Mexico is one of Latin America's oldest winemaking countries, but grapegrowing there has at times been a bumpy road. Catholic missionaries and conquistadores from Spain began cultivating grapes in the early 1500s, and land grant recipients in the colony were required to plant vines.
Valle de Guadalupe instead of Napa, one of the places that are about to be the next 'it' spots - Jake Kilroy, The Venue Report
The vaulted ceilings of Vena Cava are made out of salvaged discarded boats from a nearby port
Phil Gregory of Vena Cava, have settled in the valley and developed their own wineries together with, in the case of the Gregorys, a boutique hotel, La Villa del Valle, a celebrated restaurant next door and, the accoutrement du jour, a food truck
Designed by Alejandro D’Acosta, the winery has a roof made from old fishing boats, overturned to create domed ceilings
Wine has been produced in Baja since its introduction by the conquistadors in the 16th century.
Gregorys now produce about 36,000 bottles a year, a few even finding their way onto the wine list at Cosme in New York.
El concurso anual fue realizado durante el mes de Febrero con la participación de cientos de vinos de multiples vitivinícolas de México y Estados Unidos.
Here we were, deep in rural western Mexico, about 50 miles from the Pacific, rattling down a profoundly vacant road in an unmarked taxi bound for a restaurant recommended to me by a stranger
We drive a few more minutes, along that paved road, to what looks like a post-apocalyptic Mad Max camp. Roofs are made of upturned boat hulls, walls constructed from different coloured boards, and there's a small, incongruous lake in the middle. We're greeted by a man with flowing white hair and a strong Derby accent. The great winemaker Phil Gregory.
The architecture is just as interesting as the wines at Vena Cava where the tasting room and wine cave are dug out of the earth and feature upside-down vintage wooden fishing boats as the roof. The bold red blends and innovate natural wines make this winery an easy favorite.
Although wine has been made in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe region since the late 1700s, it’s not until the past decade that the world has started paying attention. Now considered one of the hottest wine regions, it’s also one of the fastest growing. With more than 150 boutique wineries, Valle de Guadalupe is often referred to as Mexico’s Napa Valley. But the title is a misnomer for those who truly know and understand the region. Located on the arid Baja California peninsula just 90 minutes south of the U.S./Mexico border, the valley is comprised of dirt roads, small family-owned wineries, and open-air restaurants that lend a rustic charm and distinctly Mexican soul to this unique region.
Wine-tasting trip a stone’s throw from Los Angeles isn’t all that surprising. It’s just that we had driven due south, not north. We were on a design and wine trip in the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s wine country. It’s much closer to LA than Napa Valley, and how this lovely destination had escaped our radar for so long is inexplicable.
The big reds can be wonderful on a cold winter’s evening, but daunting to drink during a long meal in warmer climes such as ours,” says Phil Gregory, owner and winemaker at Vena Cava, which for over 15 years has been one of Valle’s premier organic and natural producers. “I much prefer a more gentle wine. The flavors are still there and can sometimes be better appreciated without so much alcohol.”
Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe is closer to Los Angeles than Napa Valley and is located just 75 miles south of the U.S. border. For decades, the Valle has been overshadowed by America’s West Coast wine destinations, but Mexico’s premier wine region is now garnering international attention for the world-class bottles produced by its 100-plus wineries.
Instead of one or two signature varieties, producers such as Decantos, Monte Xanic, Vena Cava, and Lechuza Vineyard focus on a range of grapes suited to the warm climates of southern Europe. Think: Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Syrah, Vermentino, Viognier, and many more.