DrinkEatOn the Road

Guadalupe Wine Tasting: SD's Fave New Road Trip

 Valle de Guadalupe Wine Tasting La Esperanza GuadalupeFor years, San Diego has been buzzing about Baja’s vibrant art scene, great food, and spectacular surfing. Lately, wine tasting in Guadalupe has been on everyone’s lips. I’ve even heard people call it the “Next Napa.” For the sake of research (ahem), I embarked on a road trip to Valle de Guadalupe to see for myself. Valle de Guadalupe is completely unique. An unexpected mix of Mediterranean-style wineries and farm-to-table restaurants, eco-luxury resorts like ultramodern Encuentro Guadalupe, and hole in the wall wood-fired pizza and taco shacks, Guadalupe is not the next Napa but something far more exciting.  I expected good wine, I found great wine. I expected rustic wine tasting rooms, I found stunning architecture and hip decor. I expected tasty tacos, I found a fascinating blend of Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine with top-notch quality and service. La Esperanza GuadalupeFirst, the food. Lunch at La Esperanza was sashimi accented with creamy avocado and crunchy kale, a shrimp, portobello mushroom and blue cheese burrito, and fresh roasted veggies. The patio overlooked the vineyard with sensational views and the service was near impeccable, even with the language barrier. Dinner at the famed Deckman’s included a fresh take on ceviche that rang with mint, gazpacho adorned with tiny white flowers, and prime rib. Almost everything, from the wine to the olive oil, is estate grown on the Mogor Ranch. The meal was served on denim placemats that matched the servers’ aprons in a structure built from bales of hay and wooden beams. Deckman's Guadalupe The wine at La Lomita was my personal favorite, from an easy drinking Espacio en Blanco Sav Blanc / Chenin Blanc blend to the full and rich Tinto de la Hacienda that was the duty-free bottle I chose to bring back across the border with me. Overall, variety is the key word to describe the region’s wine, both with grapes (over 50 varietals grown in Valle de Guadalupe which feels like more with the adventurous blends of the region), and also the quality of wine.  La Lomita GuadalupeA few notes for your trip – reservations are REQUIRED for wine tasting at most wineries. You may think of Baja as being an ultracasual culture, but even on slow days you should call ahead to reserve your tasting. Also, prices have significant variation from winery to winery and restaurant to restaurant. Some prices are very low, some are comparable to what you would expect to pay in San Diego. You can use dollars and credit cards almost everywhere, but you’ll need pesos for the road tolls. Your phone will go onto international roaming once you cross the border so either get a Mexico add-on from your mobile carrier or put your phone on airplane mode to avoid surcharges. And, of course, remember your passport. The wait at the border to cross back to the US is typically the worst at San Ysidro, so check out wait times at Otay and Tecate border crossings that might be faster even though it is less of a direct route home to San Diego.   

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