In 1579, monks planted the first vines in this Valley, but in 1699, the King of Spain said that only the church could make wine.
After more than 320 years, the wine produced here is better than ever, and the area is getting an incredible number of boutique wineries and world-class restaurants.
However, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico, and its “Ruta del Vino” is still a hidden gem.
Best Time to Travel to Valle de Guadalupe
Mexico’s Wine Country, in Baja California, is gorgeous all year round, and there’s always something to do.
The coldest winter temperatures might reach an average of 5.5°C (42°F) and can be as high as 33°C (91°F) in summer.
Most people visit during harvest, between July and August, to enjoy the festivities.
Where is Valle de Guadalupe Mexico?
Valle de Guadalupe is a valley in the Mexican state of Baja California, stretching from the Sea of Cortes inland, just 12 miles (20 km) from the coastal city of Ensenada and 70 miles (113 km) south of the Mexican border with San Diego in the United States.
The safest and quickest route is traveling to Valle de Guadalupe from San Diego.
Besides, Ensenada is a town with charm and the source of some of the best seafood in the world.
If you decide to drive there, please consider that you’ll be tasting lots of delicious local wine during your winery tour!
Valle de Guadalupe Map
Even though Baja California only makes a small amount of wine compared to giants like Napa Valley, Willamette Valley on the West Coast, or other wine regions worldwide, it is quietly becoming a haven for wine lovers everywhere.
It has been becoming more and more popular every year.
The Mexican wine scene is more appealing than ever, and the finest wines come from Valle de Guadalupe.
With a climate not dissimilar to the sunny vineyards in California and a refreshing breeze coming from the Sea of Cortez, growing premium wine grapes in the region is a given.
This region has become a leading destination for wine enthusiasts and foodies from both sides of the border.
Wine enthusiasts travel far and wide to experience Mexico’s top wine region. Of course, expect Mexico’s signature hospitality and delicious regional food!
Choose a suitable wine tour for you, and you’ll have the wineries and wine tastings all for yourself!
Whether you ride a hot-air balloon or a horse, you’ll have a great time in Valle de Guadalupe. You’ll also feast on the region’s creative take on Mexican food, Baja-Med.
But what about the wine?
Mexico’s Wine Country is a warm region where grapes ripen to perfection every season.
That means the fruit accumulates large amounts of sugar, resulting in big, bold wines, often fruit-forward, expressive, and pleasing alcoholic warmth.
White and reds, pink wine or bubbles, the wines from the Valley have a distinct personality.
Besides, winemakers here are not shy when selecting grapes to grow; they’ll plant the world’s most popular varietals and many other lesser-known.
They’ll blend them as well with impressive results. Nebbiolo and Chardonnay produce the best examples, but this is the tip of the iceberg!
Valle de Guadalupe is home to over 100 wineries, producing 90% of Mexico’s fine wine.
Diverse white and red varietals feel at home in the Valley’s Mediterranean climate.
You’ll find everything from full-bodied Chardonnay to aromatic Viognier, from bold Cabernet to Italian-scented Nebbiolo.
These are just a few wineries producing wine that you should visit during your wine tour.
Adobe Guadalupe is more than a world-class winery with wine-tasting facilities; it’s also an inn. You can ride horseback or eat at their food truck across the street.
This winery specializes in red wine, from which the “Archangel Series” is the most coveted by wine enthusiasts.
Wine tastings are available daily, and you should also inquire about their dining experiences with wine.
The estate’s Serafiel, a blend of Cabernet and Syrah, is the highlight of their impressive catalog.
Monte Xanic is the first boutique winery in Valle de Guadalupe; they’ve been around since 1987 and are still one of the wineries with the most youthful spirit.
Run by the second generation of winemakers with experience in the grand estates in Bordeaux, Monte Xanic does everything right — from everyday wines to memorable labels worthy of the finest long tablecloth dinners.
Wine tastings are available daily, and the estate has its own fine-dining restaurant, Artio.
Guided tours, wine pairings, and several other experiences make Monte Xanic a winery to spend the entire morning.
The estate’s flagship wine is the robust Gran Ricardo, but their more affordable Limited Edition Nebbiolo is also worth tasting.
The Chateau Camou Winery is in a small canyon, and most of its red and white wines are Bordeaux-style varieties that grow well in this area.
With a lovely tasting room where you can have a glass of their award-winning wine “El Gran Vino Tinto.”
El Cielo is a relatively recent winery, but they’ve risen to the top of everyone’s list — there’s just so much to see and do in the estate!
This resort has suites, residences, and villas — all grand luxury.
Then you have the food.
Two restaurants, Latitud 32 and Polaris, offer different takes on traditional Mexican dishes and are open to the public.
Private dinners are available as well, and so are wine tastings.
As for the wine, El Cielo’s best-performing wine is, without a doubt, its oaky Capricornius Chardonnay.
Santo Tomás is one of the first still-operating wineries in Mexico, with over 130 years of wine history.
You’ll find the estate in neighboring Santo Tomás Valley, minutes from Ensenada.
The estate is legendary, and visiting it is like traveling back in time.
Guided tours, wine tastings, workshops, and many other experiences make Santo Tomas a memorable visit, but the winery and its vineyards alone are worth exploring.
The estate produces a superb Barbera, but their finest wine is the Unico, an age-worthy and robust red wine best enjoyed with grilled meat.
Decantos is a beautiful, modern, gravity-fed winery that sits on a hill and has floor-to-ceiling glass windows all around the building, so the views are stunning.
This unique winery has Italian roots, and you can tell. It’s no secret that Italian grapes perform beautifully in Guadalupe’s arid soils, but no one produces a most trustworthy expression of Italian wine styles than Villa Montefiori.
A winery and boutique hotel, Villa Montefiori, is a great place to stay amongst the vines.
Food is also available, and it too has an Italian flare.
If you have to choose, try the winery’s Italian varietals, the Nebbiolo and Sangiovese are fantastic.
Still, the Cabernet and Chardonnay are also well-made.
Viña de Frannes
It opened in 2015 and is a modern winery with some old-fashioned touches. Sit outside and enjoy the view of the vineyards as you sip your wine in peace.
Fiestas de la Vendimia (Wine Harvest Festival)
The people who make wine in this area celebrate the Wine Harvest yearly.
A festival is a common way for wineries to show off the culture of wine.
Around different wine tastings, visits to wineries, fishing tournaments, regattas, concerts, barbecues, and gourmet contests, these dates host many sporting and cultural events.
Every year, the Harvest Festivals take place in August.
About two weeks pass between these parties.
Each year, more than 20,000 people visit on average, so you should book a hotel ahead of time.
In the end, you’ll learn more about this delicious and ancient drink, but I suggest you don’t visit more than four wineries per day so you can fully enjoy them and then eat at one of the restaurants in the area.
Where to Eat in Valle de Guadalupe
Restaurants and resorts, golf clubs, and outdoor activities abound in Valle de Guadalupe Wine Country, making it the ultimate destination for wine lovers and outdoorsy people — there’s something for everyone!
But just in case you go hungry, here are a few of our favorite spots to grab a bite.
At Malva, the stars are the local oysters, always fresh and cooked differently (or served raw.)
Classic Mexican dishes like the birria are well represented on Chef Roberto Alcocer’s menu.
The ambiance is laid back and relaxed, but the food is top-notch, and so is the wine.
Deckman’s en el Mogor
Located on the Mogor Ranch, all of the wines, vegetables, herbs, lamb, olive oil, and eggs used at Deckman’s Restaurant at the Mogor are grown or produced on-site.
A relative newcomer, Lunario is one of the most exclusive and refined dining experiences in Valle de Guadalupe.
Expect a world-class tasting menu featuring the best wine and food in the Valley, along with a few surprises inspired by Ensenada’s streets.
This is Mexican food reinvented with extraordinary sensitivity.
Expect fish tostadas, stuffed chili peppers, and fork-tender ribs. Knowing what to expect in Lunario is not easy.
Chef Sheyla Alvarado is taking the culinary scene in Valle de Guadalupe to the next level, that’s for sure.
Finca Altozano is in a natural setting, so chef Javier Plascencia uses only products and ingredients from the area to smoke and grill in the open kitchen to make exceptional tastes.
Fauna is one of the most exciting restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe, and it’s up there with the best in the country.
Chef David Castro Hussong opened this fine-dining restaurant in 2017, and it soon became one of the most exciting places to end a day touring the region’s vineyards.
You can find premium beef here, but the highlight is in the local seafood, gracefully presented and prepared Mediterranean-style.
Even the humblest veggies get special treatment here, but the real winner is you.
Taqueria La Principal
Not all the great restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe are fancy or expensive.
Roadside eateries and typical taquerias offer extraordinary meals at a great price!
Enjoy grilled meat tacos, freshly made guacamole, cheesy “quesatacos,” and massive tortas.
There is nothing fancy to see here, just fantastic local food and friendly service. What else do you need?
La Cocina de Doña Esthela
This restaurant is a casual place to eat excellent homemade food in Valle de Guadalupe’s Wine Country.
After a day of wine tasting, stop by La Cocina de Doña Esthela for at least one traditional Sinaloan breakfast.
Get traditional delicacies such as fresh queso fresco, shredded beef machaca, chilaquiles, coffee with cinnamon and brown sugar, or “Birria de Borrego” (wood-roasted lamb).
Eat your meal with tortillas made the old-fashioned way.
Where to Stay in Valle de Guadalupe
Among the impressive vineyards that fill its landscapes, you can find one-of-a-kind lodgings that rescue the wine vocation, fusing the region’s country atmosphere with authentic hideaways that prioritize comfort, luxury, and the sum of experiences that only Valle de Guadalupe can provide to visitors.
The following is our selection of the best Valle de Guadalupe Hotels:
You can’t miss the Encuentro Guadalupe as you drive down the road.
The 22 minimalist loft-style rooms are built on stilts and are spread out along the hillside.
Guests will have a memorable stay in these rooms.
Cuatro Cuatros is a development two kilometers from Ensenada that was made for people who want to enjoy the best views and settings of nature in the most literal style of glamping.
Bruma is a small hotel on the northern edge of Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California. Eight childhood friends designed it.
You will get a delicious home-cooked meal every morning when you stay at Bruma.
You can ride one of the free bikes through the vineyards.
Suggested stops along the trip to Valle de Guadalupe
Tijuana is a classic border city. It is just across the border from San Diego, California, and claims to be the world’s busiest crossing, with 300,000 people crossing the line daily.
Its modernity can be seen in its tall skyscrapers and colossal shopping malls.
The best places to shop are the quiet bazaars on both sides of Avenida de la Revolución. Most people buy painted pottery, leather boots, silver jewelry, mezcal, and tequila.
On Avenida Revolución, where there are many restaurants and cafes, there is also a lot going on at night.
Tijuana also has a few cultural sights, with the futuristic Centro Cultural Tijuana by the river being the most popular.
Divers, surfers, and fishermen like to go to this busy port and cruise ship stop.
The drive from Tijuana is beautiful and only takes about 90 minutes.
Along the way, you’ll see bays and red bluffs that hint at the unique desert landscape further south. The bay of Ensenada can be seen from a lookout outside the city.
The Riviera del Pacifico, close to the water, used to be a hotel in the 1930s, but it is now used to hold exhibits. In the lobby is a beautiful 3-D mural of the Jesuit missions to California in the 18th century.
The beaches in town aren’t great, but a few miles south, Playa El Faro and Playa Estero are clean and pleasant, and both have incredible sunsets.
Farther south is La Bufadora, where a crack in the rock causes a jet of sea foam, especially when the waves are high and there is a lot of wind. This is the best place to dive in the area.
The Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857 is about 90 km (56 miles) inland from Ensenada.
Ensenada is the door to the Valle de Guadalupe wine region.
People come from all over the world to this small fishing village with only an archway and a few streets to get lobster and lots of it.
About 100,000 crustaceans are served in 30 lobster houses every year.
These lobsters are caught daily in the Pacific waters surrounding it, and the traditional sides are beans, rice, and flour tortillas.
Most restaurants also serve fresh fish and meat selections if you prefer.
This beach town was made for vacations, so it’s hard to get bored here.
It’s full of condos, resorts, seafood and taco places, sandy beaches with every level of a surf break, spas, golf courses, boutiques, and loud nightlife.
Even kite surfing, zip lining, and riding a camel are possible here.
If all of this sounds too much, you could hike up Cerro El Coronel, where people say you can see from San Diego to Todos Santos on a clear day.
Valle de Guadalupe has a wide range of attractions and services, from small family wineries to large-scale producers, from small country eateries to well-known restaurants, as well as campgrounds or boutique hotels, spas, craft centers, community museums, a mission site, wine boutiques, art galleries, indigenous culture, natural places, and more.
This area of Baja California, which you should know about, has tastes, smells, and food options for everyone.