Information: www.venacavawine.com, tel: 011-52-646-156-8053, tasting room open 11am-5pm daily with tastings on the hour.
Why We Love It: The great wines and unique architecture of Vena Cava have made this winery a popular choice for both customers and the media (Vena Cava has been mentioned inThe New York Times, The Guardian, and NPR). Architect Alejandro D’Acosta constructed the winery out of five vintage wooden fishing boats from Ensenada, turned upside down to create the roof of the winery. Winemaker Phil Gregory can often be found around the winery regaling clients with stories and explaining his winemaking methods.
Wine to Try: Vena Cava is one of only two wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe currently creating a sparkling wine. The Espomoso Brut Rosé is a delectable sparkling rosé that takes three years to make by hand. It’s not included in the tasting, but definitely buy a bottle to enjoy later for a special occasion.
DBTC Insider Tip: TROIKa food truck, by Chef Diego Hernandez, is located right outside Vena Cava under a canopy of recycled irrigation tubing. Enjoy Baja-style gastropub fare like lechón tacos and sliders with beer-battered tomatillo and bacon marmalade.
Information: www.vinoslasnubesbc.com, tel: 011-52-646-156-8037, tasting room open 10am-5pm daily
Why We Love it: With a name meaning “the clouds,” Las Nubes is perched up on the hillside with impressive sweeping views of the valley that are best enjoyed from the large outdoor patio with a glass of wine in hand. The beautiful stone winery was constructed from rocks mined from the property and takes advance of natural breezes to help keep things cool. Winemaker Victor Segura is a knowledgeable and hospitable host who’s created a welcoming environment for customers to enjoy his wines.
Wine to Try: They just released their 2015 vintage of Selección de Barricas (a red blend) a month ago. The bold but easy-to-drink wine is available as a part of their classic tasting.
DBTC Insider Tip: Order their cheese plate here and you’ll get the chance to try olive oil and cheeses made just down the road at Rancho Cortés, the valley’s most well-known dairy ranch. Also, as a helpful guide, they provide a graph on the back of every bottle of red letting you know how long to store the wine for optimal drinking pleasure.
Information: www.vinoslechuza.com, tastings by appointment only
Why We Love it: This family-owned and operated winery is not only producing some of the best wines in the Valle de Guadalupe, but they’re delivering them to customers with personal attention. When you make an appointment for a wine tasting here, you’re meeting the owners, hearing about their wines, and seeing their process—all firsthand. Winemaker Ray Magnussen works along with his daughter Kristin and her husband Adam to make premium wines that are fast becoming some of the most coveted wines coming out of the region.
Wine to Try: All of their wines are incredible, and unlike many other wineries in the valley, you’ll find all monovarietals here, with the one exception being their Amantes (lovers) blend, which was the wine served at Kristin and Adam’s wedding. Amantes was recently picked up by The French Laundry to be served in the michelin-starred Napa Valley restaurant.
DBTC Insider Tip: While they can likely accommodate you any day of the week, you must make an appointment ahead of time. This is a small family-run operation so expect quality wines (along with a delicious bread and cheese spread) and a personal experience when you visit.
Information: www.vinospijoan.com, tel: 011-52-646-127-1251, tasting room open: Mon.-Fri: 10am-4pm, Sat.-Sun: 11am-5pm
Why We Love it: This intimate and peaceful winery has friendly service and good wines. Relax and enjoy your tasting on the patio looking out over the vineyards. Wines from the classic line are named after winemaker Pau Pijoan’s family members with the characteristics of the wine reflecting the personalities of the family member.
Wine to Try: For a unique experience, try wine from the “Coordenadas” line. Pau Pijoan and a few other winemakers in the valley took the same varieties of grapes and grew them in the Valle de Guadalupe as well as in Rousilon, France. They then made wines using the grapes from both regions to create one wine made from all Mexican grapes, another from all French, and a third from a combination of the two. Try them all to compare the results from both regions.
DBTC Insider Tip: If they aren’t too busy in the tasting room, ask for a behind-the-scenes tour of the production area and their unique wine cave.
Bodegas F. Rubio
Information: www.bodegasfrubio.com, tel: 011-52-646-156-8046, tasting room open: Wed: 12-4pm, Thur: 12-6pm, Fri.-Sun: 12-7pm
Why We Love It: This small winery is making some really exceptional wines. The family-run operation includes a small restaurant headed up by Chef Alex Rubio who’s making some delectable dishes like corvina tiradito and adobo ribs. There’s a lovely new patio area with canopies for enjoying vineyard views.
Wine to Try: The Montelpulciano is a red Italian grape variety, not often seen in this region. F. Rubio is the only winery in the valley making a single varietal of the Montepulciano, and it’s definitely worth trying.
Insider Tip: This is one of the very few spots in the Valle de Guadalupe where you’ll find air conditioning. When the summer heat is unbearable, come here to sip wine and eat food in the luxuriously cool air. They also open later and stay open later so when most of the other wineries have closed at 5pm, you can always head here for one last tasting.