Exploring Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico in 48 Hours: Vineyards, Food, and More! – Video

Exploring Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico in 48 Hours: Vineyards, Food, and More! – Video

Nestled within the rolling hills of Baja California, Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s hidden gem when it comes to wine country and culinary excellence. Often referred to as Mexico’s Napa Valley, this unexpected oasis offers a unique approach to winemaking and a culinary scene that will astonish even the most seasoned food connoisseurs. In this video, we take you on a 48-hour adventure into the heart of Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico. From exploring its rich history to tasting the best wines and dining at top-notch restaurants, Valle de Guadalupe will surprise you at every turn.

The video covers various topics such as the history of Valle de Guadalupe, the best vineyards and wines to try, where to eat, road conditions in the area, and the issue of water scarcity that the region faces. From breakfast at Salvia Blanca to wine tastings at Las Nubes and Decantos, and dining experiences at Almatierra and Finca Altozano, the video showcases the diverse flavors and experiences that Valle de Guadalupe has to offer.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a food lover, or simply an explorer looking for a unique travel experience, Valle de Guadalupe has something for everyone. So, sit back, relax, and let this video guide you through the incredible Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico. You’ll quickly see why this hidden gem is a must-visit destination before it becomes the next tourist hotspot.

Watch the video by Tourist to Local

Video Transcript

In the country of tequila and salsa, an overlooked 600-year-old wine country is starting to get international attention. This is Valle de Guadalupe, and this isn’t your normal wine region. Located just an hour and a half south of San Diego, this isn’t a place for the all-inclusive, feet up by the pool type traveler.

It’s for the explorers, the adventurers, the ones who don’t mind getting a bit of dust on their boots. Here, the unforgiving roads with little cell phone signals serve as gatekeepers to ensure that only the deserving get to experience the paradise that awaits them in Valle de Guadalupe.

You’ve got family-owned wineries, farm-to-table restaurants, boutique hotels with just a handful of rooms, and wines that can only be tasted here. We’re Martin and Juliana, that’s Napa, and we’ve got two days to experience the best that Valle de Guadalupe has to offer. This is going to be good.

Good morning from Valle de Guadalupe. Oh my gosh, we have been wanting to come here for years. I’ve actually been wanting to come here since before I even knew you, Martin. It’s very early in the morning, and we are on these bumpy roads. We’re slowly but surely making our way to breakfast.

Napa looks so cute in her poncho that we got in Ensenada last week. You know, Martin, I give you credit. Not only are you dealing with these bumpy roads, but also Napa, just like, still no matter what, coming up to this front seat, even though we have her buckled in in the back.

Anyway, let’s go to the place. Let’s go to have breakfast. Yeah, we’re going to be eating good on this trip and visiting lots of vineyards. There are only three paved roads in Valle de Guadalupe. The rest of the valley is a network of unnamed dirt roads.

Because many of the best wineries and restaurants are tucked away out of sight from the paved roads, you’re going to need to plan out your day and reserve your restaurants and wineries, or else you’ll be pretty disappointed. This is not a drive-around-and-stumble-in kind of place.

And yes, the roads here are as bad as everyone said, but the locals have come up with this saying that makes each bump worth it: “Good roads, bad tourists; bad roads, good tourists.” So, we bump our way to breakfast.

We’re at this place called Salvia Blanca, and I was shocked when I figured out that this place was nominated for best hotel restaurant among over 600,000 places in Mexico. Now, the chef here is quite the prodigy. I think he’s 32 years old, and his approach is to combine traditional Mexican with modern

Touches using Baja California flavors. Okay, uh, so I think we’re going to be in for a treat with this one. Now, one thing we haven’t mentioned is our dog, Napa, is with us on this trip, and a lot of this guide is going to be pet-friendly.

There are some things that aren’t, but Salvia Blanca is one of the places that accepts dogs. Yeah, and we already have like a morning walk over here. I know, the grounds here are gorgeous. I love the lavender in the vineyards.

Oh my gosh, there’s something about wine country that just makes my heart so happy. I think we’re in for a treat. Does it, does all right, let’s figure it out, this place. Okay, the menu here, it’s like you’re going to a typical restaurant, and Juliana said

It very well at the beginning, it’s a fusion. For instance, I ordered these chilaquiles that they have lamb on top. Look amazing. And then Jules has chicharron, that is pork belly, and they bring some tortillas, fresh guacamole, lime, and a very good sauce.

This video, I think we’re going to enjoy it so much. I really wanted to order the banana pancakes, but I was like, no, that’s too typical. You know, we got to order something crazy like this. I mean, I’m going to like this ’cause I love crunchy things.

Ever since we’re in Merida, I’ve been dreaming of lechon, so now I’m just like kind of really into pork belly chicharron wherever I can go. Holy toledo, papaya de celaya, this is so freaking good. Order this for sure, order this. These are some killer chilaquiles.

So good, but the star of the show is that pork belly chicharron. Wow, what the best chicharron, probably the best I ever tried in Mexico, and I’m Mexican. I can tell you, everything, wow. I’m so shocked. I want to steal Juliana’s dish. Wow, okay, so I’m glad I didn’t get the banana pancakes.

No, this is a must, if you come over here, believe us, you need to try the chicharron. Video done, that’s all we need to tell you. So long travel well…While Valle de Guadalupe has only recently started to get international attention, winemaking’s been around since the 16th century in this area.

Despite a near collapse following the Mexican Revolution in 1859, when Spanish Catholics were forced to flee, abandoning their vineyards, the region’s viticulture found new life in the 21st century. Pioneers driven by the vision of crafting exceptional wines took advantage of the construction

Of the new roads from Ensenada to Tecate, starting in 2008, to put Valle de Guadalupe on the wine world map. Yet, due to high export tariffs, the small batch production, and rising domestic demand for wine, Valle’s unique wines are mostly enjoyed within Mexico, rarely being exported around the world.

Today, Valle de Guadalupe is celebrated for its winemaking diversity and creativity, home to over 150 wineries that embrace everything from traditional 16th-century methods to the latest in technological advancements. The region is particularly renowned for its blends, which often mix grape varieties that

Wouldn’t typically be combined elsewhere, like Chardonnay mixed with Chenin Blanc, or bold Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon blends. The valley’s wine is also known for its unique minerality and sometimes salinity, given that the land was once an ocean bed, and salt reserves remain in the water table.

The climate, mitigated by cool coastal breezes, means winemakers can grow a wide range of grapes, from Spanish Tempranillo to Bordeaux varietals such as Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc. Among the standout wineries is Las Nubes, named for its elevated position in the clouds above the valley floor.

Since its inception, Las Nubes has focused on creating blends that are not only unique to the area but also showcase the winemaker’s skill and creativity. And the views here aren’t bad either. I start with a Cumulus, a blend of Grenache Carignan, and Tempranillo, with raspberry

And cherry notes, perfect to drink alongside some heavy pastas. Meanwhile, Napa makes friends with some of the locals. This particular vineyard does a good mix of both reds and whites. They have a couple of great tasting options. You ended up going for the Reserva, which is primarily reds, right?

Yes, most of them are red. I think all of them are red. And the cost of these tastings ranges from 350 to 630 pesos, just depending on if you’re wanting to go with more of those premium or just the classics.

You can also order by the glass, or also having a bottle in the middle of the table if you’re sharing with a couple of people. It is dog-friendly too. Nappa has already made a couple of dog friends that live here on the property.

So nice that she gets to come along and enjoy this beautiful view with us. Another big focus of this vineyard is protecting the environment by using the latest technologies. But sustainability isn’t just used as a buzzword. Valle de Guadalupe faces a critical challenge that threatens its wine scene: water scarcity.

Despite the Mediterranean climate, this is a desert, so the valley relies almost entirely on the Guadalupe aquifer. Over the years more water has been drawn from the aquifer than replenished, causing salinity levels to rise in the remaining water and impact vine health and wine taste.

Innovative conservation efforts and the exploration of more drought-resistant grape varieties are emerging as critical responses to ensure the sustainability of Valle de Guadalupe’s wine legacy. As Valle de Guadalupe grapples with its water challenges, the region’s commitment to sustainability and innovation finds new expression in the farm-to-fork movement.

We head to Almatierra, nestled within the serene confines of Hotel Ojo Azul, to see how local ingredients are being celebrated. The food scene in Valle de Guadalupe is throwing me for a loop. There are so many incredible restaurants to choose from. I’m very shocked.

I mean, you know, I knew they were going to be amazing wines, but I never thought about the food. And luckily, Juliana is always thinking about food, so it’s very good. Juliana, I’m very shocked, very surprised over here.

What we read about the chef is he likes to use a lot of ingredients from here, from the region, and also very fresh, so it changes according to the season. That farm-to-fork movement is super huge in Valle de Guadalupe, but not at all pretentious.

I ordered tuétano, that I don’t know how to say it in English, bone marrow, and Juliana ordered a Tlacayo, that it has some mole, it looks delicious. Tlacayos are from Morels, right? Basically, from the center of the country. Yeah, they’re very famous in Morelos, in my hometown.

Mole is from Oaxaca, so it’s just like this fusion of all things good in Mexican food. You’re going to love it. I think I need a little bit more mole. You don’t want to waste this stuff. Yes, it’s like liquid gold in Mexico, you know.

Wow, that is a full-bodied mole if I’ve ever had one. That could definitely compete with some of the best that we had in Oaxaca. After lunch, we take a couple more turns down some unmarked dirt roads and end up here at Decantos.

Decantos stands out among vineyards for its unique approach, hinted at by its very name, which translates to decanting. Embracing gravity throughout the winemaking journey, Decantos avoids the use of pumps, allowing the wine to flow naturally from one stage to the next. This method enhances the wine’s fruitiness and creates a smoother profile.

Imagine an apple; once bitten, it quickly browns as it oxidizes. A similar process can occur in winemaking when pumps are used. As the first winery in Mexico that relies solely on gravity, Decantos produces wines of such clarity and purity that they require no filtration.

I thought I understood the vibe of Valle de Guadalupe, and then we came here. It’s totally different from what we’ve seen earlier, and it’s good because there are different people that visit Valle de Guadalupe, and it’s good that they have a place for everybody.

Yeah, this place is a lot more of a young crowd, and you can see tons of groups of friends who have come from Southern California, celebrating bachelorettes, birthdays. Like, now I wish I had my bachelorette party here. How fun would that be? It would be good, yeah.

And also, there are a lot of people that come from Mexico, maybe from Monterrey or places like that. You can see, and they are enjoying over here. It’s cool too because this place is super open. You just grab a table, go up, order whatever you want, a tasting, a glass of wine.

Yeah, but it’s less formal, let’s say it like that. So yeah, it’s a different vibe, which I like. And dog-friendly. Plus, we tried to make reservations online, and they didn’t respond to our email, so we kind of showed up wondering if we’d be turned away, and we weren’t.

You could just come right in. That’s right, over here, you can also do wine tasting, but I recommend that you have like per glass, or if you’re coming with friends over here, because there’s not enough waiters. That’s what I noticed.

It’s like more to go over there to the bar to get your own kind of glass. Yeah, so we’re going to just enjoy this place until later on when we hit our next dinner reservation. Part of the charm of Valle de Guadalupe is the curveballs that inevitably come your way.

Tonight, we were supposed to eat at Shedeh, but when the muddy dirt road we were on led us to a truck stuck in the mud, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk, so we have to come up with something else to eat.

But Valle de Guadalupe is, we repeat, not the type of place you go without a plan. Most restaurants aren’t open late, and the ones that were wouldn’t let us in without a reservation, which is how we found this place, Justina’s.

Google Maps calls them a restaurant, but with the level of the music here, we really thought we arrived at a club. I think we’re getting old, let’s face it. I’m not sure if this is a restaurant or a club. I don’t know that it’s dog-friendly. But they’ve made it for us.

Napa is surely not enjoying herself, but hey, not every experience is going to be a winner. But the bathroom was very cool. We wrap up early, determined to start the next day on a high note at Cocina de Doña

Esthela, the breakfast spot that is the talk of the town, and absolutely no mud roads were going to stop us. “All right, Martín, one last puddle till we get to our place. I don’t know if like a regular car could get over here.

Like I said, we have a crossover, and still, it’s a little bit difficult to get through these roads. Bumpy roads, but well, we’re doing it.” “Well, Martín, I thought we were being dramatic when we got here this early, and uh, I guess we weren’t.

No, 7:30 in the morning, and there’s already a line over here. They open at 8, for context, and this should be a pretty good breakfast. It’s kind of highly recommended, and I think I’m finally going to get those hot cakes that I was craving yesterday.” “Yes, and it’s Sunday.

We’re going to have a traditional breakfast for sure.” “Let’s go.” Stepping into the spot feels like entering your grandma’s kitchen, assuming she’s the type whose culinary skills draw in hundreds at a time. Almost immediately after settling into our seats, we’re welcomed with café de olla,

Its rich aroma enveloping us as it’s poured into quaint clay cups. Then comes a pleasant surprise: queso fresco, and probably they do it over here because it’s so good. Whenever I see it, I order it, especially during breakfast. Whenever you have your eggs, your beans, your tortillas, salsa… so good.

Or like chorizo or with meat, this is the best. “Yeah, you could just make straight tacos out of it too, totally.” Choosing a dish here is foolproof, but if there’s one that gains celebrity status, it’s the borrego tatemado, famously endorsed by none other than Anthony Bourdain himself.

This dish is a love letter to lamb lovers, featuring juicy meat that’s been slow-cooked underground for hours, blending flavors in a way only traditional methods can achieve. It arrives at your table accompanied by salsa and fresh-made tortillas. Taquito or Tacote I should say, because it’s big.

We were talking with some people in the line, and they really recommended me this lamb. It’s a specialty over here, and um, I cannot let it pass. Actually, I’m going to put a little bit of cheese because we have to put it in everything. A lot of taste. Is it similar to birria?

It’s its own thing, but the tatemado, it’s so good, has a lot of flavor. The meat is a little different but so good in tacos. For those less inclined towards a mound of meat, the menu offers a variety of other hearty options, like pancakes de elote.

Forget everything you know about pancakes; these are not your typical light and fluffy breakfast fare. These thick, corn-based cakes are subtly sweetened by corn and generously topped with butter. It’s like pan de elote as a pancake. This place is a must.

After eating, we head to our next vineyard, Xecue, meaning “love” in the disappearing language of the Kiliwa people, and this spot is a labor of love indeed. Owners José Luis and his wife Alberta are the power couple of wine in Baja California.

José Luis tends the vineyard, and Alberta works her magic in creating award-winning wines. Stepping into Xecue, we’re greeted by José Luis, who’s setting up for our tasting with a modesty that’s almost criminal, given the array of shiny medals adorning each bottle, a testament to their victories in both Mexico and abroad.

As he lines up our tasting selection, it’s clear these bottles are his babies, each medal a proud parent moment. His wife and him have been making wine together since 1998, so they’ve seen Valle becoming what it is today.

The owner, well, he doesn’t call himself the owner; he calls himself the husband of the owner. He is just so cool. Once we started to talk to him more, he really opened up a lot and just cracking all these jokes. You can tell he just loves what he does.”

“Yeah, and he loves his wife. They are goals.” “Yeah, I really like how he enjoys what he’s doing, as you said, and also, talking to him, you can just know that he’s a nice person.” “What do you say, you and I, we open up our own vineyard here, honey?” “That’s the dream”

Here, tastings range from 350 to 750 pesos, and the grounds warmly welcome dogs. This vineyard ended up being our favorite, largely thanks to the relaxed vibe and attention from the staff. After saying goodbye to the humble charms of Xecue, our next stop was Animalón, a name

That is known throughout Valle de Guadalupe for their culinary prestige. Valle de Guadalupe certainly offers something for everyone, and this place was not for us. Animalón, with its almost theatrical dining experience, became the stage for a comedy we hadn’t intended to star in.

Picture this: a place oozing with that stereotypical fancy person food aura, where the menu forces upon you a 2,250 peso six-course tasting menu featuring portions so minuscule they barely qualify as a mouthful. Yeah, you heard right, about 133 bucks a person.

Our shock at the price was only rivaled by our reluctance to stand up and leave, especially given the glaring spotlight of being the only patrons, except for one other couple, and the four-person team attending our every whim. “Can we split the tasting?”

We inquired innocently, blissfully unaware of the minuscule scale of the servings, to which they agreed with a nod and no warning. “Can’t waste a single crumb.” As the meal unfolded, we couldn’t help but laugh as each dish came out, attempting to

Split a single scallop, for example, as we witnessed ice being shaved by hand at the table next to us. So, we tried to check if Napa was allowed over here because, as you guys can already see, Valle de Guadalupe is very pet-friendly. And they do, but only in summers.

Right now, during the winter months, they are in a closed room, so they do not. So, it’s Animalón, more like Animal-none. So right now, Napa is not with us, and she’s taking a nap. It was almost a 100% pet-friendly video. Almost.

But price and size aside, the food was really as good as everyone says it is. Where else can you have ice cream made at your table or a cubic croissant? Okay, now I understand. Napa will freak out. We just wish we knew what we were getting into before.

And when the bill arrived, we scrambled to justify the expenditure, telling ourselves that surely we deserve this indulgence, for whatever we could come up with Celebrating today. In the end, Animalón wasn’t just a meal; it was an experience. One that left our wallets lighter and our spirits confused, yet amusingly enriched by

The extravagance of it all. Luckily for us, by the time our six-course tasting wrapped up, it was time to hit our dinner reservation. Finca Altozano is much more our style. Dogs are welcome, you can take pictures in giant wine barrels, and the food is delicious.

Here, you can expect to find best-in-class food but in a casual, friendly, family environment. There’s dogs running around to everybody’s tables, lots of kids here, and this huge open grass area where you can just come sit out.

You can grab from various stations that they have around here, but we decided to eat at the actual restaurant itself. This spot is the love child of Javier Plascencia, who is a Tijuana-born star chef who basically put Valle de Guadalupe on the map, food-wise. So, we should be in for some goodies tonight.

“There’s a face of satisfaction. If you come over here, definitely, I will ask for the meat. Believe me, so good.” And they are known for their meat. Martín’s not kidding about the quality of their meats here. This rib that I’ve ordered is the best rib I’ve ever had.

Truly melt off the bone, layered over a bed of polenta, and it just works, and it’s so good. And God, we’re going to have to start cooking our own meals in a couple of days. It’s going to be hard to come out of leaving Valle de Guadalupe.

Like, the food here has been incredible. And that’s a wrap on Valle de Guadalupe. We had so much fun in this place, and I’m so glad we came over here. Honestly, we learned a lot for the next time we come. Hopefully, we can come next year for like our anniversary or something.

That would be amazing. “Maybe someone’s going to give you a surprise.” “We’ll see. Oh, okay. Well, anyway, we left this video over to the side here for you guys to watch next. We’re doing a whole series through Baja California. So long, travel well, make the world your neighborhood. See you guys next time.


Video “48 Hours in INCREDIBLE Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico | Vineyards, Food, & MORE!” was uploaded on 03/24/2024. Watch all the latest Videos by Tourist to Local on Gretopia