The following is a brief overview, with some details, of a two-day, weekend trip in May 2019 of six wine-loving adults from San Diego to Guadalupe Valley for winetasting. We planned the trip's itinerary ourselves by researching wineries, wines, restaurants, Airbnb's and routes on the internet. Three married couples went. The three husbands are partners in home winemaking, so we selected wineries whose wines were highly rated rather than wineries that were highly rated for their facilities, views or food. We only took USDs, not pesos, with us.
We left San Diego about 8:30am in an Uber XL for the border, arriving at PedWest (directly across the street from Outlets at the Border) about 9:00am. We then walked across the border thru PedWest, stopping at Mexican Immigration/Customs Center building to fill out visa forms (we all have Passport cards plus Global Entry cards), then arriving, about 9:30am at a plaza where taxis await passengers. Here we met up with our Mexican driver and his van.
The driver, Antonio Hernandez, and his wife, Rosa, live in Guadalupe Valley. They have started a small Guadalupe Valley tour company with at least two new, very nice vans that we road in; one just right for the six of us, and a second much larger. We found this couple through common friends/acquaintances, and were extremely satisfied with their services. Antonio ferried us around from Saturday morning until Sunday late afternoon when he dropped us off at PedWest. He charged us $70 USD per couple per day, but we paid him $80 USD per couple per day to include tip, so at the end of our trip we six paid him $80 USD X 3 couples X 2 days = $480. I think we gave him $500. It was well worth it. Their email address is Alanantonio08092017@gmail.com, and Antonio's cell phone is 011-52-1-646-144-0374. Our plan was to visit three wineries and two restaurants (lunch & dinner) on Saturday and three wineries and two restaurants (breakfast and lunch) on Sunday.
On Saturday, after being picked up by Antonio in his van, we drove about 35 miles to Gary's La Fonda restaurant on highway 1D, about 3.3 miles south of Campo Lopez. This is an interesting restaurant, with a great ocean view and roosters walking around the tables, in which we enjoyed our lunches and drinks. After lunch, Antonio drove us to Guadalupe Valley, about a 25-mile trip. We stopped first at Tres Valles winery. This is a small winery with a small wine tasting room, but their wines, Assistant winemaker Alejandro and their art creations were great. This was one of our favorite winery of the six that we visited, if not the favorite one. Next, we visited Vinisterra winery that had great wines and vineyard views. We recommend this winery too. Our last winery of the day was Vinas de Garza. This winery and its wines were OK, but we liked the first two much better. I probably would not recommend this place but try another in its place. We then drove to our Airbnb and checked in and rested up a bit before leaving for dinner.
Our Airbnb was a nice, two story house, on a nice piece of property with vineyards, in a gated community. It had two very nice bedrooms and bathrooms downstairs, and some beds (but no bathroom) in the second story loft that we did not like much. It was a "cabana" located in the Ejido el Porvenior section of the Valley, across the street from the restaurant Finca Altozano, and cost us $405.65/night. The owner is Carlos Bernardo, phone 011-52-1-646-226-8616.
Saturday night we ate at Laja restaurant, an outstanding restaurant that we highly recommend. Reservations are probably necessary since it is not large. They have prix fixe ("fixed price") menus, probably different every night. The menus lists eight items, in groups of two, with and without wine pairings. One must choose a four course or eight-course meal, with or without wine pairings with each course. Our menu listed Lettuce salad / Octopus, Bonita fish tartar / Mushroom risotto, Catch of the day / Braised beef, and Coffee panna cotta / pastry. Their price for the four-course meal (which we all had with wine pairings) was 920 pesos, or 1,420 pesos with wine pairings, and for the eight-course meal, 1,350 pesos, or 2,050 pesos with wine. They exchanged at only 17 pesos per USD, so total bill for six of us without tip was 8,583 pesos, or $504.88 USD if US cash were used. I used my credit card that does not charge a currency exchange fee, and exchanged at 19 pesos/USD, so cost was only $451.74 USD before tip. It was expensive, but we all felt it was well worth it, and we hope to return to this restaurant someday. After dinner, we returned to our Airbnb for the night.
Sunday morning Antonio picked us up and drove us to Hacienda Guadalupe restaurant where we had great breakfasts. We next went to the Wine Museum, which we all enjoyed. We also went to the local Russian museum that was OK but not great. I highly recommend Hacienda Guadalupe for breakfast, and a visit to their Wine museum. When we started our trip, we told Antonio where we wanted to go, only allowing him to determine the order. Antonio knows the Guadalupe Valley well, and therefore has his recommendations for wineries and restaurants. If/when we return, we may let Antonio at least propose his favorites to us. On our trip, he especially promoted a winery J.C. Bravo, for their dry-farmed wines, so we decided to visit his recommended winery in lieu of planned L.A. Ceto winery that has high ratings for both wines and winery. L.A. Ceto is a large winery, and we prefer smaller wineries such as J.C. Bravo. We enjoyed this winery; it was OK, not great. We then went to La Lomita and Vino de Piedra wineries, both very nice wineries with great wines. We recommend both of them.
Before heading home, we had lunch at Finca Altozano restaurant. Lunch and the restaurant were great. After lunch, Antonio drove us with some wine that we had purchased at wineries back to PedWest where he dropped us off and we paid him. We walked back thru PedWest, then Ubered home, arriving home about 7:30pm, very tired. It was a great trip that we hope to repeat sometime.