Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

One of my favorite getaways is to Valle del Guadalupe in Baja California. I traveled there a few times prior to Covid and finally made it back for a weekend with some girlfriends. We relaxed, we drank wine, and we ate incredible food. Valle de Guadalupe is a great weekend getaway and I wrote some travel tips about getting there, where to stay, where to eat, and where to drink for Wander with Wonder and share them here.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

Weekend trips to wine countries are popular—Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, and Santa Ynez. But in the last ten years, the popularity of Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe has exploded. And it is no surprise! From the food and the wines to the accommodations and the people, nothing will keep you from falling in love with Valle de Guadalupe. Well—maybe the dirt roads with their bumps and dips will be a little off-putting, but they are worth it. A weekend getaway to sample wine in Valle de Guadalupe should be on everyone’s list.

About Valle de Guadalupe

Valle de Guadalupe is in Baja, California, just an hour and a half south of the border in Tijuana. Less than 30 minutes inland from Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe is the main wine region in Baja, California. Vines were first planted in the mid-1800s by Dominican priests, and commercial production of wine began in the 1960s. But, in the last decade, Valle de Guadalupe has grown exponentially. With the growth of wineries, there has been an increase in quality places to stay and dining options from award-winning chefs.

Valle de Guadalupe has so much to offer, so that is where a few friends and I decided to go for a recent weekend getaway. For my friends, it was their first trip to Valle de Guadalupe; for me, it was my fourth trip, but my first time back in four years.

Getting To/From/Around Valle de Guadalupe

Every time I have traveled to Valle de Guadalupe, I have traveled by car. Many ask me if it is safe, and all I can say is that I have never had any trouble. Once you cross the border, you get onto the highway, which takes you out of Tijuana and along the coast to Ensenada, where you head east to the Valle.

I took the train from Los Angeles to San Diego on previous trips and rented a car to drive over the border. But on this recent trip, I took my own car. The reason I wanted to take my own car is so that we could use the Global Entry line when coming back to the US. There is always congestion when crossing the border. And, when crossing back into the US, it can take two hours or more. But if you have Global Entry, and everyone you are traveling with does as well, you can register your car to use the Nexus/Sentri lanes. We could cross the border on our return in under 20 minutes.

Once in Valle de Guadalupe, it is very easy. There are two main paved roads that run parallel on two sides of the Valle. Beyond those roads, most other roads are dirt roads. You must be careful with the unnamed roads that most navigation apps will want to take you on as a “shortcut” between the main roads. These roads can be rocky and bumpy, and if there has been a recent rain, there will be puddles of water. Four-wheel drive cars are ideal, as are higher-bodied cars. But my smaller car was just fine. I had to drive slowly in certain spots but came home with no issues.

Where to Drink Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

In 2006, there were only 25 wineries in Valle de Guadalupe. Today there are 190 wineries. That means that there are many wineries to choose from. On my most recent trip, we visited four wineries.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe


Lechuza Vineyard is a family-owned winery established by the Magnussen family, who is originally from San Diego. They established Lechuza in 2005 and released their first vintage in 2007. The name Lechuza pays homage to a family of Lechuza, the native western burrowing ground owl that lives in the ground and helps regulate vermin that live on their property.

With a sustainable focus, owner and winemaker Kristin Shute makes chardonnay, merlot, tempranillo, nebbiolo, cabernet sauvignon, and blends. Lechuza offers tastings at their tasting room, and reservations are recommended. I was impressed by our hostess’ ability to knowingly talk about the wine-making process.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

Casa Magoni

Camillo Magoni is an icon in the region. Born and raised in Italy, Camillo studied enology in Italy before moving to Mexico in 1965 to work at L.A. Cetto, where he worked for 49 years. In 2021, at the age of 70, he created his own brand Casa Magoni. Camillo works with traditional varieties but also cultivates more than 70 different grapes varietals from around the world in an experimental vineyard. A visit to Casa Magoni is a popular destination, so a reservation is required. They have outdoor seating and live music on weekends.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

Vinos Pijoan

Vino Pijoan is a family business that was started in 2002. Owner and winemaker Pau Pijoan, who is of Spanish heritage, was a veterinarian before becoming a winemaker. This explains all the happy rescue dogs that will greet you at the property. At Vinos Pijoan, their slogan is that they are “honest.” They make wines that express the terroir and do not use any chemicals in the vineyard. A visit to Vinos Pijoan does not require a reservation. They have a small indoor tasting room and a covered patio, where you can taste their wines that range from traditional to pet-nats and carbonic maceration.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

Adobe Guadalupe

Adobe Guadalupe is an elegant six-bedroom hacienda owned by Tru Miller, a Dutch woman who originally built the house for friends to visit. In addition to the guestrooms, they produce wine and breed and ride champion Azteca horses. A visit to Adobe Guadalupe does not require a reservation. But bring your appetite because the Adobe Truck serves tapas that can be enjoyed while tasting the wines.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

There are many more wineries to visit in Valle de Guadalupe. Some are larger and better known, such as Monte Xanic, Baja California’s most award-winning winery. Monte Xanic has a large, modern winery with amazing views, but you must have a reservation to get in here. And there are also small wineries to seek out. After enjoying different bottles of Henri Lurton wines at dinners, they are a winery I plan to seek out for a visit next time.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

A great place to try a large selection of wines from Valle de Guadalupe is Bloodlust Wine Bar, the first and only wine bar in Valle. Bloodlust Wine Bar is surrealist and looks like a head of garlic, although it is supposed to be a wine drop in the middle of the desert. There is indoor and outdoor seating, and Bloodlust Wine Bar offers more than 60 labels of wine from Baja and cocktails. They also have a kitchen serving traditional Baja food using local produce from local farmers.

Where to Eat

The food in Valle de Guadalupe is so good you can spend the whole time eating. From home-cooked breakfasts to award-winning chefs serving fresh seafood and produce, I do not think it is possible to have a bad meal.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe


Javier Plascencia is one of the most respected chefs in Baja. He owns Finca Altozano, and this is where he roasts, smokes, and grills on the outdoor veranda grill. Next door to Finca Altozano is Javier Plascencia’s Animalon, named one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2022. In the spring and summer, the restaurant is located under a 200+-year-old oak tree, and in the winter season, they offer the Animalon Test Kitchen. Animalon offers a tasting menu, but a la carte is also an option.

Weekend Getaway to Sample Wine in Valle de Guadalupe

Lunario Restaurante

It is hard to say that one meal was better than another, but our meal at Lunario was one of the best. To get to the restaurant, you wander down a path through the gardens. Lunario is a small but tranquil restaurant decorated with modern minimalism and mixed with fresh lavish greenery. At the helm is the talented Chef Sheyla Alvarado, who is only 30 years old. Lunario offers a four-course or six-course tasting menu featuring food from the coastline to the land that changes weekly. Each bite of each dish was so extraordinary, and the wine pairing was perfectly on point.