Fiestas de la Vendimia, Wine Tours in the Baja Valley, August 2010
By Andrea Julian
The area around Ensenada, Baja California has become famous for its fabulous vineyards. Though their fame is recent, the history of wine making there is not. The Spanish monks first began the practice wine making when they built their missions starting around 1791, with the establishment of the Mision de Santo Tomas in Baja California. They planted uva mision, the mission grape. The tradition has been passed down from generation to generation, though the last Jesuits have left the region and resettled elsewhere. Still, the inhabitants of the regions valleys continued making wine. Today, about 90% of Mexican wines come from this region.
Throughout the month of August, the Baja wineries open their doors to the public during the Fiestas de la Vendimia, which translates to the Grape Harvest Festival. Music, food, and general celebration take place alongside tourist events such as horseback rides and eco-tours of the area where the wineries are located. This is a great month to check out some of Mexico's most famous wineries and enjoy the beauty of the mountain landscape where they are located. Below are some of the events that will be featured throughout the month of August.
Jazz at El Mogar, Friday August 13, 2010
The Mogor Baden Winery in the famous Guadalupe Valley. The night starts at 5:30 p.m. Wine and Mediterranean empanadas will be served during a Jazz concert. Tickets per person are $500 pesos, or about $37 U.S. each.
Russian Memories, Saturday August 14, 2010
A noontime event is being offered at the Vinícola Bibayoff, located at km 9.5 of the Carretera Nueva Guadalupe al Tigre in the Toros Pintos. There will be a Russian theme with music, food and of course, local wines. The cost per ticket is $500 pesos, about $37 U.S.
Velada Italiana en Villa Montefiori, Sunday August 15, 2010
What better way to spend a Sunday evening than sipping wine from the famous Montefiori Winery in Toros Pinotos, in the Valle de Guadalupe, watching an opera. Traditional Italian cuisine will be served. Tickets per person are $1,300 pesos, which is a little over $100 U.S.
Celebration in the Valley, Thursday August 19, 2010
In the Ejido el Porvenir Park in the Guadalupe Valley. Each year, this free event offers food, music, and wine from many of the valley's local Baja vineyards in a fun family friendly environment. The event begins at 4:00 PM.
This is just a sample of the events you will find during the Grape Harvest Festival. A road trip to visit the wineries is a great way to spend a week or even a weekend. There are many places to stay en route. If you'd rather, you can even stay in Ensenada and make day trips to the wineries. When you drive to Baja, you will need to have Mexican auto insurance. If you are making the trip as a group, be sure and ask for group rates. If you are a wine enthusiast, this is one destination you won't want to pass up. Check out Mexico's incredible wineries at a fraction of the cost of what you would spend on tours in northern California.
For more information, visit: http://fiestasdelavendimia.com/