Wine tasting in Guadalupe Valley is a delight! I had no idea there was a unique and beautiful wine lover’s nirvana just two hours south of San Diego the first time we went five years or so ago. Wondering about the best Valle de Guadalupe wineries? There are more than 120 wineries in the valley today…I’ll share some highlights!
- Best Wineries in Valle de Guadalupe
- Day 2: Valle de Guadalupe Wineries
- Day 3: More of the Best Wineries in Valle de Guadalupe
- Sol y Barro
- Is Mexico Safe? Tips for First Timers
- However, “La Mordida” is a thing.
- Get Mexico car insurance.
- Get international service for your cell phone.
- Carry some cash but not too much.
- How to Cross the Mexico Border from San Diego
- Driving in Valle de Guadalupe
- Weather in Valle de Guadalupe and When to Visit
- Bringing Wine Back from Mexico
Best Wineries in Valle de Guadalupe
The Valle de Guadalupe vineyards are what I imagine Napa Valley to have been like if I’d only discovered this area 50 years earlier.
Wine country in Baja, Mexico is an incredible study in contrasts: lonely dirt roads filled with potholes that open up onto sleek wineries and world-class restaurants.
While wineries in Guadalupe have been operating here for decades, the quality of those Guadalupe Valley wines has only been drawing visitors across the border over the past 15 years or so.
In fact, as a San Diego native, it wasn’t until 2018 that I heard from friends who had been.
With a long weekend in Mexican wine country, I recommend you spend part of your first day in coastal Puerto Nuevo if you’re driving from San Diego and then two days wine tasting. Here’s the suggested plan below…
Day 1: On the Way to Valle de Guadalupe Wineries
Before my spa day at Rancho la Puerta near Tecate in January 2018, I bet it had been 10 years since I was in Mexico. What a mistake!
And why not begin with an afternoon on Baja’s peaceful turquoise coast? Try a Mexican cocktail.
(With less time, skip directly to wine tasting on Day 2 below. Also, see “Is Mexico Safe?” last updated May 2023 below.)
Your day trip to the beach is conveniently on the way to Valle de Guadalupe if you take the more scenic (and slightly longer) coastal toll road south of the San Ysidro border at Tijuana.
This road even skirts most of Tijuana as it heads down the coast, before eventually turning east into the valley.
(Plan on several tolls—approximately $2USD each—so bring cash that you can toss into the rather unofficial looking toll both operator’s bucket.)
Lunch at Villa Ortega or Surf Taco
If you leave San Diego mid-morning, you’ll arrive at Surf Taco right at lunchtime for a few of the more memorable tacos you’ll ever encounter.
Surf Taco is located just south of Rosarito (but before Puerto Nuevo) at mile marker 38, almost exactly opposite a “you-can’t-miss-it” statue of Jesus Christ silhouetting the sky along the toll road.
Surf Tacos has done a brisk business for years, catering to Americans who frequent the popular surf break here. Just join the line out front, order whatever’s on offer, and prepare for a feast!
Or…stop for lunch in Puerto Nuevo, just a 20-minute drive south of Rosarito on the coast and well before Ensenada. I highly recommend Villa Ortega’s.
For under $25, you can enjoy a feast of lobster, beans, rice, incredible chicken tortilla soup and a margarita while watching the waves. However, don’t be confused by other restaurants with the same name.
In fact, you’ll want to ignore the compelling kids trying to wave you into an expensive parking spot as you make your way to the end of the street (Barracuda) where the restaurant is located. Head into the free parking lot for patrons there!
Hit the Beach
The Baja coastline is practically pristine and free of development when compared to the Southern California coast.
You’ll spy the well-known Rosarito Beach Hotel, but after that, there’s not a lot cluttering the coastline towards Ensenada.
So choose your beach! If you stay north of Ensenada, you won’t have to do any backtracking later when you head towards Valle de Guadalupe. Rosarito beaches are well-loved and clean.
Sunset Drinks at Poco Cielo
Poco Cielo is a funky little beach hotel with a great restaurant right on the coast. When the proprietor asks if you’d like a tour of the room, humor him!
While we haven’t stayed here, we were impressed by the looks of the fancy master suite…featuring a king bed and a massive private terrace overlooking the beach.
Take a seat on the outside terrace with 180-degree scenic coastal views. Fortify yourself with a drink and a snack but save your appetite for dinner in Valle de Guadalupe!
If you’re not spending the night, then it’s time to head to Mexico’s wine country! Take Highway 1 to Highway 3..it’s about a 40-minute drive from here through some steep canyons.
Don’t want to drive? Book a wine tour.
If you’re willing to give up some flexibility on your wine tasting in Valle de Guadalupe, consider booking a wine tour.
From San Diego: This one includes a guided tasting at three wineries and a hacienda-style lunch with pick up at your hotel in San Diego.
Check price and availability on the wine tour from San Diego here.
Staying in Ensenada? Book this one.
Staying in Valle de Guadalupe: If you love the idea of a private tour that includes top wineries and lunch without driving, book this one.
Check price and availability on the private wine tasting tour here.
Dinner at Restaurante Laja in Valle de Guadalupe
The foodie scene in Valle de Guadalupe is hot, hot, hot! And one of the most magical gastronomical experiences to be had here is at the impressive Restaurante Laja.
But make a reservation well in advance! And don’t be late or you risk having your table given away.
While it’s definitely a splurge, the four-course menu with wine pairings we enjoyed was worth every peso.
You’ll have a classic Valle experience driving here…down a bumpy little dirt road that seems to go nowhere.
But just when you’re sure you’re lost, the cute little house that is Restaurante Laja will appear, set back from the road.
The service was excellent here. Steve and I shared both menu options and their wine pairings, allowing us to taste eight dishes and wines!
Think beef ribs tortellini stewing in a pungent broth and confit piglet with black salsify and parsnip. The Torreja cake with fig leaves and ice cream was a caramelized confection to die for!
Where to Stay in Valle de Guadalupe
My top two recommendations are:
1. Casa Mazahua—This is a beautiful cozy cottage nestled in among the vineyards. It includes a private pool, flat screen TV, and even a volleyball court!
You can check price and availability for this stay here.
2. Casa Mayoral Bed and Breakfast—We’ve stayed at Casa Mayoral three times—last time in May 2023—and can’t say enough good things. It’s centrally located in the valley and you will feel so warmly welcomed.
Adriana, who runs Casa Mayoral with her German husband, was raised here. Her family began planting trees on the property way back in the 1970’s.
Today, you can see her family’s reverence for nature and dedication to preserving the planet reflected in eco-friendly principles on the property like gray water management, minimal use of plastic, and use of biodegradable products.
Check prices and availability for Casa Mayoral here.
A full Mexican breakfast is included in your stay. (We enjoyed an incredible omelet of rajas—mild sautéed poblano peppers in cream— with refried beans and fruit one morning. Zucchini quesadillas with optional bacon or chorizo another time.)
Staff is mostly bilingual. Stay weekdays for reduced rates. Wifi is spotty as it is throughout the valley.
Also, pets are welcome here. When Adriana’s adorable cat Cranky chose my lap one morning at breakfast and I mentioned missing my kitties at home, she offered to let her spend the night with us!
Cranky was the best guest ever (and not at all cranky). What could be better than a B&B that comes with a cat?
On our most recent visit, we fed carrots to the two donkeys Adriana rescued during the pandemic. Mama was slated for slaughter but also pregnant. Now she and her adorable donkey son live at Casa Mayoral!
Looking for a detailed list of accommodation options in the valley? Read more on the best hotels and vacation rentals in Valle de Guadalupe here.
Day 2: Valle de Guadalupe Wineries
Ready to taste? Read on for the best of Valle de Guadalupe.
As noted earlier, the valley’s Ruta del Vino includes more than 75 wineries, mostly clustered within a 20-minute drive of each other in Valle de Guadalupe.
The valley’s hot dry summers and breezy evenings deliver a Mediterranean style microclimate that’s ideal for winemaking. Most wineries open by 11 am and close by 4 or 5 pm.
There are just a handful of large wine producers that make up about 80 percent of Mexico’s wine production. The rest are boutique wineries that offer some noteworthy tasting experiences.
Vintners are growing an impressive number of varieties here. They range from cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo to chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Quality varies.
But one thing is unmistakable: This is a winemaking region on the rise!
We were struck by the number of sweeping vineyards with tiny saplings and the number of beautifully constructed new gates along the Ruta del Vino as we entered the valley…some with mere suggestions of frames for future buildings behind them.
Or no building at all yet. Make no mistake: Valle de Guadalupe is doubling down on its future as a respected wine region. More wineries are on their way…
Expect to pay about $10 to $35 USD per tasting, although prices vary by Baja winery.
Also, it pays to have a plan for wine tasting ahead of time so you’re not overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. Here are my suggestions to get you started:
Bodegas Magoni is a family-owned Mexico winery that made wines for private consumption up until 2013 when it opened up to the public.
In addition to wines being bottled now, Magoni is working on 70 experimental varieties in their vineyards.
They were tasting Manaz (a white wine named after an area of Valle de Guadalupe where the grapes are grown), chardonnay, Sangiovese and Origen (a red Tuscan varietal) on the day we were there. Merlot and Nebbiolo are also bottled.
You can even buy house-made balsamic vinegar and olive oil here!
With shady old trees and sweeping valley views, the grounds of Bodegas Magoni would make the perfect place for a picnic or gathering with friends.
Sitting high on a hill with a clean ascetic and a modern vibe, Monte Xanic is one of the larger, more established Mexico wineries in the valley.
In fact, it celebrated its 30 year anniversary of winemaking last year. (The oldest vines are 65 years old!)
In short, it’s one of the top wineries in Valle de Guadalupe. And that’s why you need a reservation to get in here!
I’m serious…the security guard won’t let you in unless you’re on the list! So do this a week ahead of your trip or they’ll likely be all booked up…
Rumor has it that Monte Xanic used to be Party Central and things got a little out of control. So now there is a reservation system.
Why bother, you ask, when reservations aren’t necessary for most of the wineries in the valley? For access to top wines, of course!
We enjoyed a glass of Monte Xanic’s 2017 late harvest Chenin blanc at our lovely dinner at Laja and promptly set out to hoard a few bottles at home…to no avail. I’m not even much of a dessert wine drinker, but I can’t get this wine out of my mind!
When we finally managed a reservation, I was so disappointed to learn they’d sold out of it! Sold it by the cases, they informed me.
We last tasted here in May 2023: a chardonnay, a rosé, and two cabernet sauvignon. The 2021 Malbec/Merlot/Cab blend was our clear favorite!
Lunch at the Troika Food Truck!
Who would guess that along another one of those crazy pothole-ridden dirt roads in the valley lies a gourmet food truck experience?
Troika appears like an oasis…complete with ducks in a pond, rising up out of the stark chaparral.
So place your order at the bar, have a seat at the shaded picnic tables and prepare for a gourmet meal or snack. Grilled Kumai oysters or marinated shrimp tacos anyone?
Or perhaps a charcuterie board with a side of grilled vegetables? The sky’s the limit here…and it’s not even pricey.
Vena Cava Winery
How convenient that hip little Vena Cava is just a few footsteps from Troika for you next tasting experience. (From the wine maker: “Just as the vena cava is the main artery to the heart, wine symbolizes that blood.”)
This hip little Mexican winery, designed by an architect, is made from reclaimed fishing boats and other recycled materials.
Inside the cozy cavelike tasting room, you’ll taste a mix of whites, reds, and rosés. Tastings include bread, cheese, olive oil, and lavender honey.
The day we visited, Vena Cava was tasting 11 reds and whites, ranging from cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo to sauvignon blanc and rosé.
2023 Update: I used to love to send readers to Casa Frida. It was just one of those charming, unique places you can’t find anywhere else. But today…ugh! Skip it. It’s become a weird sort of Disneyland experience.
I used to love the hay bales and colorful cushions down by the lake…the gorgeous Frida Kahlo mural in the tasting room, and the Insta-worthy rooftop bar.
But alas…all good things must come to an end. I recommend you give it a miss now. It’s no longer the place I remember.
Casa Frida is one of the few places in Valle de Guadalupe that has music and nightlife after dark and maybe that’s why it’s become so built up and popular.
Or, it could be that it’s now a major bachelorette party destination. Lots of day tours come here from Rosarito Beach.
But I was honestly shocked and depressed at how this place has changed when I visited in May 2023!
The hay bales and relaxed atmosphere have been replaced by lots of new buildings and a massive restaurant with mediocre food.
But the weirdest part is that you’ll need to drop your wallet, phone, and keys in a bowl and then walk through an electronic scanner airport-security style before you retrieve them…even if it’s mid-day and there are virtually no guests here.
I haven’t seen this anywhere else in the valley. It makes me wonder what goes on here after dark!
So, in short, if you’re someone looking for a crazy party atmosphere after dark, maybe Caa Frida is your spot but honestly, Valle de Guadalupe is probably not the best choice anyway for nightlife lovers.
There are so many other wonderful wineries and restaurants worth your precious vacation time here!
Sunset at Cieli
Perched high on a hill, Cieli, on the opposite side of the valley, makes the perfect lookout at sunset.
We’ve been here three times and most recently, had a chance to meet the winemaker who spent an afternoon pouring for us…and also chatting with the executive chef at Laja who was in to buy wine for the restaurant.
You won’t find friendlier hosts anywhere in the valley and this place comes complete with several adorable lap-sitting cats, should you be interested. The owner has also rescued a passel of dogs over the years so if he’s here, you’ll meet all his friendly canines.
(Keep your eye out for Cole Porter, the gray cat!) A complete contrast to Casa Frida, Cieli has a comfortable Old Mexico vibe.
On one visit, we enjoyed a lovely sunset serenade by a talented local guitarist.
And in addition to the wines, you can taste beers here! We recommend beer lovers order a flight of beers here, too. The coffee-flavored Guinness is really unique and flies of the shelves.
Steve’s favorite: Calito’s Squirrel Chaser Oatmeal Stout…although the “Hot Blonde” gets points for the name! Free bread and olive oil are served with tastings.
Dinner at Deckman’s
Deckman’s is a favorite for fine dining in the valley. It’s local, organic, and sustainable fare…artfully prepared.
We finally ate here in 2023 and it was absolutely delicious.
Like the majority of restaurants here, diners eat al fresco…so be sure to bring a sweater or jacket when the warm days turn into cool desert evenings.
It was downright freezing here when we visited in May but they supplied heaters and blankets. If I visited again, I’d request indoor seating.
Deckman’s is a slow food farm-to-table experience at Deckman’s with vegetarian and gluten-free options as well. Reserve ahead as you’ll only be allowed up the long driveway to the restaurant if your name’s on the list!
On a previous visit to Valle de Guadalupe, we dined at another well-known and highly recommended establishment, Finco Altozano, but we didn’t love it.
It’s rare that a restaurant really doesn’t catch our fancy, but we found Finco Altozano’s fare heavy and uninspired. It’s too bad, too, because the prices are great and the evening ambiance was special.
We also loved our dinner at Quercus. The ceviche, in particular, was unusual, beautiful, and delicious!
Day 3: More of the Best Wineries in Valle de Guadalupe
Interested in squeezing in two more tastings before heading home? Here are my top picks:
Sol y Barro
Sol y Barro is a small boutique winery owned by a Swiss-Mexican family and one of the wineries in Guadalupe Valley.
Walk past the colorful facade of Sol y Barro through the sunburst gate and into an intimate tasting room with friendly, welcoming staff.
It’s here that we learned about the delightful concept of “El Pilón” in Mexico…a “little extra,” in case you need an extra few sips to decide which bottle to buy!
The red wines at Sol y Barro were some of the best we sampled during our visit to the valley.
On the day we were there, they were tasting a Nebbiolo, syrah-grenache, tempranillo, and grenache-cabernet. It was hard to choose a winner from the group as they were all excellent!
Decantos, which opened in 2015, has a modern stylish vibe with guests dressed to match.
It’s a clean, contemporary space—all stone and metal—designed by Ensenada architect Juan Ruíz and even comes with a big happy dog, “Wino,” that gallops the winery and grounds to greet new friends. (You can follow him @winothedog on Instagram!)
The winery’s name, Decantos, refers to “decanting” which is appropriate since the owner does no mechanical pumping. It’s all about natural gravity flow here, a natural decanting process that makes for deeper, more flavorful wines.
For $10 USD, you can sample the results for yourself, with a four wine tasting. Of those we sampled, we liked the Syrah best. (But I hear the chardonnay is also a standout!)
Is Mexico Safe? Tips for First Timers
Is Mexico really safe to visit? That’s what every American wants to know.
The answer is that it depends on who you ask, where you go, and if you’re visiting safe tourist destinations during the daytime or visiting sketchy areas late at night.
The short answer if you’re wondering about Valle de Guadalupe safety, is yes. But keep reading…
As is almost always the case, the truth doesn’t always match the sensationalist headlines when it comes to discussing safety in Mexico. (Check out these interesting facts about Mexico.)
However, in November 2018, the US government shut down the San Ysidro Port of Entry for hours in the midst of a scuffle involving tear gas with migrants trying to cross the border.
That made many Americans think twice about crossing the border and tourism plummeted in nearby Rosarito Beach as a result.
There’s also no denying that Tijuana is also a hotbed of crime activity. This is frustrating as I had the most wonderful lunch when we hopped over the border to Tijuana one Sunday afternoon this year.
I admit that the TJ crime stats give me pause. However, I believe Valle de Guadalupe is 100 percent safe and have no reservations about visiting. We’ve visited three times as I mentioned, including in 2023.
And crossing from Tecate is super convenient (see driving directions below) if you’re at all concerned about the coast.…although we visited in December 2019 with our two adult kids and my elderly mom in tow and had a wonderful lunch in Puerto Nuevo before heading to Valle de Guadalupe.
We did this again recently in 2023.
There was no sign of trouble or anything that made us feel unsafe.
In 2019, we did pass a lone military guard with an automatic rifle who waved us on our way as we crossed from the coast towards the valley.
These checkpoint guards are common around the border and should probably make you feel safe rather than threatened. (Last time I was in Paris, I had a similar experience on the Metro.)
However, “La Mordida” is a thing.
La Mordida (“the bite”) is basically the illegal “tax” you pay—i.e. bribe—to crooked police officers who stop you for alleged traffic violations. It’s common.
In fact, it’s been happening everywhere in Mexico for 50 years…and not just to tourists. Locals hate it just as much.
It happened to us for the very first time right before we crossed back into the U.S. literally at the Tecate border, in May 2023.
Here’s what happened: Five minutes from crossing back into the U.S. at the Tecate border, a police officer pulled us over and asked for our car registration, driver’s license, and Mexican insurance…which we handed him.
Remember, it’s illegal to drive in Mexico without Mexican car insurance unless your US insurance company specifically says you’re covered. (More below). So glad we had that.
Next, he told us we’d run a stop sign (not true) which was a “very expensive ticket” at $90. Our choice was to pay it immediately at the police station or he could handle it for us if we preferred to pay him.
The most important thing to know if you ever find yourself in this situation is that you should never offer up the stated “ticket price.” We said we had $30 USD and he said that would be fine. Then we were on our way.
I never felt threatened or unsafe but it was highly annoying. I think $20 is actually the going price to “pay a ticket.”
It’s highly illegal for a Mexican police officer to extract these bribes. So, if you’re feeling brave and indignant and don’t mind the delay, you can just say you’re happy to pay at the station.
Anecdotal reports by people who say they’ve done this find that most officers just let them go as they’re not interested in showing up at the station with a bribed tourist in tow.
Or you could try filming the encounter, which they’re also not interested in having you do.
As for us, we just wanted to get home and so we paid La Mordida. It’s totally up to you. And I’d love to hear your experience in the comments if this has happened to you.
Did this experience deter us from visiting in the future? Definitely not.
You can check the US State Department’s travel advisory for Mexico for updated conditions.
In May 2023, Baja travel was rated as a “reconsider travel” due to crime and kidnapping…in non-touristed areas of Tijuana and Arizona border areas.
Mexico gets a lot of bad U.S. press which creates a lot of anxiety and fear for Americans.
But Mexico is a big country! You can also get in trouble in non-touristed areas of NYC and Paris if you’re engaged in shady dealings late at night.
It’s interesting to me that Americans seem to accept a shocking level of U.S. gun violence as normal—which is absolutely head-scratching to the rest of the world—but are also extremely fearful about Mexico travel.
In short, yes, you could have to pay a bribe for a fictitious traffic ticket in Mexico. It’s frustrating but no, your life is not in danger.
Here are a few more tips to ensure you have a great trip…
Get Mexico car insurance.
As noted earlier, if you’re driving your own car, it’s important to know that your U.S. insurance carrier may not cover you. USAA, for example, covers vehicles just 75 miles over the border.
Valle de Guadalupe is at that very limit. For under $20 USD per day, you can secure adequate coverage from Baja Bound.
It’s easy to buy online just before you go. Keep one copy of your insurance in the glove box and one on your person.
Get international service for your cell phone.
Wifi is spotty and you’ll want to use Google Maps to find wineries easily. The best way to accomplish this is by paying for a daily international plan from your cell phone provider. For $5 USD per day, Verizon provides .5 GB of data. TMobile provides free coverage.
Carry some cash but not too much.
Most wineries and restaurants take credit cards in the valley. There’s likely no need to exchange US dollars for pesos, but you may want some cash as a back-up and to use for tolls to and from the valley.
Also, pack away most of your cash in case you’re stopped…Keep $20 or so in the glovebox for La Mordita in case you need it but definitely don’t let on that you have a lot of cash.
Avoid looking like a flashy tourist.
How to Cross the Mexico Border from San Diego
It’s quick and easy to head south from San Diego to Mexico across the border. Bring your passport!
The trickier part is in returning to the U.S. conveniently and quickly. The San Ysidro Port of Entry at Tijuana is one of the busiest land border crossings in the world, with 70,000 vehicles crossing northbound each day. But you have options!
Use Sentri lanes.
If you live in Southern California and would like to visit Mexico frequently, consider applying for the U.S Customs and Border Patrol’s Trusted Traveler Sentri program as we did.
Essentially, you’ll fill out an online profile, register your car with Sentri and pay a $122 application fee. This entitles you to use designated Sentri lanes when crossing the borders for expedited entry to the United States.
It’s similar to Global Entry, the program for expedited customs into the U.S during international travel through airports.
(A program we highly recommend, by the way, for frequent international travelers. We typically breeze through customs with an automated scan of our passports and skip all the lines.)
You can apply for Global Entry and Sentri together or just add Sentri if you already have Global Entry. Then look for marked Sentri lanes as you approach the border.
Return at odd hours.
On a Sunday afternoon, even with our Sentri pass, we waited 45 minutes in more than 20(!) lanes of Sentri-only cars. The good news is that there are clean restrooms at the border should you need them.
If you don’t have Sentri, you could wait up to six hours to cross the border during prime time (e.g., on a holiday or a Sunday afternoon).
Other times are typically closer to a 60 to 90-minute wait. You can check border wait times here, although it’s not always completely accurate.
Cross at Tecate or Otay Mesa.
Tecate is typically a much faster border crossing for general traffic. On one weekday at 5 pm when I compared delays at the two crossings, San Ysidro showed a 70-minute delay for regular traffic while Tecate showed only a 10-minute delay.
In fact, I used those detailed directions myself on my visit in December 2019 and they were perfect.
If you try to navigate to the Tecate crossing via Google Maps, you’re likely to find yourself exactly at the border with a big barrier that you cannot cross. So use those directions!
Having crossed multiple times through Tijuana and most recently in Tecate, I highly recommend skipping the craziness in Tijuana for a much more straight forward crossing in Tecate.
During my December visit on a Tuesday morning around 11 am, there was just a 30-minute wait for general traffic.
At high traffic times, however, it might be a nightmare since it’s just a few lanes! There are also Sentri lanes available here to make it even speedier for those with Global Entry.
Walking over the border is easy and straightforward. In fact, drivers with Sentry can drop passengers without Global Entry at the border to walk across and pick them up on the other side.
Likewise, if you’re on your own, you can park at the border, walk across and then hail a cab or Uber once in Mexico (less expensive than in the U.S.).
Driving in Valle de Guadalupe
The main highways are wide and clean here, but you’ll be spending a lot of time on small, unpaved roads trekking to wineries and restaurants so plan accordingly.
We managed just fine in our VW Golf, but if we’d had an SUV, I’d have brought it! We missed torrential rains by a day so mud was a major feature and made us wonder about visiting during a rainstorm.
Also, drivers here have an interesting habit of passing on the left when a car is stopped and signaling to make a left turn, which can be a bit unnerving.
To avoid problems making a left turn off the highway when there is no turnout lane, pull off to the right and wait until there are no cars coming in either direction. Then make your turn. Problem solved!
Weather in Valle de Guadalupe and When to Visit
Summers here are hot and dry (with highs in the 80s in spring giving way to high in the 90’s in early summer) so look for properties with air conditioning if you visit then.
all and winter are clear and mostly sunny—with the occasional rain storm, much like San Diego—and crowd-free. I can highly recommend December as a wonderful time to visit.
The valley’s popular wine harvest festival, “Fiestas de la Vendimia”, takes place in Valle de Guadalupe late July to early August.
Lots of special events are planned, but you’ll also pay more for restaurants and lodging and experience bigger crowds.
Bringing Wine Back from Mexico
Wines from Valle de Guadalupe are not widely available in the U.S. so you might be tempted to stock up before heading home.
However, there are a few important things to know. First, wines here are not cheap. Bottles were typically $30 USD or more.
And second, US customs only allows California residents over the age of 21 to bring in two bottles of wine per person duty-free. Beyond that, you’ll need to declare your purchases and plan on taxes and other fees.
However, if you are not a California resident, you are technically allowed to bring back up to five cases of wine.
Just remember…if you have Global Entry or Sentry and don’t follow the rules, you risk a major fine for smuggling and losing your expedited status. Not worth it!
Looking for a particular bottle? Ask at Bodegas de Valle. It’s a centrally located restaurant and massive wine store in the valley all rolled into one.
Pin it for later!