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Mexico

The Bounty of Baja: Wine, Food & Local Life in the Guadalupe Valley

Discover the wine industry’s best kept secret in Guadalupe Valley as you learn from world-class winemakers, chefs and artists about their industries and get a taste of their creations.
Program No. 22338RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
2,149
Mexico

The Bounty of Baja: Wine, Food & Local Life in the Guadalupe Valley

Discover the wine industry’s best kept secret in Guadalupe Valley as you learn from world-class winemakers, chefs and artists about their industries and get a taste of their creations.
Length
6 days
Starts at
2,149
Length
6 days
Rating (5)
Starts at
2,149
Program No. 22338RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 19 - Apr 24, 2023
Starting at
2,149
May 3 - May 8, 2023
Starting at
2,149
Sep 6 - Sep 11, 2023
Starting at
2,149
Oct 4 - Oct 9, 2023
Starting at
2,149
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 19 - Apr 24, 2023
Starting at
2,569
May 3 - May 8, 2023
Starting at
2,569
Sep 6 - Sep 11, 2023
Starting at
2,569
Oct 4 - Oct 9, 2023
Starting at
2,569

At a Glance

Forget Napa, Sonoma and Tuscany. There’s a new destination on the enological map — Mexico’s Guadalupe Valley, where tidy rows of vineyards are surrounded by boulder-dotted mountains. Unlike its American and European counterparts, the vineyards in Guadalupe Valley thrive in a special climate resulting in a flavor unlike anywhere else in the world — a hint of saltiness and a little heat. Discover how to distinguish these rare flavors as you venture to vibrant Mexico and escape the California crowds for a less commercial, highly authentic wine experience. Then, take your taste buds to the valley’s unique culinary world as you explore the region’s world-renowned Baja California cuisine through delicious multi-course meals including a cooking class. Learn from seasoned winemakers, chefs and artists who have flocked to Baja and established exuberant wine and culinary industries in the beautiful countryside. What are you waiting for? Vámonos!
Activity Level
Varies by date
Walking up to one mi. per day. During the visits, walks are generally short on even ground; however, longer walks on uneven gravely terrain are required for some visits and meal events. Some stairs are unavoidable, minimum one flight. Standing time 1-2 hours per event. Elevations up to 1,000 ft.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn how to develop your senses to identify unique aromas and flavors for the ultimate wine-tasting experience at several vineyards.
  • Experience a hands-on cooking class with a seasoned chef as he reveals the secrets of this region’s cuisine.
  • Meet famed local artists while learning about their different crafts and how the colorful Mexican culture has influenced their work.

General Notes

This program is limited to 14 participants to allow for visits to exclusive vineyards and restaurants. Road Scholar cannot offer air for this program. Participants have to arrange their own flights as well as transportation to the first hotel in San Diego. The program ends at the Courtyard Marriott with a drop-off at the San Diego Airport on the way.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Veronica (Luka) Rangel
Born in Mexico City, Veronica Luka Rangel adopted Ensenada as her home in 1994 when she settled there to study Oceanography at the State University. Her passion to protect the environment inspired her to continue in university studies as an environmental education teacher. Her enthusiasm has helped fuel the development of remote villages in Baja California, organizing cultural and environmental events, as well as participating in summer programs with the Kumeyaay and Paipai native communities.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Veronica (Luka) Rangel
Veronica (Luka) Rangel View biography
Born in Mexico City, Veronica Luka Rangel adopted Ensenada as her home in 1994 when she settled there to study Oceanography at the State University. Her passion to protect the environment inspired her to continue in university studies as an environmental education teacher. Her enthusiasm has helped fuel the development of remote villages in Baja California, organizing cultural and environmental events, as well as participating in summer programs with the Kumeyaay and Paipai native communities.
Profile Image of Maria Mitrani
Maria Mitrani View biography
Maria Mitrani was born in Italy, then lived in Canada, the United States and France. She finally settled in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where she has been living since 1976 with her husband and three children. She has a bachelor’s in Italian and art history from the University of California at Berkeley. Since 1985 she has led learning adventures through different parts of Mexico and is a specialized guide for Baja California. She is one of the owners and founders of Andiamo.
Profile Image of Esther Mitrani
Esther Mitrani View biography
Esther Mitrani was born in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. She graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, then worked in San Francisco for three years in human resources in high-tech. Missing her home, she return to her native city. Esther has been guiding since 1994, and joined the family business in 2002 as an organizer and tour leader. She is an eager traveler, and she loves sports and languages.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
My Mexico, A Culinary Odyssey with Recipes
by Diana Kennedy
This personal, culinary exploration of the home cooks, local ingredients and traditional recipes of Mexican cuisine was penned by Diana Kennedy, the "Julia Child of Mexican cooking." Includes more than 300 recipes and stories, rolling out the red carpet for travelers and eager gastronomes alike.
The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass
by Jamie Goode
An authority on wine science, Jamie Goode covers scientific developments within the wine world, charting how these changes have affected flavors, grape growing, health benefits and fermentation processes.
Cooking with Baja Magic Dos
by Ann Hazard
A savory cookbook for those who love Mexican cuisine, especially the Baja variety, featuring 255 recipes from the author’s kitchen and acclaimed Baja restaurants.
Not Food for Old Men: Baja California: A Mexican Culinary Adventure
by Giovanni Simeone (Photographer), Anabelle Rosell Aguilar
A photographic tour of Baja California and its often overlooked cuisine, a blend of Mexican and Southwestern traditions and flavors.
Wines of Baja California: Touring and Tasting Mexico's Undiscovered Treasures
by Amey, Ralph L.
An illustrated comprehensive guide to the wineries in Baja California complete with history, winemaker notes and fermentation techniques. Includes an index and general travel information for the region.
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Lecture.Welcome Dinner.
San Diego, California
D
Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Mission Valley/Hotel Circle

Activity note: Independent arrivals to San Diego. Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: After you have your room assignment, see the hotel notice board for the location of our Road Scholar private meeting room where the Orientation Session will take place. 5:00 pm Register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the hotel front desk when you check in. Our Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, answer questions and give us a presentation on the culinary and winemaking industries of Baja California. Then board a motorcoach for the short ride to a local restaurant for dinner. Our knowledgeable Group Leader will also serve as our Study Leader for most field trips and deliver educational content unless specified otherwise. Transportation will be via private motorcoach and Sprinter. For meals that offer a choice of dishes, we will circulate a form in advance to note everyone’s preferences and save time ordering. Meals in wine country are leisurely, restaurants generally open for lunch at 1:30 p.m. and meals can extend to two hours. While in Mexico, purified water will always be available on the motorcoach, at the hotels, and restaurants. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: A two course dinner from a limited menu is served plated. Water and a glass of wine or a non-alcoholic beverage is included; other beverages available for purchase. San Diego is a convenient gathering place to launch our program. The wine, food, and cultural immersion experience will begin as we cross into Mexico on Day 2.

Evening: Return to the hotel and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Information for border crossings. Both a valid passport and a personal permit are required for entry into Mexico. The permit will be issued by the Immigration Bureau upon entering Mexico. Keep the permit with you. The Group Leader will be on hand to assist as needed. You must carry all your belongings across the border when entering Mexico and again when re-entering the United States. When going through Customs into Mexico and returning to the US, as a general rule, no fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats nor plants are allowed. The State of California allows only one liter (one qt) of alcoholic beverages per person over 21 years of age.

DAY
2
Cross the Border & Transfer to Ensenada-MX, Art & Culture
Ensenada, Baja California
B,L,D
Las Rosas Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 90 miles (150 km), approximately 2 hours. Standing and walking at a slow pace for up to 1 hour per activity. Must carry all belongings across the border and walk 200 feet. (60 m) Keep passports on hand for border crossing. No fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats nor plants are permitted into Mexico.

Breakfast: In our meeting room, choose what you like from the breakfast buffet including milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board again the motorcoach and begin the journey south through the most-crossed border in the world, separating the United States and Mexico at San Ysidro. We will get off the bus and walk across the border carrying our belongings as we go through Mexican immigration and customs. You will need to present your passport and complete a form on site to receive the required personal permit. The Group Leader will be on hand to assist as needed. We will visit a gallery displaying works of art representative of the emerging “borderless art” movement. The owner will give us a presentation and discuss the artwork we see as we walk through the gallery.

Lunch: At Caesar’s Restaurant in Tijuana, we’ll have lunch featuring the renowned Caesar Salad plus soup, chicken strips, bread, a soft drink or beer and water; other beverages available for purchase. The story goes that the original salad recipe was concocted in the 1920s with what was on hand for a group of pilots from Rockwell Field outside San Diego. The dish, originally dubbed Aviator Salad, became popular and was soon called Caesar Salad for the restaurant. Part of the appeal was and is having it prepared tableside.

Afternoon: The drive to Ensenada offers magnificent vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Upon arrival, we will check in to our oceanfront hotel— where every room has a balcony with a view — with some time to freshen up and relax. We’ll then ride to Boules, a local garden restaurant. There, in the wine bar, we will participate in a themed wine tasting experience with a local expert to help develop our senses, identify aromas and flavors, and appreciate the wine experience. We’ll also learn about Baja wines, their development, and production.

Dinner: At the restaurant, we’ll dine family style with an assortment of fusion appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and wine or a nonalcoholic drink; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure to relax and enjoy the peaceful oceanfront location.

DAY
3
Meet an Artist, Guadalupe Valley Wineries
Ensenada, Baja California
B,L,D
Las Rosas Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a Sprinter; driving about 40 miles (65 km), approximately 1 hour. Walking approximately 0.5 mile (800 meters); standing approximately 0.5 to 1 hour during field trips; slight uphills.

Breakfast: In the hotel’s panoramic restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with choices including Mexican and international dishes plus orange juice, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: We will spend today getting acquainted with the Guadalupe Valley in the heart of wine country. Amid rolling hills and granite boulders, wineries range from simple working establishments to state of the art industries, often displaying innovative architecture. Sprinkled among them are ranches, orchards, vineyards, artists’ studios, and gourmet restaurants. We will board the Sprinter and ride to the home of an artist. Born into a family of etchers from Mexico City, Guadalupe moved to Ensenada and established a workshop in her home. We will learn about the ancient process of etching and see how the artist develops her works. Several mid-sized wineries producing quality wines dot the north side of Guadalupe Valley. In the first stop, personnel will take us through the winemaking process ending in the tasting room where we will have an opportunity to taste delicious wines accompanied by locally-made cheese. Compare flavors as we taste the wines of an adjacent establishment. The valley was once home to people of diverse heritage including Kumiai Native Indians, Spanish missionaries, and a colony of Molokan Russians. A brief stop at a small museum will acquaint us with this history.

Lunch: We will dine at Finca Altozano in the Guadalupe Valley, a restaurant founded by Javier Placencia considered the innovator of the Baja Californian Cuisine. We will savor the specialties of the day accompanied by wine; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We will then ride to a distinctive winery to see and learn about production processes, flavors, and taste premium wines! Clos de Tres Cantos is unusual. Founded in 2014, it is based on sustainability and recycling with distinctive architecture, a passion for winemaking, and a philosophy of living the good life with respect for Pachamama — a Quechua word for Mother Earth. The owner will lead our exploration as we experience all of these elements that together have created true works of art in both wine and architecture. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to relax and enjoy the view. Or, you might like to step into the jacuzzi overlooking the restless Pacific Ocean.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a 3-course plated dinner ordered from a select menu and served with a nonalcoholic drink; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Santo Tomas Experience and a Blowhole
Ensenada, Baja California
B,L,D
Las Rosas Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a Sprinter; driving about 70 miles (100 km), approximately 2 hours. Walking up to 1 mile; standing up to 1 hour; slightly uphill flat ground.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: Today we will explore shores and valleys south of Ensenada. Boarding the Sprinter, we will ride to Santo Tomas Valley. The winemaking industry in Baja had its roots in the mission of Santo Tomas, founded in the 1770s, that eventually became an established winery in 1888. It is now one of Mexico’s biggest as well as one of the oldest. We will see modern installations, then walk through the vineyards, stopping to taste wine along the way. At the end of our visit we will drive a short distance to a nearby restaurant for lunch.

Lunch: Lunch featuring Mexican cuisine is served family-style with wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Driving on to the coast around Todos Santos Bay, we will have panoramic views of the calm bay contrasting with the turbulent Pacific Ocean. At the tip of the Punta Banda peninsula, we will reach La Bufadora, the famous blowhole. This natural sea spout is the second largest marine geyser in the world. The Group Leader will explain how the action of the waves force water into an underwater crevice, displacing the air with a tremendous roar and creating a spout that shoots water 100 feet high. Returning to Ensenada, we will see more of this city established by the English at the end of the 19th century as a port to serve the booming inland mines. It remains an important harbor for cargo, fishing, and cruise ships. We will drive past historical wooden homes built by the English; walk through the fresh fish and seafood market where live music groups entertain; enter the epic Riviera del Pacifico, a former casino, and hear stories about its glorious past; and admire the artwork of local artists that decorate the plaza of Ensenada’s cultural center. Back at the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free. If you’d like to spend more time in town, it is a 5-minute taxi ride from the hotel.

Dinner: At a fusion restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal featuring a cuisine where Mexican dishes have an Asian touch and are prepared with farm-and-sea-to-table products; a glass of wine or a nonalcoholic beverage included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Relax at the bar or wander along the peaceful oceanfront.

DAY
5
De La Torre Brothers, Ensenada & Guadalupe Valley Continued
Ensenada, Baja California
B,L,D
Las Rosas Hotel & Spa

Activity note: Getting on/off a Sprinter; driving about 40 miles (65 km), approximately 1 hour. Walking up to 1 mile, standing up to 1 hour per activity; uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: We will travel to the home-based studio of the internationally recognized De La Torre brothers in the Guadalupe Valley. Classifying their artistic creations is a challenge. Their arts and crafts works — from glass representations, paintings, metal structures, and ceramics — have been described as a hybrid blend of high and low culture, sacred and profane, esoteric and pop, and even Baroque. Their works have been collected by museums and galleries around the world and featured in a PBS documentary. We will see work being produced at the time of our visit and hear from a member of the family. Back aboard the Sprinter, we will continue our exploration of Guadalupe Valley wineries. There are currently well over 50, from large commercial producers to more makeshift operations. Perched on a hilltop among bugambilias — the Spanish name for bougainvillea — scenic Garza winery holds a privileged position in the valley. We’ll taste wines while taking in the view from the picturesque terrace. Next to Garza, set in a lush garden, Tres Mujeres is a lovely small artisan establishment operated by three women, one of whom is a ceramist. We will step into their tasting room to appreciate the wine as well as the ceramics.

Lunch: At the winery, a simple flavorful country lunch is in an outdoor restaurant under the shade of coastal pines. The three-course meal is prepared by an emerging chef. Wine or a nonalcoholic beverage included; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll have some independent time in the gardens before our return drive to the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: We’ll ride to a restaurant kitchen for a cooking class and join in preparing our 3-course farewell dinner. Our chef will lead us in discovering delicious aspects of recently defined Baja California cuisine. After a brief introduction on the proposed menu, we’ll engage in everything from chopping onions to braising meat, mixing a delicate sauce, or putting finishing touches on the final dish. Artisan beer, wine, and nonalcoholic drinks will accompany the cooking process as well as dinner itself. Then, share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends as we enjoy what we helped prepare.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
Program Concludes, Return to U.S.
San Diego, California
B

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 90 miles (150 km), approximately 2 hours. Must carry all belongings across border and walk up to 1,500 feet (450 m) on smooth sidewalk. standing in line; smooth, flat ground. Keep passports on hand for border crossing. No fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats nor plants are allowed. The State of California allows only one liter (approximately one quart) of alcoholic beverages per person over 21 years of age.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: We will depart Ensenada by motorcoach at 8:00 a.m. and drive back to the Mexico-U.S. border. Crossing back into San Diego, we will drive to San Diego Airport, arriving at approximately 12:00 Noon, then on to the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.