For Reservations Call: 1-800-997-9431

Desde México: 01-800-681-6534

CONNECT WITH US:

Valle de Guadalupe's Wine Country, Baja, Mexico Part 1

Vineyards
Young vineyards in the Valle de Guadalupe.

 I normally don’t do blogs on areas other than Puerto Peñasco, but over several years of doing this, I get asked a lot by tourists who winter here, what can I do to see Mexico.  Many of the Rv’ers love wine and have never heard of the Valle de Guadalupe’s Wine Country. So we decided to take an adventure and headed over to see what it looks like.

On May 17th we left Puerto Peñasco and headed over by ourselves and without a map!  If you don’t get off the toll roads it is anywhere from a 5 1/2 – 6 hour drive.  It is 3 1/2 hours to Mexicali and the rest of the trip takes you over La Rumorosa (which is windy step climb) it resembles Highway 8 between El Centro and the Tecate turn off.  This part of the road is called 2D and it is not for the faint of heart or people that have a fear of heights.  As the driver, you can’t enjoy looking around as the bus lines use it and they do fly. Seeing the vineyards, makes the trip worth it. Once you arrive in Tecate, you take Mexico 3 towards Ensenada which will take you through the Valle de Guadalupe.  It is indeed beautiful to see all the green vineyards and the stunning wineries up on the hillsides.

Kruger Winery
From shipping containers to a winery.

Our first stop was to meet our friend and winemaker Iker Turcott (KRUGER VINEYARDS) who also has a cute little sandwich shop (La Doble T) next to the winery and he has some great gourmet sandwiches.  He prepared a couple of the sandwiches, while we relaxed with a glass of Chardonnay and checked out the winery.  He is doing an outstanding job with his new Chardonnay and also does some wonderful reds.  We had time for one more winery before checking into Quinta Estrella B & B, so Iker suggested RETORNO  Vinicola.  The young man in the tasting room was very knowledgeable and helpful.  They were in the process of doing some labeling and it was all by hand.  Here we purchased a bottle of red called Palabra.  Nice wines at reasonable prices.  Most of the small wineries that we went to, do under 2,000 cases and we prefer them to the large wineries.  However, we did find a couple of the large ones that were a treat.  We checked into Quinta Estrella  and were greeted by the hostess Patricia (Beba) Sanchez Dias.  After we unpacked we sat outside with our purchase from RETORNO and some cheese and sausage.  The evenings and mornings were cool and foggy but the daytime was beautiful.  Beba’s husband Benito joined us that evening and we learned a lot  about the area.  He is Director General of Abulones Cultivados in Ensenada.  It is there that they farm raise Abalone.  We learned that an Abalone grows at the rate of 1″ per year.  No wonder they are so expensive!  It was at this winery we ran into a couple from Sonoyta which is the crossing most people use to enter Mexico and he is an architect. She invited us to stop by and say hi when we pass through.
Bruno
Bruno the wine dog at Kruger, eyeing up my dinner.

Kruger Wines
Iker Turcott explains the making of his wine at Kruger Wines

Vineyards
The view from Rancho Velasco

Day 2 of our adventure began with a wonderful breakfast with fresh fruit, pastries from Ensenada, eggs any way we liked and coffee.  Our first stop was a small winery close to the B & B called Rancho Velasco.  When we arrived , we learned that Sr. Velasco had been hospitalized but the winemaker Acessio Bellafiore, took us down to the winery.  It is located in what appeared to once be a basement to the very old Misiones de California and was constructed of thick Adobe walls that had been plastered over.  As we sampled the wines we talked about the area and he explained he had come from Italy a few years ago and was also making some of his own wines there. We purchased 3 bottles of  Misiones de California Vino Tinto Blend. He graciously poured one of his wines out of the barrel and even though it had only been in the barrel about 8 months you could tell how good it is going to be.

Rancho Velasco
Rancho Velasco

Rancho Velasco
Winemaker at Rancho Velasco explaining the process.

Valle de Guadalupe Vineyard

These little grape clusters at Vinisterra will become wine come fall.
These little grape clusters at Vinisterra will become wine come fall.

Wine
Baby grape clusters will be wine come fall.

Our next stop was VINISTERRA that started in 2002.  The young man in the tasting room, Omar, was very pleasant and knowledgeable about his product.  Here we ran into a Canadian fella with a small group, who had been to Puerto Peñasco and was telling them how beautiful it was there.  Ironically the Canadian had taken a wine making class with the girl friend of Iker Turcott and they are splitting a barrel … small world.  After doing the tasting, we decided to sit on the patio and enjoy a bottle of Domino Rosado, while taking in the vineyards and winery. We purchased  both Domino Rosado and Domino Blanco as the warm summer will soon be upon us, making us not drink our favorite reds.  Here again the white wines and Rose’s of the Valle De Guadalupe have come along way and although we are red wine drinkers, really enjoyed the weather, wine and cheese and crackers.  Next stop was TRES VALLES, a 1/2 mile down the road (as the crow flies).  Here were met again by a nice young man in the tasting room, who knew his wines and also knew Rocky PointWe tasted all of their wines and purchased 2 bottles of a red blend called Jada Rosada and Jada Blanco.  My husband and I have spent many years wine tasting in Paso Robles and Lodi, California and if there is one thing we finally learned is that you split tasting or by the end of the day they all taste good.  We did the same in the Valle as it is especially important when you are not familiar with an area.

Tres Valles
Very knowledgeable young man in the tasting room at Tres Valles.

Please see Part 2 to learn about the rest of our mini wine vacation.  I hope you enjoy this and the photos.  It was amazing to see at one winery the tiny fruit had just begun and 5 miles down the road they were about the size of peas.

CLICK HERE FOR PART II

Come out and join the fun while enjoying the beautiful weather in Puerto Peñasco and the stunning  Sea of Cortez views.  Remember Rocky Point is only a 4 hour drive from Phoenix or Tucson.

Don’t forget to share us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

If you any questions Contact Us at Blog@Puerto-Penasco.com

Where is Puerto Peñasco?

Puerto Peñasco….. Centrally Located

For those of you who have no idea where this little “Sleepy Drinking Town With A Fishing Problem” is located, let me tell you. We are 60 miles south of the US Border or 220 miles south of the Phoenix Metro and the same distance from Tucson. I say we are centrally located not only because of the proximity to Arizona but also to California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado. It is an easy drive from all of the above.
Once you are here, if you decide to move or just come and spend a few weeks or a month, you are going to want to explore the Mexico that surrounds us. As you come down you will pass the Pinacate Biosphere. Here you will find the largest crater range in North America. Stop at their visitor center and you will learn so much.

Church in Mexico
Photo by Beverly Arrowood

We are also the starting point to visit the Padre Kino Missions. We have always made sure we take all of our company on this little day trip. We leave Puerto Peñasco as early as possible as we make a long fun day. We stop at Limini Coffee shop to say good morning to our coffee family of guys and now gals, before embarking on our day. What a better way to start off with conversation and laughter! We then get on the road going south east past the Mayan Palace and forging onward towards the city of Caborca. I use the words forging as sometimes the pot holes will swallow your car (just Kidding). But the good news is the highway is being re-done and soon it will be a smooth easy drive. Sometimes we make a diversion and go to Desemboque ( a small fishing village with a great shelling beach). Back on the highway, we pass hectarias (acres) after acre of Thompson seedless grape fields, olive groves and at one point Pecan groves. Sadly the Brandy Distilleries have all been moved to Mexico City, but the remnants remain as do my memories of trips in the 90’s where we would caravan with about 10 vehicles of retired snow birds to visit the distilleries. That was long before I could even fathom retirement, I enjoyed being a part of their group.
Padre Kino Mission Church
Photo by Beverly Arrowood

The drive to Caborca is about a 2 hour drive as there are several little towns to pass through. Once there, we sometimes stop for a cup of coffee or breakfast at the El Camino Motel there and we go there because they are so gracious. Then it is off to take pictures and walk around the grounds of the oldest of the Padre Kino Missions known as Templo de la Purisima Concepcion and was founded in 1692 but constructed between 1803-1807. Finally 2 years ago, after going there countless times, we found it open and got to go in. It is awesome as you can see from the pictures. The care taker opened up the museum for us as well as allowing us into the Mission. So much history to be seen. Due to the fact it is built along the banks of the river, it has succumbed to many floods and been flood damaged on more than one occasion. But the community never let’s go and re-builds it. On one visit, I learned to say my colors in Spanish from the caretaker of the roses. Amazing what a smile can do!!!!
Padre Kino Mission Church
Photo by Beverly Arrowood

After heading back into town for lunch at La Carreta ( it is easy to find as it has wagon wheels outside for the wall) we decide to see Pitiquito about 10 miles south of Caborca. Our 1st stop is the Templo de San Diego de Pitiquito. You can see from the info out front the age of the mission. Although it is very small in comparison to the one in Caborca, it is none the less meaningful. The region to the east of Caborca and Hermosillo is called Ruta de Missions. Do to the many missions to visits, you will want to spend the night along the way.
I believe I also have mentioned in the past, but Pitiquito is the home to a very large leather factory that manufactures some of the most beautiful handmade leather jackets, vests, purses, belts and more. They also have this wonderful little courtyard where you can just sit while your spouse is shopping.
Padre Kino Mission Church
Photo by Beverly Arrowood

Back on the road to Caborca, it is again time to stop at our favorite lunch place or if we are not hungry, just stroll the stores of Caborca. Where else can we get Carne cooked over a small table top hibachi grill and done to perfection. Once we have finished, we know it will be a beautiful drive back to Puerto Peñasco and we will be able to see the sunset over the Sea of Cortes for many miles.
As you can see, we have so many things to do not only in Puerto Peñasco but the surrounding part of the State of Sonora, you will never be bored. We are also only 5 hours away from Hermosillo if you decide you want to take a bus to the South of Mexico. There are 1st class buses all the way or hop a plane.
There is always something to do in and around Puerto Peñasco. Come down and join us, the weather is is nice, the water is warm and the beer is ice cold.
Padre Kino Mission Church
Photo by Beverly Arrowood