If you’re in San Diego for any length of time and love wine, you may want to venture further afield to the Baja peninsula in Mexico, less than an hour to the south of San Diego. There, the Guadalupe Valley (Valle de Guadalupe) is a prime wine-producing region with over 100 wineries and bottles that rival California’s Central Coast. Leading San Diego Airport hotel, Pacific Inn Hotel & Suites, suggests the following wineries.
Vinas de Garza, Rancho Mogorcito
Towards the middle of Route 3 that runs between Ensenada and Tecate, you’ll find Rancho Mogorcito, where Vinas de Garza offers a stunning wine tasting experience with the flavor of true Mexico. While only in business since 2003, the Garza winery has become a top destination on the Ruta del Vino in Baja. While well known for their wide selection of flavorful red blends, they also offer a white blend and a Chardonnay. No reservations are required for groups less than eight people, and a flight will set you back just $8-12.
Bibayoff Vinos, Rancho Toros Pintos
When you first see the classic onion domes on the sign for Bibayoff, you may be tempted to think, “What? Russian wines?” But while the Bibayoff winery has technically only been in business since 1992, the family has been growing grapes in the region for over a half century. The winery is run by descendants of Russian immigrants and the tasting room reflects a funky mix of Russian art and rustic Mexican thrifty chic. Bibayoff offers a couple of signature wines: a Chenin Blanc/Columbard/Muscat blend and a Nebbiolo that is a perennial favorite. Their romantic tasting room is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-4pm and pricing varies.
Adobe Guadalupe, El Porvenir
While LA Cetto and Santo Thomas have the biggest commercial business, Adobe Guadalupe is making a name for itself with serious oenophiles and gourmet chefs across Mexico and Southern California. Not only do they grow their own grapes, but they raise Azteca horses and run a gorgeous, serene inn as well. The wines, tasted in a brick room adjoining the barrels, are all named for angels, and they are truly heavenly, particularly the red blends. Tastings are available with tour by reservation most days of the week, or without a reservation (minus the tour) for about $10.
Emeve, El Porvenir
Just up the road from Adobe Guadalupe, Emeve offers a perfect counterpoint from the same wine maker. There, you can sit on their little stone patio and gaze out at the vineyards or cluster around their indoor bar to learn about their one-of-a-kind Viogniers, Grenache and red blends, including their signature Los Nietos. Bring your own snack or enjoy their special cheese covered in a charred pepper crust, which stands up nicely to their full-bodied wines. Their schedule changes with the seasons, so check ahead for tasting hours. Three full pours can be had in their flights for about $12, and you can pick from a variety of combinations.
It’s best to plan on paying with cash in Baja, and businesses there all accept both pesos and American dollars. You can enter Mexico at a number of points, but to get to the Guadalupe Valley, it may be easiest to cross at Tecate and follow the signs to Ensenda once in Mexico. Once on the road to Ensenada, you’ll see plenty of signage to the Ruta del Vino. If you don’t want to drive yourself, there are frequent wine tasting tours by bus from San Diego. Just don’t forget to bring your passport to re-enter the US.
Ready for a little adventure? Book a room at the San Diego Pacific Inn Hotel & Suites and get your trip started. As a guest of our hotel, you will enjoy a comfortable and spacious room, premium cable channels, and the best rate around—guaranteed! To speak with a friendly Reservation Manager, call 1-800-571-2933 today!