Each time we visit Valle de Guadalupe, new restaurants seem to have popped up along with luxury lodging, more tasting rooms, and vineyards. Just last week we watched an old video of our very first trip to Valle de Guadalupe when there was only a small handful of wineries- L.A. Cetto, Domecq, and Dona Lupe. Although times have clearly changed and there are many more boutique wineries to choose from, it’s still nice to know that the valley retains its rural charm. This is truly what keeps us coming back.
This last time, we carefully planned an all day trip with friends complete with wine tastings, lunch, and dinner. Two winery visits plus a long and leisurely lunch in the valley turned out to be just the right amount of planned activity for our group without being too rushed. Any more than that and we would have to stay overnight to get it all in. For a day trip from San Diego, this was just right and even included a stop for dinner before crossing back over.
Exit left near Km. 88/Follow the signs approximately 3 miles to La Villa del Valle/Valle de Guadalupe/website
Vena Cava was our first destination as we knew our friends would enjoy the wines here and besides, we had wine of our own purchased from our first trip (more here) that we needed to pick up. Once again, we enjoyed the tasting, had a great time, and bought even more wine. Note to self: bring more people and tell them they can’t buy wine since they will have to mule my wines over as we are definitely over our limit for crossing over on foot.
Km. 83 Carretera Tecate – Ensenada/Ejido Francisco Zarco/Valle de Guadalupe/website
After wine tasting, we were all very hungry and ready for lunch. We headed to Finca Altozano. This time, I did my homework and made a reservation in advance. It’s a wonderful open dining room with plenty of shade, natural light, and a nice breeze all while overlooking the vineyards. Perfect. We decided to order a bunch of appetizers and mains and shared it all. I have to say, everything was delicious but my favorite, hands down was the quail. We were all raving about lunch and were quite impressed. The consensus was, we’d all happily go there again.
Km 3- Camino Vecinal al Tigre/Valle de Guadalupe/website
To cap off a delicious and quite filling lunch, we headed to our next destination, Alximia. This was our first time here and we were looking forward to trying new wines and touring this architectural wonder. The tasting room here is nothing like anything I’ve seen before. It is unique in design and blends very well with the desert backdrop. From the outside, it resembles what I would imagine the Mother ship to look like. Although we arranged for a tour in advance, by the time we finished our tasting, we forgot all about the tour. Of the 6-7 wines we tasted, our group was split between the fuller body wines, Pira and Magma.
This is the part where we are pretty much tuckered out and are dreading the long drive back. We are also beginning to discuss another trip to the valley but this time perhaps we will make a weekend out of it and stay over night as this will afford us more time to explore even more wineries and indulge in another leisurely lunch and dinner or two (I already have a wish list of places I’d like to try).
Anyhow, on the way back, we stopped at Mariscos Mazateno for their shrimp enchilado tacos and my personal favorite, the fish chicharron taco. After we get through dinner, we are thoroughly stuffed, ready to call it a day and make our way back to the border. Lucky for us, there is a very short line.
Here’s a good website for a listing of wineries and pertinent information in case I’ve piqued your interest in Baja wines… and food.