“Imagine walking into your grandma’s country cottage on a sunny day to see her counter full of baked goods, all made fresh just for you.”
If I say vineyard, you say what? France? Italy? USA? I certainly wouldn’t have said Mexico. But in April of 2019, my best friend Jaime and I took a tour around Ensenada’s wine country. And it was really beautiful.
I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. Ensenada is only a hop-skip away from Napa Valley and everyone loves the wine there.
So why not Mexico?
It should be said that though I enjoy a glass of wine with dinner from time to time, I don’t consider myself a wine connoisseur. But our visit was amazing none the less. Because let’s be honest, grapes aren’t going to make my day. But the gorgeous sunshine paired with the rolling hills of Mexico and a baguette smothered in local creamy cheese definitely will.
Tucked away in the north east of Ensenada, the Calafia Valley lies 850 feet above sea level and is best known for its wide variety of growing grapes. The green hills, sandy cliffs and emerald waters guaranteed a lovely view as we continued to drive north up the winding roads, all the way to Guadaloupe to our first stop, L.A. Cetto Winery.
An established vineyard since 1928, L.A. Cetto offer 60-minute tours of their facilities, where they explain the whole wine making process, everything from picking the grapes off the vine to pouring it into the bottle.
Concluding the tour was a nice spread of local cheese and crackers to compliment the much anticipated wine tasting. On our way out, we detoured to the gift shop to buy our favourite bottle of wine. The whole experience was quite similar to the popular vineyard tours I’ve done in Napa Valley.
After spending the morning at L.A. Cetto, we left behind the more industrious winery and continued our journey just down the road to Casa Doña Lupe.
Thus began my favourite part of the day. The two wineries could not have been more different.
Where L.A. Cetto is a well-oiled, mass produced product, Casa Doña Lupe is small, simple and full of charm. Imagine walking into your grandma’s country cottage on a sunny day to see her counter full of baked goods, all made fresh just for you.
Set in what feels like a giant rustic barn, Casa Doña Lupe is a smorgasbord of local product. We walked from table to table, sampling everything from fruity jams to freshly baked bread to locally made cheese to mouth-watering pastries to crisp wine to basically anything that heaven is made out of.
Though I must admit, “sampling” feels not generous enough a word. Let’s just say our plates were always full, as were our stomachs by the end of the day.
We even had the chance to chat with a few of the local sellers as they passed out their goods to hungry hands. They took the time to explain their process and offer their recommendations on the best products to try, most of them organic.
In between bites, we walked outside amidst the vines and continued to enjoy the sunshine and our wine.
All in all, the day was an experience I would recommend, especially to the wine lovers out there. I mean, how can you not enjoy yourself when the sun is shining, the scenery is breathtaking, and the cheese is waiting?
It sounds like heaven. So please, add Ensenada to your vineyard bucket list! Why not!?