The Guadalupe Wine Country: Baja’s New Napa

Baja is everything and vast swaths of nothing. It’s a unique blend of the past and the present, a perfect reminder that history, in some way or another, repeats itself. We’d heard that the wine region of Guadalupe Valley in Baja, Mexico is a growing hotspot for lovers of rich history, fine wine, posh digs and swanky grub. Naturally, we had to check it out for ourselves. Here are our picks for what to do south of the border:

Make camp in Cuatro Cuatros. And we say “camp” lightly. Wake up in posh glamping tent and stoke the potbelly stove while brewing some coffee. Light out for an early morning hike to soak up breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Breakfast under the shade of the canvas roofed restaurant and have whatever the chef suggests (you won’t be disappointed). Throw on walking shoes and traverse the massive property, making a special detour to check out the old, wooden fishing boats that were marooned among the vines long ago.

Speaking of vines, spend an afternoon sipping wine from 200 year-old vines at La Casa Vieja. Sidle up to the bar and get the full story from the Don himself, Señor Humberto Tosacano. He’ll regale you with stories of the Spanish Jesuits who planted the oldest known grapes in the Americas on this very land. Listen carefully and you may hear the voices of jovial missionaries planting grape clippings in the Mexican sun. Then again, maybe it’s just the organic- and sulfite-free wine talking.

Just down the road you’ll find a much different wine tasting experience at the ultra-modern Encuentro Gualdalupe. Gussy up a tad and indulge in a decadent meal and architectural prowess. Be sure to ask for a peek at the underground cave cellars and boulder garden.

To get your heart-pumping, fly with the crew at Desert Nest Zip Line. Buckle up for a high-wire flight over the beautiful rolling hills of the Guadalupe Valley. Five zip lines at 50mph with a maximum height of 265ft. Ya, you’ll gain a new perspective, alright.

Wind down with a glass of the local nectar while soaking up incredible views at the Finca Altozano farmstead. Shake the hand of celebrated chef Javier Plascencia while marveling at his ranch, restaurant and farm-to-table cuisine. Spend a few hours reminiscing on what you’ve seen and done, the smells you smelled and the sounds you heard. You’ll leave Baja with the ultimate souvenir: Exceeded Expectations.