Baja’s Wine Country – Barón Balché’s VineyardsBaja’s Wine Country is to Mexico what Napa Valley is to the U.S. and produces over 90% of Mexico’s wine, from the big producers like L.A. Cetto and Casa Domecq to smaller family cellars. Because of its Mediterranean climate and particular soil conditions, this area is perfect for growing grapevines and olives; there is no other place like it in Mexico. Its origins date back to 1903 with the arrival of the first Russian migrants who brought top-quality grape cuttings from Europe; Bibayoff is one of the most accessible old Russian wineries, you can also find the Russian Community Museum in the area and places to sample their food, and artisan cheese bread and wine.
With the production of more than 80 varieties of wine from all manner of grapes either reds or whites, you will find something you will surely love, be it Merlot or Chardonnay.
– The Wine Route –
Take the tour of Baja’s wine country, you can charter a guided tour or make a road trip out of it. Consider it a 3 part journey that has around 50 wine-producing houses; the first part being the valleys of Calafia, Guadalupe, and San Antonio de las Minas; the second is to the north, through Valle de las Palmas and the third, south of Ensenada in Valle de San Vicente Ferrer. These are some of the wine houses you can visit and some amenities they offer:
- L.A. Cetto is the house with the most renown and tradition in the valley, It offers beautiful gardens, sampling, and picnic areas, and of course a wine boutique (www.cettowines.com).
- Casa Domecq has a sampling room along with a picnic area and a shop (www.domecq.com.mx).
- Barón Balché offers tours and wine tasting (www.baronbalche.com).
- Viña de Liceaga will give a good explanation of the wine-making process besides wine sampling in the terrace and cellar with a purchase option (www.vinosliceaga.com).
- Viñedo Adobe Guadalupe has a six-room B&B with a private restaurant, swim pool, Jacuzzi, and horseback riding. Reservations are necessary (www.adobeguadalupe.com).
- Casa de Piedra offers tours and wine tasting (www.vinoscasadepiedra.com).
- Monte Xanic, one of the first wineries on the route will let you about their house wines as well as sampling and purchases.
Make the complete route and you will not regret it, for every wine house adds something to the experience, as an extra, this route has a variety of attractions; apart from the wine producers you will find small family restaurants to fine cuisine, artisan centers, wine boutiques, art galleries, B&Bs, and many more things to do.