Vineyard Vibes: 10 Best Valle de Guadalupe Wineries to Discover

By | Winery Publicist & Journalist
Last Updated: May 15, 2024
Winery view in Valle de Guadalupe Mexico

Edited and Fact Checked by Kathy Dahms Rogers

Where to Go Wine Tasting, Eat and Stay in the Valle de Guadalupe Wine Region, Mexico

Would you go wine tasting in Mexico? Winetravelers will and do. Mexico is well known for distilled beverages like Tequila, Mezcal and Brandy, and of course beers like Corona, Modelo, Bohemia, and many others. Wine on the other hand has been produced at least since the mid-1800s, and vines were likely planted by Spanish friars as early as the late 1600s. It wasn’t until the 1990s that the Mexican wine business experienced its second fermentation, from about a dozen wineries to over 250 wineries in 14 states producing wine today. A visit to Valle de Guadalupe offers adventure and discovery wine travel at its best!

History of Valle de Guadalupe as a Wine Region

Historic winery view in Valle de Guadalupe
Image courtesy Carl Giavanti

The Spanish began establishing missions from the late 1600s through about the mid-1800s as part of their colonization of Baja California and California Norte, U.S.A., then part of Mexico. Their legacy is known as the “mission trail.” Dominican priests established the namesake Guadalupe Missions in 1834, but most importantly, the good Friars planted wine grapes to sustain themselves, and their religious ceremonies, and initiated an early vinous legacy.

Baja California’s principal wine regions include Valle de Guadalupe (VDG), and six other valleys. VDG is easily the largest and premier region producing wine in the country of Mexico. It is estimated to have over 250 wineries. Mexico has over 400 wineries total producing over 50 varieties of table wine, much of which is Tinto, or red wine and blends. All the valleys in Baja California are said to contribute about 75% of total production, half of which is exported to the U.S., followed by Japan and Canada. The rebirth of the region has happened quickly with recent development and expansion of wine growing and hospitality in the valley. As recently as 2015 there were only a few dozen bonded wineries. The days of “Baja Red” are long gone.

Valle de Gaudalupe’s “Ruta del Vino” (about 35 miles) roughly parallels the west coast of Baja California, meandering southeast on Highway 3, and stretching between Tecate, Mexico (70 miles east of San Diego) and Ensenada (90 miles south of San Diego) on the coast. The Baja California Valleys are actually comprised of 7 valleys, and 3 distinct regions as you drive south – Francisco Zarco, El Porvenir, and San Antonio de las Minas – with 8,000 residents. Driving time from San Diego International Airport is only two hours until you reach the heart of the Ruta. After all, this is why you are here – Taste, Dine, Stay – and have fun. And remember, “Comportese bien” (Comport yourself well. Or, simply, Behave).

Travel Tips & Wine Trip Planning

Valle de Guadalupe view of the wine region from above
Image courtesy Carl Giavanti

Weekends are the most popular and tend to be crowded during the prime season and require reservations for all of this classy and serious fun. Mid-week is recommended if you can do it, yet popular dining venues still suggest reservations and most tasting rooms prefer them. Remember to bring a jacket as desert temps swing wildly from hot dry days to cool nights; great for grapes but not for unprepared Winetravelers. Summer brings the hottest months by far, and also the most visitors and wine-related fests. Shoulder seasons can be more mellow starting in April and picking up again in October.

Driving east from San Diego to Tecate keeps you on U.S. roads for a while and the border crossing at Tecate is much less crowded than passing through Tijuana. Once you are south of Tecate it’s smooth cruising at least on Mexico Highway 3. You will experience dirt roads while visiting many tasting rooms, so plan accordingly. Compact vehicles are definitely not recommended. An SUV or high-clearance ride is suggested. Side roads can be deeply rutted, especially after intense rain events. You may find yourselves weaving back and forth on both sides of the road to avoid potholes. When possible, follow the locals. You can browse the best deals on car rentals right here.

There are a few different sources I recommend for trip planning, starting with the Comitè Provino Baja California, an association of 84 winery members interested in balancing the need for wine tourism and preserving Mexican wine traditions and culture. You can check their website for consumer events in the prime season. I also recommend purchasing the only reliable wine tasting guide I have found – Vinos y Vinìcolas, a bilingual guide that covers all the regions in Baja California. It comes with a helpful map and QR codes that link directly to winery websites and social sites.

Some wineries are closed on Mondays, so check websites for visitation schedules and open hours (links below). Reservations, if available, are suggested for the busier tasting rooms and the wineries generally prefer them. Most tasting rooms close by 5-6pm, and some wineries with restaurants are opened later into the dinner hour.

Recommended Valle de Guadalupe Wine Tours

Prefer to hire a wine tour operator in Valle de Guadalupe? Try Viajes Enogastronomicos for organized wine & food touring. Vinamun offers Valle de Guadalupe winery and brewery tours. If you’d prefer a private driver and local guide, use Ruta Del Vino Tours. Choose the wineries you’d like to visit or let your driver select a few. Uva Experience offers a similar private wine tour and is highly rated. If you’re feeling adventurous, go on an ATV off-road adventure through Valle de Guadalupe that includes a winery visit with ATV Tours Valle De Guadalupe (note wine tastings are not included in the tour price).

Getting to the Valle de Guadalupe Wine Region

You can fly into San Diego or Tijuana and make plans from there, either for a driver or car rental. For the latter, logistics and planning are important. Bring your Passport to enter Mexico, and don’t forget to get a Mexican Immigration Card (free and online) if you are flying into Mexico (check flight deals from your home airport here). Mexican auto insurance is required and can be purchased online in the U.S., or at the border on the U.S. side. Remember to bring your Global Entry Cards and driver’s license/passport for the return trip to U.S. and expedited entry. There are only a few gas stations in VDG, so fill up on gas and bottled water when you see them.

U.S. customs only allows California residents to bring two bottles of spirits across the border, however, non-CA residents may bring up to five cases! Be sure to do your homework and research online before traveling. Limits are subject to the ever-changing vagaries of alcoholic beverage rules, so check on the U.S. side at the border before you enter Mexico. Shipping wine is currently limited to within Mexico.

Suggested Valle de Guadalupe Wine Tasting Itinerary

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

The Guadalupe Valley landscapes are your first clue that you’re visiting a special region. Large white boulders dot the mountain foothills which enclose both sides of the valley. Hiking these desert terrain foothills may reveal rabbits, snakes, lizards, birds, and other critters.

You will find a surprising amount of wine varieties here in the valley. Some sources indicate over 50 different grape types, and more are being tested. Italian, Spanish, Loire and Rhone Valley varieties predominate, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Grenache, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sangiovese and Syrah, with Nebbiolo possibly being the signature grape.

RELATED: Here’s How to Visit the Best Wineries in Sancerre in France’s Loire Valley

Unlike most established winemaking regions around the world, winemakers here have no legal restrictions on how and what they grow. They are not afraid to take risks, experimenting with different fermentation methods, aging processes, and barrel types to create wines that express the unique terroir of the valley, a mashup of the traditional and avant-garde.

Stacie Hunt, co-founder of Splash Pros, a wine, art, and culture-focused creative agency, comments on the sense of place and wine style. “This is a bit like the Wild West of wine making. There are blends that you don’t see anywhere else, and there are grape varieties grown here that will have you scratching your head and saying how can that be?” If you like unique and compelling destination wine travel, the Valle de Guadalupe will not disappoint.

Plan Your Trip Day-by-Day

If you’re one to cover a lot of ground in a few days, you may find this 4 Day-3 Night itinerary helpful, as a reference and starting point only. I find that organizing your own agenda is always best. I recommend checking schedules online and making reservations. You will find a complete description of each recommended winery below this itinerary.

  • Day 1 – Arrive estimated 12pm from San Diego via Tecate and Highway 3.
    • 12:00pm Lunch – Casa Magoni Daily 11-5pm. Winery tastings, charcuterie and cheese lunch.
    • 1:30pm Adobe Guadalupe Daily 10-6pm. Lunch option onsite Food Truck TH-MO 11:30-6pm.
    • 3:00pm JC Bravo Daily 11-5pm. Closed Monday.5pm Check into Hotel or Lodging
    • 6:30pm Dinner – Finca Altozano Reservations TU-SU 1-8pm.
  • Day 4 – Depart VDG after lunch
    • 11am Monte Xanic Daily 11-5pm.
    • 1:30pm Lunch Envero En El Valle (Las Nubes), followed by Tasting at Las Nubes Winery Daily 11-5pm
    • Depart 4pm. Head Norte to the U.S. Border. Bring Wine.

Top Wineries to Visit in Valle de Guadalupe

Adobe Guadalupe

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: Open Daily 10-6pm. Lodging and Adobe Food Truck onsite TH-MO 11:30-6:30pm

Adobe Guadalupe is a mission-style hacienda on 60 acres of vineyards and horse riding property. Look around and you’ll understand why this place is known as “Home of the Archangels”. Our visit here was divine, and staying in one of six guest rooms onsite would make for a complete experience. If you have equestrian inclinations, “Aztec” horses are available on a guided basis and riding is offered by the hour. Make all of your plans in advance, including tastings, lodging, riding, and meals are also on offer, as well as an onsite store. The onsite Food Truck is open TH-MO 11:30-6:30pm. Check their website for updates.

Tru Miller, the personable proprietor founded AG over 25 years ago. She is a former linguist and language school instructor. Her eclectic background – Dutch, American and Spanish – hints at what you will discover at this heavenly property. Horse breeding is one of her many passions for instance.

Tru describes Valle de Guadalupe as expressing “the essence of Mexican wine”. The winery specializes in Bordeaux and Rhone style red blends, and interestingly just launched a Tequila brand called “Tia Tula”.

Wine production is currently around 7000 cases, with plans to grow to over 10,000. This is a winery to watch and a brand worth knowing.

Recommended Wines

  • The Jardin de Tru 2021 is an approachable red blend of Malbec, Tempranillo, Syrah and Merlot that would pair beautifully with Mexican classics like Carne Asada Tacos, Pizza and Carnitas.
  • We loved the “Archangel” Series, including the 2019 Gabriel, a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec aged on French oak. I rate this wine as exceptional and describe it as brilliance in a glass, showing dark, chocolate, red fruits and hints of violets. Pair with roast beef, pork, or lamb.
  • The 2019 Rafael is another Archangel blend of Cab and Nebbiolo. This is a well-structured and ageable wine that I’d recommend laying down for a few years in your cellar. Pair with Italian dishes.

JC Bravo Winery

JC Bravo Winery
Image courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: Meet the Family for tastings and stories. Daily 11-6pm except Monday.

Juan Carlos Bravo is one of the only winemakers born in Guadalupe Valley. The Bravo Family story is one of tradition, fortitude and love of family and community, and spans over 80 years in the valley. In the 1940s, Juan Carlos’ father, Tomás Bravo, migrated from Michoacan to VDG with hopes of farming and raising a family. He planted a single vineyard of two varieties – Carignan and Palomino Fino – in 1971 when almost no one was thinking about farming wine grapes. Most of the grapes survived, and the family thrived by selling their crops to Bodegas de Santo Tomás until the end of the 1980s when their growing contracts were no longer profitable.

JC learned to make wine out of necessity when he joined his father, and they started one of the first modern day small production family wineries of the time, with a first vintage of Carignan in 2001. He was one of the first students of the patriarch of winemaking, Hugo D’Costa, and attended one of the first classes at La Escuelita (The Little School) wine school in 1989.

The Bravo farm is 19 hectares total (50 acres) of diversified crops including 35 acres of dry farmed bush vines, avocado, limes, lemon, pomegranate, quince, watermelon, peach, cherry, fig, orange, guava, olive trees, and nopales. The wines are 100% estate grown. The winemaking business is entirely family operated with four generations playing a role, including daughters Karla and Alessandra. They produce about 1200 cases, most of which is sold out of their tasting room in El Porvenir in the heart of VDG, and within Mexico. About 20% is imported to the U.S. They also make and sell their own olive oil and jams.

Recommended Wines

  • The 2020 Palomino is 100% estate produced and 100% Palomino. The 400-case production is likely the only of its kind in the valley. At 11.5% Alcohol, this white wine pairs perfectly with mariscos (seafood) due to its low-medium acidity, and would also sing nicely on your porch on a summer day.
  • If you like rose’, you’ll be reminded of Provence rose’ when you taste the 2021 Rose’ of Carignan. They only make 250 cases, so get it while you can.
  • The 2017 Carignan is 100% Carignan, fermented in concrete vats, aged 12 months in French oak and five years in bottle. It’s a beautifully made low acid, medium tannins single variety red. It’s drinking great now and would pair nicely with carne be rez (beef) any way you want it.

Finca La Carrodilla

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: Open WE-SU 11-5pm. Tasting room, Gardens and Artisanal Cheese Shop

Finca was established in 2008 and is comprised of 34 acres of vineyards. The first vintage was 2011 and the estate vineyards were certified organically farmed in 2017. The farm is integrated with multiple crops, horses, cows, sheep, chicken, gardens, bees and of course vineyards.

“Circle of Life” describes the philosophy of the 2nd generation owner Fernando Perez Castro, a Valley de Guadalupe Valley activist. Fernando has worked extensively with multiple organizations to protect the valley from overdevelopment. His passion for sustainable agriculture and managed tourism is palpable. He’s working to help establish VDG as a “Comunidad Sostenible” (Sustainable Community). This goal is the greatest ambition of all growers here.

The tasting room is located on the innovative rooftop garden. I suggest arriving a little early or staying late and walking the grounds, visiting the gardens and vineyards and onsite Chapel. You will see the Virgin de Carrodilla (statue) originally from Aragon, Spain, and now on the tasting room rooftop, and that’s when serenity begins. The setting and the wines are very well composed, and so will you be.

Recommended Wines

  • The 2022 “IR y VENIR” Blanc (white blend) is composed of 30% Chenin Blanc and 70% Sauvignon Blanc, and could stand toe to toe with any white blend from the Loire Valley, and it weighs in at mere $20 U.S. Stock up to pair with Chicken Caesar and Chef Salads, charcuterie and goat cheeses.
  • We loved the 2022 Arbol Rose’ of Grenache and Syrah. This is a beautifully produced rose’ that will help you convert white wine drinkers to red blends. Only 150 cases produced.
  • The 2020 Carrodilla Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% varietal aged 12 months in 100% new French oak. Drink now with beef and pork dishes or hold for 3-5 years. 4500 cases produced.

Vinos Paoloni | Hotel Villa Monte Fiori

Vinos Paoloni | Hotel Villa Monte Fiori
Image courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer – Daily 10-6pm Tastings & Restaurant. Lodging onsite.

Winemaker Paolo Paoloni hails from Marche, Italy. He brought suitcase cuttings from Italy into the valley in 1997. He unabashedly called his wines made from the Sangiovese cuttings, Brunello, flying in the face of Italian label laws. The Italianate estate is a total of 100 acres, with 50 acres of Italian varieties under vine producing about 10K cases. Paolo describes the wines as “Vinos Mexicanos con corazon Italiano”. No translation required. Wine travelers in Oregon & California should be able to find his wines.

The tasting room and restaurant are located above the winery at about 1,200 foot elevation, with a view across the valley and over to the onsite Hotel Villa Montefiori. No appointments required for tasting and lunch. You get five wines to taste for only $30 U.S. The hotel has nine rooms to enhance the experience.

If you talk to Paolo, he’ll tell you that setting up Vinos Paoloni was a monumental experience getting to the quality desired. “It was an existential battle getting to extraordinary wines”. Tasting the wines, and pairing with the cuisine from their kitchen is proof positive Paolo achieved his goal.

Recommended Wines

  • The 2023 Rosato Montefiori is a rose’ of Sangiovese, and at only 12.5% alcohol is perfect for ceviche and other seafood dishes. If you’ve been to Chianti region of Italy, you’ll feel right at home sipping this one on the terrazza at Villa Montefiori. 1500 cases produced.
  • Here’s an Italian red blend that will make you crave Pappardelle Cinghiale (Wild Boar Pasta). The 2021 Selezionato Vino Tinto fits the food bill. It’s a blend of Nebbiolo, Montepulciano and Aglianico grapes. This was an exceptional wine, balanced and finely integrated tannins.
  • The 2021 Paoloni Rosso de Valle is 100% Montepulciano. Drink this now with a fatty cut of beef like ribeye or hold 5-7 years as it develops.

Bodegas de Santo Tomás, San Antonio de las Minas

What’s on Offer: Daily 10:30-5pm. Tours 11am, 1pm, 3pm.

Bodegas de Santo Tomás is the oldest winery in Baja California, established in 1888. Yes, that’s not a typo. In fact, BdST was the second winery to setup shop in the country of Mexico. They also are one of the 3 largest producers at 120K cases. The have legacy, history and are making an effort to tell the story of Mexican wine. If you are a newcomer to the valley, or simply interested in wine education and history, take the multi-sensory cave and walking tour experience, in addition to the wine tasting. The tour is all about “Raices” (Roots) and preserving indigenous culture. If you are a wine aficionado, focus on tasting and collecting, I would say this immersion tour is optional. There is also a restaurant onsite – Villa Torrel, open 1-7pm – once identified as Best 50 Restaurants in Latin America.

Recommended Wines

We tasted the two wines from the “Mision” (Mission) Series – The 2021 Mision White blend of Chenin Blanc and French Colombard, and the 2022 Mision Red Blend, a mix of Carignan, Tempranillo and Mission Grapes. These are the value price wines on offer with the tour, and we were not able to try the premium wines on the tasting list. Note that the “Mission” Grape is being used. That’s a unique commitment to new world wine history I have not seen anywhere else in the Americas.

Clos de Tres Cantos

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: Tastings WE-SU 10-5pm. Ecolodge “Cabins”. Ariete Restaurant TH-SU Lunch/Dinner.

Established in 2014, the American monastery and Maya-inspired pyramid shaped stone buildings are surrounded by 10 acres of organic vineyards. Owners Maria Benitez and Joaquin Moya met 35 years ago in Madrid at philosophical and literary events called “Tertulias” and carried enthusiasm for history and philosophy to the valley. They chose the French word “Clos” which means enclosed.

Clos de Tres Cantos is what they envisioned when they commissioned architect Alejandro D’Costa who designed the estate winery. This passion project is entirely based on recycled materials locally available and collected from five different locations. You will find hand-cut stones from mining operations in Baja California, recycled bottles, iron works from old ships, wood from old abandoned homes, all repurposed and imagined by the owners and their architect. Ask for a tour of the subterranean caves, barrel rooms and winery. A community library with over 2,500 books will soon be opening and is one of Joaquin’s passions – regenerative agriculture, philosophy, history, and student education – just ask them, they are charming conversationalists.

Recommended Wines

  • 2023 Hoja en Blanco is a Chenin Blanc wine produced in stainless steel and aged for two months in new French oak. Fruit, acid, and long finish make this a terrific food wine. Think roast chicken or fish in light butter sauce. Also, fruit and dry cheese would pair nicely.
  • The 2019 Noesis (Intuition) is 100% Tempranillo aged in new American oak. This is a solid food wine if you think beef steak, charcuterie, sausage based red sauce pastas.
  • We loved the 2019 Nada (Nothing) red blend of Petit Syrah and Tempranillo. The winery produces a total of about 1500-2000 cases, of which 600 cases is dedicated to “Nada”. We all agreed that pairing this with good friends, good conversation and a risotto portobello with queso would be better than nada.

Vena Cava

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: Daily 11-5pm, Troika Food Truck. Hotel La Villa del Valle.

Vena Cava takes salvaging and recycling to the next level. Imagine this – the five winery building rooftops are made entirely of intact discarded wooden boats, recycled wine bottles and other assorted flotsam and jetsam – you have to see to understand so be sure to go here. Plus, you can have a lakeside gourmet lunch at Troika, the onsite foot truck. The winery was also designed by renowned architect Alejandro D’Costa.

British proprietors Phil & Eileen Gregory went as far as the U.S. to import creosote-treated support beam and girders that were not recyclable, but fully usable in Mexico. Phil was a sailor and wanderer who transmigrated to the Americas looking for “a good beer and hammock”, when he landed south of the border on the shores of Baja California over 20 years ago. He and Eileen fell in love with the people of the valley and decided to stay, but on their own terms, which led to repurposing and recycling and minimal if no intervention “natural wines”. Phil became one of the pioneers, adherents and promoters of zero intervention, minimal handling of grapes in the winery.

Vena Cava produces about 3,000 cases of organic and natural wines from their estate including sparkling, Sauvignon Blanc and red blends. The wines tasted were from the “Crystal Ship” line.

Recommended Wines

  • The 2022 Natural Sauvignon was produced with zero intervention and was clean and crisp and reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauv Blanc without the grassiness. This is a wonderful wine to sip and ponder the effects of minimal handling in the winery. Pair with citrus based salads and oysters.
  • We loved the 2023 Pet Nat (Petillant Naturel) Sauvignon Blanc. It was another unique expression of the SB grape and will pair nicely with fresh oysters, crudos and ceviches.
  • The 2021 Mouvedre was a big Wow for me, and rates as an exceptional example of the Rhone variety. It clocks in at only 11.5% making it a lovely versatile food pairing wine.

Mogor Badan

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: FR, SA & SU 11-5pm or by appointment. Confirm hours in advance of your visit.

Self-proclaimed and unassuming Baja rebel winery brand, Mogor Badan eschews contemporary marketing norms like websites in favor of a peaceful presence on their farm and a digital presence on Instagram. Natalia Badan, born of Swiss-French parents, was raised on this land and now continues to carry on the family dream in both the winery and her organic gardens. Her son Juan Cristobal Badan has effectively taken over the business and boosted production from 1,000 to 3,000 cases, most of it purchased directly out of the tasting room and consumed in Mexico. The only “wine” shipped and distributed in the U.S., oddly enough, is not wine at all but rather a dessert wine made of oranges from their farm.

We met Natalia with vineyard dogs in tow on the porch of her 1950s home and chatted about the 70-year history of the family, of wine and the valley, and the role the Badan Family played in developing it. Her father arrived post WWII and planted olive and carob trees and a small vineyard. Grapes were sold to L.A. Cetto and Pedro Domecq winery until 1987 when he produced his first vintage.

The tasting room is only open on weekends. You may be able to tour the caves and see the barrel room where their wines are aged. Produce from their farm and bread may be available for purchase. Deckman’s Restaurant open Thursday-Monday 1-8:30pm, is located adjacent to the tasting room and considered one of the best farm-to-fork dining spots in the valley.

Recommended Wines

I was told that the Mogor Badan Bordeaux blend is their signature wine and most sought out by visitors, but we didn’t have an opportunity to taste it. We were pleasantly surprised by the tart and very tasty “j.j.” amarguito orange dessert wine. It would work wonderfully as a post dinner digestif, or as an aperitif with olives and a salty cheese such as Roquefort or Bleu. If you’re cocktailing, try it as a spritz with sparkling wine.

Monte Xanic

Monte Xanic winery
Image courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: Daily 11-5pm Outdoor and Lakeside Patios, and Kitchen offers Charcuterie, Cheese Plates and Seasonal Dishes Daily 1-8pm. Store.

This winery is one of the grandaddies of the valley, still family-run and with excellent wines. Xanic is the indigenous Cora name for flor de montaña meaning “mountain flower born after rain”. The whites are delicate and aromatic, while the red Bordeaux blends are structured and ageable.

Monte Xanic was established over 35 years ago at a time when there were only 20-30 wineries in the valley. During the 1980s, they were the first to elevate quality with improved vineyard practices, testing, and technology with the intent to produce and export fine wines. Monte Xanic, along with Hugo D’Costa of La Escuelita wine school, the Badans of Mogor Badan, Fernando Martine of Cava Valmar, and Victor Torres of Torres Alegre, were instrumental in bringing global recognition to Mexican wines and Baja California.

We met and tasted with Hans Backhoff, CEO, and second-generation Backhoff. His father was a food scientist from Ensenada who recognized there was no fine wine market in Mexico in the 1980s. His “Field of Dreams” business plan was simply to make it and find a market. The success of fine wine in Mexico eventually led to what Hans alludes to as “The Mexican (Wine) Revolution”.

Monte Xanic has 70 acres of estate vineyards in VDG as well as 40 acres in Ojas Negras, a nearby valley, where they are experimenting with cool climate varieties like Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.

Recommended Wines

  • 2022 Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc is produced from their Viña Kristel vineyard, of 50-year-old estate vines. Bright acidity, and classic herbal notes. Think citrus-based salads, oysters and calamari.
  • 2021 Gran Ricardo Bordeaux Blend has all five noble varieties, and is one of the most awarded wines from MX. This is a big bad complex blend that wants to pair with red meats. You pick it, it will pair.
  • 2022 MX Cab Franc is a 100% Cab Franc and favorite of the tasting and the one wine we’d all take to that remote island. Grilled meats, risotto mushrooms and sharp cheeses. Cellar this one with care.

Las Nubes Winery

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

What’s on Offer: Daily Tastings 11-5pm. Views. Multiple tasting experiences. Envero Restaurant 1-6pm

Las Nubes translates to “the clouds,” and it’s one of the highest viewing locations in the valley. Victor Segura was a food and beverage professional, specializing in the seafood business before opening his 10K case winery Vena Cava in 2008. Having a restaurant on site was a must. You’ll find the food pairings at onsite Envero En La Valle restaurant to be exquisite.

Whether you taste wines before or after on the outdoor patio or inside in the shade, it’s a seamless experience with high-elevation views. The estate winery is located on 84 hectares (about 200 acres) with the winery onsite. You may find the wines in your local shop if you live on the West Coast of the U.S.

Recommended Wines

  • We loved the exciting 2022 KUIIY, a blend of Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay, and at less than $20 U.S. It’s also easy on the wallet. This medium acidity bright fruited blend paired so well with oysters and other seafood-based dishes from the restaurant.
  • Try the “Jaak” Rose’, a blend of Garnacha, Carignan and Syrah. Also affordable and what I’d want to drink with a pal named “Jack” on a porch just about anywhere in the world.
  • For bigger reds, try the 2019 “Nimbus”, a Merlot, Cab and Tempranillo blend, and the 2019 “Cumulus” blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Tempranillo. Both will elevate your head to the clouds.

Pairing Mexican Wine & Food

Images courtesy Carl Giavanti

“Baja Med” cuisine is often referenced as a fusion of what’s local in Baja California, both earth and sea, and is Mediterranean and Asian inspired. Fresh seafood and produce are the all-stars, taking their rightful place next to the valley’s terroir-focused wines. Seafood from the Port of Ensenada includes oysters, mussels, clams and shrimp. These all pair wonderfully with medium acid white wines such as Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Rose’ of just about anything. Fresh vegetables are in abundance including olives, olive oils, nopales (cactus), radishes, tomatoes and strawberries, and of course local cheeses. The red varieties and blends work so well with grilled meats. Think Carne Asada, roast pork and grilled poultry. You’ll find no shortage of creativity in offerings from casual food trucks to fine dining restaurants, and recommendations for the right local wines to pair them with.

Top Restaurants for Baja-Med Cuisine

Top Restaurants for Baja-Med Cuisine
Image courtesy Carl Giavanti

This section is a listing of multiple options open at the time of publication. I have not visited each so consider this simply a compilation for your convenience. The dining establishments we visited (with the exception of Casa Magoni and Villa Torrel) are noted in the suggested itinerary.

Several wineries offer tasting and have kitchens serving full lunch and light snacks.

Dinner Reservations are suggested well in advance. Schedules vary and many locations close MO & TU

Other Great Things to Do Besides Wine Tasting in Valle de Guadalupe

Horseback riding in Valle de Guadalupe
Image courtesy Carl Giavanti

Here are some extra credit activities to consider. Research and plan accordingly.

Where to Stay in Valle de Guadalupe

Many wineries offer lodging options. Here are a few others not already mentioned.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wine Tasting in Valle de Guadalupe

Is it worth visiting Valle de Guadalupe for wine tasting?

Absolutely! Valle de Guadalupe is a premier wine destination, renowned for its artisanal wineries and stunning vineyard landscapes. Visitors can enjoy personalized tasting experiences, gourmet dining options, and the rustic charm that this Mexican wine country offers. It’s a must-visit for wine enthusiasts looking to explore new and unique varietals.

How do you get to the Valle de Guadalupe wine region?

By Air: The nearest airport is the Tijuana International Airport. From there, it’s about a 90-minute drive to Valle de Guadalupe.

By Car: There are two possible routes if driving from San Diego. The author suggests heading east to Tecate, then south into the valley. You can also cross into Mexico at the San Ysidro border. Starting from San Diego, drive south on I-5, crossing into Mexico at the San Ysidro border. Continue on Mexico 1D toward Ensenada, a well-maintained toll road that offers scenic coastal views. As you near Ensenada, watch for signs directing you to Valle de Guadalupe; the turn-off is clearly marked. If you’re beginning your journey from Tijuana International Airport, exit the airport and head west towards the city center. Merge onto Mexico 1D southbound, and follow the same route towards Ensenada, then to Valle de Guadalupe. Both routes provide a straightforward and picturesque drive to Mexico’s premier wine region.

By Bus: Several bus lines run from Tijuana and Ensenada to the region. The trip is affordable and lets you enjoy the scenic route without the hassle of driving. ABC Bus (Autobuses de la Baja California) operates frequent trips from Tijuana to Ensenada. From Ensenada, you can catch a local bus or a taxi to Valle de Guadalupe. Aguila Bus offers direct routes to Ensenada from various locations, including Tijuana. Similar to ABC, once in Ensenada, local transportation options are available to reach Valle de Guadalupe.

By Train: Currently, there are no train services directly to Valle de Guadalupe.

How many wineries are in Valle de Guadalupe?

Valle de Guadalupe is home to over 250 wineries, ranging from small boutique establishments to larger, more commercial ventures. This variety offers something for every palate, from classic varietals to innovative blends.

What kind of wines are made in Valle de Guadalupe?

The Valle de Guadalupe wine region is famous for producing a wide range of wines, notably robust reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Merlot, and Tempranillo, as well as refreshing whites like Chardonnay, Cheninc Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. The region is also known for its unique blends and experimental wines, utilizing both traditional and unconventional grape varieties.

What are the best wine tours in Valle de Guadalupe?

Prefer to hire a wine tour operator in Valle de Guadalupe? Vinamun offers Valle de Guadalupe winery and brewery tours. If you’d prefer a private driver and local guide, use Ruta Del Vino Tours. Choose the wineries you’d like to visit or let your driver select a few. Uva Experience offers a similar private wine tour and is highly rated. If you’re feeling adventurous, go on an ATV off-road adventure through Valle de Guadalupe that includes a winery visit with ATV Tours Valle De Guadalupe (note wine tastings are not included in the tour price).

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