As wine lovers, we know when it comes to West Coast wine it’s hard to beat the tried and true vineyards of California’s sweeping wine regions — but what if we told you the best-kept secret in the West actually lies south of the border? Just shy of a two-hour drive from San Diego on the northern tip of Baja California, Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe greets you with rolling fields of vines under the Mexican sun. In-the-know wine connoisseurs are making their way to the must-visit wine region for a taste of what the “Napa Valley of Mexico” has to offer thanks to its 1000 foot elevation and ideal Meditteranean microclimate.
Besides its unbeatable conditions to growing impeccable varietals of red wine grapes, Valle de Guadalupe is home to some serious culinary destinations offering a sophisticated and laid back twist on fine dining, unexpected and delightful accommodations and a beauty that easily matches up the likes of the Italian countryside. Discover all the secrets of Valle de Guadalupe and uncover a getaway of low-key bliss with our curated guide below.
Wineries in Valle De Guadalupe
With over 100 wineries on Valle De Guadalupe’s Ruta del Vino (wine route), each features a distinct flavor and tradition of their very own. Here, wine tasting is a relaxed experience in an air of laid-back calm and exciting innovation thanks to forward-thinking practices that come from the region only having been established within the last 30 years. Having sipped through our favorites, check out these must-visit wineries in Valle de Guadalupe.
Owned by the Paloni family, Villa Montefiori has been making some of the most elegant wines in the region for the past 20 years. Originally from Italy, the owners aimed to create a Mexican winery with an Italian heart with all vines on property imported from Italy. Bellissimo! The winery focuses on the synergy between Italian traditions and the latest technologies to create high quality original wines from their 11 varieties of grapes. Before production, each wine is refined in French oak barrels between 8-18 months before being tasting by a palette expert to ensure spectacular quality. Enjoy a tasting on the winery’s large modern wooden deck perched over the vineyard as you sip on a glass of Rosato or Sangiovese Grosso while taking in panoramic views.
Stay: A short 15 minutes away, Hotel Partana is one of the newer hotels to grace the destination. An intimate and modern stay, Hotel Partana features six rooms designed with an architect’s touch with details that immediately draw your eye – like floor to ceiling windows and stunning woodwork complemented by black steel that seamlessly blend into the surrounding vineyards and nature. Not to mention, the property sits at the doorstep of some of the finest eateries in the region like Finca Altozano, Lupe, Das Cortez, and Animalon. Take a glass of Baja wine up to your private terrace and indulge in balmy Mexican nights while making your vineyard living dreams come true.
Eat + Drink: A dining destination that steals your heart, Deckman’s en el Morgor’s rustic-chic charm comes complete with twinkling lights, sunflowers, and unforgettable sunset views over Mogor Ranch vineyards. The brainchild of Chef Drew Deckman, the Michelin-star chef created an elevated sustainable dining concept with an all outdoor kitchen where you get the privilege of seeing the magic happen. The menu is a rotating handwritten list by Chef Deckman depending on what’s available from local farms each day, ensuring optimal freshness and creative one-of-a-kind dishes. If it’s your first time, you can’t go wrong with with the chef’s tasting menu and a glass of Mogor Ranch wine.
One of the top wineries in the area, Adobe Guadalupe is more like a sanctuary where elegant traditional Mexican architecture in bright bold colors is found at every corner. With over 60 acres of vineyards, Adobe Guadalupe still manages to create a personal experience welcoming you with a gracious courtyard, backdrop of mountains, winery and wine cellar designed by Persian architect Nassir Haghighat, and over 10 varieties of wines ranging from Cabernet Savigionion to Chenin Blanc to Syrah. Our personal favorite was the Jardin Romantico, a Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc blend perfect for a sunny day or luxurious picnic. If you’re looking to snack, stop by the famed Adobe Food Truck for snacks like an assorted cheese plate with fresh jam and bread, Spanish ham croquettes, and a light mushroom saute with garlic, paprika, and olive oil.
Stay: You don’t have to venture far for an unforgettable stay. A 5-star inn, Adobe Guadalupe is modeled after an old mission featuring dramatic arches, long expansive walkways through lush gardens, and a beautiful functioning bell tower. Set in a working vineyard, the six-room inn offers luxurious privacy and spacious comfort as well as an expansive pool with mosaic tiles and private stables housing champion Azteca horses available for guests to ride.
Eat + Drink: Gathered beneath a 200-year-old oak tree, enjoy a spectacular feast under the guidance of head chef Oscar Torres at Animalón. A concept created by famed chef Javier Plascencia, Animalón is an intimate modern wine country experience celebrating smokey flavors and life’s culinary pleasures that pair excellently with a glass of fine wine. Choose between a 4, 6, or 8-course tasting menu and tuck into dishes like clay-baked lamb barbacoa or a decadent Mexican foie gras.
Bodegas de Santo Tomás
The first winery established in Baja California, Bodegas de Santo Tomás has consistently produced some of the area’s highest quality wines. With modern equipment and state-of-the-art technology, Bodegas de Santo Tomás produces a wide variety of internationally acclaimed and award-winning wines including Merlot, Chardonnay Sauvignon, and – our personal favorite – a ruby Cabernet Sauvignon which is best enjoyed on their open-air tasting room deck. Quite literally the winery’s neighbor, be sure to indulge in a meal at Villa Torrel. A recent arrival to Valle De Guadalupe’s culinary scene, it’s serious menu includes simple yet clever dishes like grilled sweet duck breast set in a garden of lettuce and wildflowers and chocolate clams with baby vegetables, finished perfectly with a squeeze of lime.
Stay: A project by chef renowned chef Javier Plascencia, Finca La Divina was originally the chef’s respite as he was developing his well-known culinary concept, Finca Altozano (more on that below). With exteriors inspired by Mexican Colonial and California design, the stunning property has been converted to a quaint bed and breakfast with minimalist airy interiors in a seamless blend of traditional Mexican and modern styles and pops of color. With only three rooms on the intimate property, explore a personal paradise that includes your own kitchen, communal living and dining area, and patio that includes a pool, jacuzzi, and outdoor dining table perfect for al fresco meals paired with the perfect vino.
Eat + Drink: Another dining destination by chef Javier Plascencia, you know you’re in for a treat at Finca Altozano. Set in one of Baja’s most picturesque settings, Finca Altozano is a country gill concept delivering sensationally simple Baja cuisine in a rustic outdoor atmosphere with seating accents like massive wine barrels from Bodegas de Santo Tomás. Seafood like ahi tuna and octopus tostadas are must-order dishes along with caja china roasted lamb and suckling pig served alongside housemade artisan bread and tortillas and fresh produce from the onsite garden.
Nestled in Baja mountainside and only 13 miles from the ocean, Monte Xanic vineyards are permeated by currents of humidity defining the style of their wines. A Valle de Guadalupe treasure, the winery changed the game for Mexican wines becoming the third most valuable winery in the Mexican wine industry. Known for their Bordeaux style wine, Monte Xanic wines range from their clean and transparent Chenin Colombard to their Calixa–producing violet tones and notes of lily, soft wood, and balsamic vinegar. The stunning property takes cues from minimal desert design and surrounding panoramic views of the Valle.
Stay: Get to know the desert with a stay at the beautiful Encuentro Guadalupe, a boutique hotel focused on connecting you to nature. Built on the center of a mountain, the impressive lobby and wine cellar set the tone at check-in offering breathtaking views of the valley. Each private eco-loft is built into the surrounding landscape and overlooks the sweeping hillside – suffice to say it’s easy to see why this destination has quickly become one of the most Instagrammed spots in all of Valle De Guadalupe. The minimally designed interiors of each eco-loft include stark white walls and wood accents, a king-size bed, intimate dining area, and a private patio terrace.
Eat + Drink: A foodie’s paradise, Encuentro Guadalupe houses two can’t miss dining destinations – Origen and Raw Oyster Bar. A modern Mexican kitchen, Origen’s elegant dishes will delight any palette. We say go for the fresh ceviche served beneath avocado, white flowers, and herbs or the perfectly grilled octopus seasoned with burnt chile. For oyster lovers, Raw Oyster Bar will be your safe haven. Satisfy your tastebuds with specialty oysters and a menu filled with surprising seafood creations – think oyster croquettes and octopus quesatacos. For a well-rounded experience, order the oyster flight and discover six unique flavors and preparations with garnishes from the property’s organic garden.
At the end of a dirt road discover “the hippest winery in Mexico.” Known for its organic wines and exciting flavors, Vena Cava is far from your traditional winery. Architects Alejandro D’Acosta and Claudia Turrent designed Vena Cava with sustainability in mind, creating vaulted ceilings and interestingly beautiful interiors made from salvaged boats from the Ensenada port of call. Check out photographs of the entire building process along the walls during your visit. Grab a seat at the outdoor bar to indulge in a tasting beneath a netted tent and be sure to try their Big Blend – a medley of five different grapes that is leaves a unique dark and smokey experience on the pallete. For a quick, light meal, the popular Troika food truck offers a menu of delectable bites like tostadas, tacos, and sliders along with local craft beers if you’re looking for a wine break.
Stay: The region’s most iconic bed and breakfast, La Villa del Valle is a charming six-room country retreat, perfectly perched on a hilltop offering incredible views of olive groves and grapevines for miles. Eloquent interiors include warm woods accented with rich Mexican leather and a rustic feel complimented by colorful textiles from Oaxaca. Enjoy days spent by the pool or nestled in the sitting room decorated with shelves of books and a magical glass of Baja wine.
Eat + Drink: Also on property is one of the best restaurants in all of Latin America, Corazon de Tierra. Chef Diego Hernandez and his team have created the most renowned farm-to-fork experience in Baja at this beautiful institution, which heavily relies on the property’s garden for dishes in it’s tasting menu (which varies daily). Here, every detail is thought of in the presentation of its thoughtful dishes, including the varying ceramic canvases on which each course is served created by a local artist.