When most people think of Mexico, they think of beaches, tequila, and all inclusive resorts.
Just 90 minutes south of San Diego, the Guadalupe Valley is changing the common perceptions of Mexico.
The Guadalupe Valley is a beautiful, dry, mountainous oasis for oenophiles. The wineries have the homey, laid back feel of small, family run European vineyards and produce exceptional wines. Wineries in the region boast panoramic mountain and valley views. Many have called the region “the next Napa.” While I think that the culture and experience in the Guadalupe Valley is a stark contrast to Napa's, the region is certainly giving California well deserved competition for North America’s best wine destination.
The climate is similar to the Bordeaux region of France and the Rioja region of Spain, but the wines are far more diverse. There is no one grape or varietal that the Guadalupe Valley is known for. Every vineyard is different, making them all the more interesting to visit. In the past few years, the number of wineries in the Guadalupe Valley has continued to multiply. There are now over 100, each one unique, in this 35 square mile region.
With wine comes great food, and the Guadalupe Valley has plenty. The region boasts many top tier restaurants that pride themselves on sourcing all ingredients locally. From traditional Mexican food to modern and innovative cuisine, you can find it in the Guadalupe Valley. You can have a breakfast burrito to fuel your morning, local artisan cheese, olive oil, and bread for lunch on the vineyard, followed by spectacular five-course dinner (with a wine pairing, of course) to end the day. Foodies will enjoy a getaway here as much as wine lovers.
There are accommodations for every budget. You can stay in a trendy upscale resort, a charming boutique hotel, a simple and clean budget hotel, or even go glamping (luxurious camping complete with A/C). As the region is slowly making it on tourists’ radars, more hotels are popping up every year. If you’d rather stay on the beach, it’s only a short drive to have it all – sun, sand, and amazing wine in your hand.
The best way to reach the area is by flying into San Diego and driving south. Whether you rent a car or take day trip tour, the time will fly by as you soak in the beautiful coastline views before heading inland into the valley.
The Guadalupe Valley is still considered a hidden gem destination, but it won't be for long. Pack your bags before the secret is out! The only downside to visiting this remarkable wine region is that border control will only allow you to bring back one bottle of wine per person, so choose wisely!