BAJA UNCORKED 2017

Valle Wine Life had the opportunity to enjoy two and a half days with our friends and a few of our partner wineries during the 2017 Baja Uncorked conference. Baja Uncorked is an annual event that was founded by two wine distributors (LMA Wines and La Competencia Imports) who carry a wide range of Mexican labels.

Baja Uncorked was organized as a special event for wine professionals from the United States to experience the Valle de Guadalupe region first-hand. Open to wine buyers, wine retailers, sommeliers and press, Baja Uncorked presented a unique opportunity for the presentation of Valle de Guadalupe wines to a large group of buyers and influencers.

SUNDAY JUNE 25

6:00 - 9:00 WELCOME RECEPTION AT MONTE XANIC

The Baja Uncorked experience started with a beautiful welcome reception at Monte Xanic. It was a pleasure to see so many wineries in one location. Wine was poured and new friendships were started. We enjoyed tastings from 37 wineries, bread and cheese as well as a seemingly endless supply of ceviche and fish tacos. As the evening progressed, attendees were treated to a beautiful sunset from our hillside location. The conclusion of the evening came too soon for some but rest was required as we had two activity filled days ahead of us.

MONDAY JUNE 26

10:00 - 12:00 HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY OF BAJA CALIFORNIA AT CASA MAGONI

Monday morning started with an excellent selection of guest speakers. The event Moderator was the wonderfully informative Pedro Poncelis (D'Poncelis), The first presentation was from valley icon Camilo Magoni (Casa Magoni). Additional presentations were given by Santiago Cosio Pando (Santo Tomas) and Fernando Martain (Cavas Valmar) both notable figures in the Mexican wine industry. At the conclusion of the event guests were invited to taste a variety of Nebbiolo wines from the valley.

12:30 - 2:30 LUNCH AND TASTINGS AT EMEVE

Our day continued with lunch at Emeve. I greatly enjoyed the vegetarian crostini and it paired well with several of the wines that were being served. After lunch, attendees were treated to a tour of the VIP room at the winery. Tastings consisted of monovarietal rose and and white wines.

3:00 - 4:30 TASTINGS AT EL CIELO VILLAS

At the conclusion of lunch we moved onto another tasting at the beautiful villas at El Cielo. Owner Gustavo Ortega and his lovely wife were wonderful hosts. Upon arrival guests were offered a cold towel (to fend off the increasing heat of the day) and were provided with water, soda, coffee and other offerings. El Cielo has completed two villas which are available to rent for those who may be seeking a more elevated accommodation here in Valle de Guadalupe. Tastings consisted of red monovarietals with a Italian, Spanish or Croatian grape. 

5:00 - 6:30 TASTINGS AT VINAS DE LA ERRE

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The fourth stop of the day was at Vinas de la ERRE which has an expansive view over both their vineyard and the valley beyond. Guests were provided with embroidered hats bearing the logo of the winery. Tastings consisted of monovarietal Cabernet Sauvignon that were produced in different valleys in the Ensenada region. It was truly interesting to taste the differences in the terroir from valleys such as Santo Tomas, San Vicente and Ojos Negros.

7:00 - 10:00 TASTINGS AND TAQUIZA DINNER AT CAVA MACIEL

The fifth and final stop on Monday led us to Cava Maciel. Owner Jorge Maciel provided a taco bar consisting of animals that were cooked whole over hot embers. Each guest was provided with two pork tacos and one lamb taco, beans and potato salad. Guests were once again treated to an amazing sunset from Jorge's property. Tastings for the evening consisted of Rhone and Bordeaux style wines as well as oaked Chardonnay.

TUESDAY JUNE 27

10:00 - 12:30 FOREIGNERS PRODUCING WINE IN BAJA CALIFORNIA SEMINAR AT ENTRE SANTOS / SANTO TOMAS

Tuesday morning started with a presentation by several speakers on the subject of foreigners doing business in the Mexican wine industry. Once again the event MC was Pedro Poncelis. The first speaker was Victor Segura (Las Nubes) who provided information on several foreigners who were not in attendance. Second speaker of the morning was Phil Gregory (Vena Cava) who was one of the first foreigners to open a winery in Valle de Guadalupe. Third to speak was Kris Magnussen Shute (Lechuza) who discussed her role as an American winemaker in Mexico. Last to speak was Lourdes "LuLu" Martinez Ojeda (Henri Lurton) who discussed her background in French winemaking and the direction of the Henri Lurton wines. After the presentation the attendees were invited to try a selection of pre-launch wines.

1:00 - 2:30 LUNCH AND TASTINGS AT RELIEVE WINERY

Our second location of the day was Relieve. We enjoyed a great preview of the new winery being constructed while drinking a glass of cold white wine. We are excited for this winery to open later this year. It is a massive project and it will undoubtedly be a great addition to Valle de Guadalupe. After the tour, guests walked to the on-site restaurant Mixtura where lunch was served. We spent the better part of two hours eating and tasting both red and white blends.

3:00 - 5:00 TASTINGS AT CASA DE PIEDRA

Sadly, my phones battery died while I was at lunch. This necessitated a quick trip home to get my phones charging cable. Because of the side trip, I was a few minutes late to our third stop at Casa de Piedra. Walking up the hill to the event site, I encountered a group of winemakers sitting under the shade of an olive tree drinking beer. They kindly offered me a can of beer. Although I appreciated their generosity, I stated to the group that we were in-fact promoting the wine industry. My comment was quickly answered with "It takes a lot of beer to make good wine". This type of logic is what makes Valle de Guadalupe so special for me!

At the top of the hill attendees were busy tasting classic blends. Thankfully, Petra from Casa de Piedra, was serving the house sparkling wine. It was perfect for such a hot afternoon. After a few sips I joined my friend Ernesto and several guests who were enjoying a late afternoon siesta in the very comfortable chairs made from recycled wine barrels. After brief but relaxing break we were headed to our final stop of the day.

5:30 - 10:00 DINNER AND TASTINGS AT CORONA DEL VALLE

Our final stop of the day and the event was at the family friendly Corona del Valle. Guests spent an hour tasting Baja Unique Blends. Winemakers were given the opportunity to showcase blends that are unique to this region. A wonderful coopering demonstration on how wine barrels are produced was offered for the attendees. 

After the wine tasting period, guests were invited to dinner at Corona del Valle's new indoor restaurant. A four-course dinner was served, speeches were given and thanks were extended to those who organized the event. After dinner wine flowed non-stop for all of those still standing. It was an exciting end to a great event. 

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For those who have an interest in learning more about Baja Uncorked or purchasing Mexican wine in the United States you may contact the event organizers directly.

LMA Wines - Michelle Martain - mmartain@lmawines.com

La Competencia Imports - Tom Bracamontes - tomas@lacompetenciaimports.com