Mexico shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to exploring local wineries. This is because the country has a long history of wine making, especially on the Baja Peninsula — the second longest peninsula on earth. If you want your vacation to include a bit of true local flavor, including fabulous wines, keep Baja in mind.
I recently learned about Baja second-hand, from my brother and sister-in-law. These two foodies know a lot about wine. They’ve traveled to California’s wine country, and they’ve been to Italy’s best vineyards. They even have a trip to France planned. When they were in town to visit our aging parents in Wisconsin, they took time to locate some of the best local wine makers, including Wollersheim Winery in Prairie Du Sac . Because of their expertise, I asked them where in Mexico they found the best wines. Almost in unison, they said, “Baja!”
How do they know this? They lived in Mexico and sold condos there for several years. In fact, they had traveled to a good portion of the many wineries along the Pacific coast, and they proceeded to tell me that most of the wine produced in Mexico comes from this region of the country.
A quick search lead me to this startling fact: 90% of all wine produced in Mexico comes from the Baja region. As stated on the Baja Wine website, the majority of wines in this region come from “Valle de Guadalupe which is located just 10 minutes east of the Pacific Ocean just north east of Ensenada.
Besides my own family members, thousands of others have taken advantage of Mexico’s wine country. A recent review of Bodegas de Santo Tomas, the oldest winery on the peninsula, proves that a visit is well worth it. The reviewer states, “Beautiful views from patio and a marvelous tasting area. Very helpful well informed multi-lingual staff. I ended up with several lovely bottles of wine in hand — whites and reds — including a delicious red from some of the oldest vines in Latin America. Chocolate, the world’s best olive oil on sale as well. Loved the visit.” Other reviews from Trip Advisor.com were equally positive.
Another well-known destination is the Chateau Camou. This French-inspired winery is under the direction of Dr. Vitor Torres, an acclaimed winemaker who studied at the University of Bordeaux. As explained on the Baja Bound website, Dr. Torres “…-did his hands-on training at Chateau Margeaux — a prestigious French “first growth” winery. Torres and business partner Fernando Favela purchased the winery with the shared goal of bringing the finest of European wine-making practice to Baja California. They consult with Bordeaux winemaker Michel Rolland who visits Chateau Camou quarterly during the blending of wines to give hands-on advice.” Impressive!