular breakfast stop for visitors from Ensenada coming for the wine country tours. Traditional Mexican breakfast favorites like chilaquiles or huevos con chorizo as well as all-American family breakfast favorites like Mickey Mouse pancakes and apple pie. M$200.
  • 7 La Cocina de Doña Esthela, Ranchos San Marcos, El Porvenir, +52 646 156 8453. Daily 08:00 - 17:00. Traditional Mexican food with the occasional regional specialty. Extensive menu with lots of options for either breakfast or lunch. Goat and lamb are on the menu. The cafe olla is excellent. Large, popular place that sometimes gets crowded on weekends.
  • 8 Finca Altozano, Carretera Tecate - Ensenada, Ejido Km 83, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 688 1016. Daily 13:00 - 19:00. Outstanding restaurant serving Baja Med cuisine with lots of seafood and steaks. Large creative cocktails. Outdoor dining area available. Hilltop setting with panoramic vistas. Reservations suggested on weekends. M$300.

Splurge edit

  • 9 Casa Frida, Rancho San Marcos s/n, Ejido El Porvenir (Guadalupe), +52 646 596 6643. Concept restaurant popular with the expense account tour groups. Utterly massive with 5 levels and very lively with festive atmosphere, unique architecture and modern artworks. Tequila tastings as well as wine tastings. Rooms can be reserved through airbnb. M$10000+.
  • 10 La Esperanza, MEX 3, KM 73.5, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 385 2941, +52 664 143 0999. Th-Su 13:00 - 22:00. Sometimes it's fun to try "the original", and La Esperanza is the place where Baja Med cuisine was born. The menu is heavy on the seafood, with entrees like a grilled octopus and favorites like a Baja style ceviche, but there are beef and lamb dishes as well. The beef tongue carpaccio is a house specialty. The restaurant grills their meats over wood and offers pairings of dishes with matched local wines.

Groceries, gourmet and take-out edit


Wine country is plentiful with fresh grown food, artisan cheeses, and other tasty morsels year around. This section is for those who want to "cook on the road," whether camping, renting a house, or perhaps just in the mood for a picnic.

  • 11 Sol de Media Noche (Midnight Sun), Calle Principal 245, Francisco Zarco, +52 664 312 6728. Daily 10:00 - 19:00. Cafe and winery with free tastings. Artesanal cheeses, jams, and breads are available.
  • 12 Mercado de Especialidades, Carretera El Tigre Km 12, 22750 Francisco Zarco. F-Su 12:00 - 20:00. Everything you need for a perfect picnic in the country: locally made artesanal cheeses, fresh baked breads, local jams and marmalades,cold cuts, lots of other gourmet specialties, and of course, a selection of wines from most of the neighboring vineyards.
  • 13 Mermelades D. Lupita, Calle 2, El Porvenir, +52 646 116 5806. Daily 07:00 - 18:00. Locally made jams, preserves, fresh-baked breads, chimichurri sauce, salsas, pickled quail eggs, fresh oranges and limes and more.

Drink edit

Wine tasting is available year-round, and several of the wineries have built up-market restaurant and tasting establishments aimed specifically at tourists from the United States. A winery tour is usually included on cruise ships that stop at Ensenada. There are over 180 wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe.

There are also a number of independent tasting rooms where you can sample a variety of wines from different vintners.

Brewpubs edit

In addition to the following breweries, brewpubs are operated at some of the wineries, including Cieli, Mogoron, and La Casa de Doña Lupe.

  • 1 Cerveceria Bellinghausen, Tercera, Valle de Guadalupe, +52 646 160 9676, . F-Su 12:00 - 20:00, M Th 14:00 - 20:00. Artesanal craft brewery with five regular beers (kolsch, dunkelweizen, alt, IPA, and a Mexican wheat, which is a wheat beer with a dash of lime). Light food menu. Also offers cabins for rent.
  • 2 Cerveza Misioneros, MEX 3 Km.81.5, Ejido (inside the Finca el Mirador). If an on-site craft brewery isn't enough to draw you in, they also have an upscale full-service restaurant, a hotel, and a winery.

Sleep edit

Valle de Guadalupe has an enormous number of places to stay. Many wineries offer rooms for a night or more and airbnb has hundreds of listings for the area: most are upscale properties with luxury amenities, catering to a sophisticated, mature traveler. There are little or no options for the budget traveler, who may find less expensive rooms in Ensenada. Ensenada can also be a good choice for travelers with wallets of any size who don't mind a short drive: Ensenada has corporate style chain hotels, urban hotels, and beach hotels.

  • 1 Hotel Valle 13 Ruta del Vino, Calle Principal 217, Francisco Zarco (Valle de Guadalupe), +52 646 155 2485. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Rustic looking hotel with modern amenities. Rooms are clean and comfortable but small. On-site restaurant and bar with traditional Mexican cuisine at reasonable prices. M$1350.
  • 2 Hacienda Guadalupe, MEX 3 KM 81.5, +52 646 155 2860. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Cozy rooms in a Spanish mission style building that also houses a popular restaurant (serves until 23:00) and a winery. M$6000.
  • 3 Resort Sueños Valle de Guadalupe (Just off Carretera El Tigre-El Porvenir at about KM 8), +52 646 107 0944. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. New, upscale boutique hotel. M$3000.
  • 4 Entre Valle, MEX 3, KM 88.9, +52 646 288 0526. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Luxury boutique hotel with fully equipped room (hairdryer, toiletries, soft towels, mini-bar). On-site 5-star restaurant with full bar. M$2400.
  • 5 Oeno Wine Lodge, Carr. Francisco Zarco - El Tigre Km 11.5 Delegación El Porvenir, +52 646 109 0191. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Small modern hotel with small rooms and uncomfortable platform beds. M$3400.
  • 6 La Casita del Campanario, Carretera Ensenada Tecate Km.83, Rancho El Campanario, +52 646 121 6363. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Moderate hotel with clean, comfortable rooms. M$1600.
  • 7 Hotel Posada del Valle, Valle de Guadalupe, Francisco Zarco, +52 646 162 1806. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Modest motel-style property with spacious, clean, comfortable rooms that include smart TV and internet. M$1700.
  • 8 Sirius Valle, Carretera el Tigre Entrada por Rancho Hacienda Las Delicias, +52 664 311 2350. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Upscale boutique hotel with modern, well-equipped cabins. M$7000.

Stay safe edit

This area is very safe for tourists, but nonetheless, normal precautions are wise, such as locking your car and safeguarding your possessions.

Do be aware of your limits regarding alcohol consumption. Local police do not tolerate drunk driving and sobriety checkpoints are always a possibility.

Go next edit

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