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Tijuana’s Ultimate Wine Festival Returns!

Get ready to sip and savor, wine enthusiasts! The third edition of the “Festival Vino sin Fronteras” (Wine Without Borders Festival) is set to take Tijuana by storm on Saturday, June 29th at Club Campestre Tijuana, starting at 3:00 PM. This fantastic event is all about bridging our border with the rich enological and gastronomical offerings of the region, thanks to the efforts of the Comité Provino Baja California. 

Last Wednesday, June 12th, a press conference was held at the CANIRAC Tijuana conference room to unveil all the juicy details of this year’s festival. Attendees included representatives from Provino Baja California, Zaida López Sánchez, President of CANIRAC Tijuana, Dr. Karim Chalita Rodríguez, President of COTUCO Tijuana, and José de Jesús Quiñónez, Deputy Secretary of Tourism of Baja California. 

“The main goal of the event is to continue promoting the culture of wine to the public on both sides of the border, while also serving as a significant promotional platform for enotourism among national visitors and those from Southern California,” emphasized Juan Carlos Ochoa, General Manager of Provino. 

This year, the festival moves to the picturesque Club Campestre Tijuana, providing an ideal atmosphere surrounded by trees to enhance the enogastronomic experience. Attendees will get to enjoy the best from the Valle de Guadalupe and Baja California’s wine valleys, with 45 participating wineries offering tastings and sales of over 100 wine labels, including whites, rosés, reds, and sparkling wines. Additionally, Temecula, CA, will be the guest wine region, featuring prominent wineries such as Doffo Winery, Falkner Winery, Churon Winery, and Oak Mountain Winery, enriching the event’s wine selection. 

Thanks to a partnership with the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Seasoned Food Industry (CANIRAC) of Tijuana, the festival will feature 25 regional restaurants from Tijuana, Ensenada, Valle de Guadalupe, Tecate, and Rosarito. These establishments will offer a variety of gastronomic samples, supported by supplies from Distribuidora La Canasta, and some will also sell dishes. 

The musical lineup is set to entertain with regional talent, including DJ Maury de la Vara spinning retro ’80s tunes, DJ Amy with contemporary electronic sounds, and DJ Winstone closing the night with a tropical set guaranteed to get everyone dancing. The main act will be Astros de Mendoza, a Mexican duo with 12 years of experience, who will delight the crowd with their blend of organic and electronic tropical sounds. 

Tickets are priced at $1,500 MXN per person, including a wine glass and tastings of wine and food (while supplies last). Attendees are encouraged to arrive on time to fully enjoy the enogastronomic and musical experience. The event also has a social impact, as part of the proceeds will support Provino Baja California’s projects benefiting the communities of the wine valleys, such as the reconstruction of San Vicente Park in the Valle de San Vicente, south of Ensenada, where the Antigua Ruta del Vino is located. 

Tickets can be purchased at various Farmacias Roma locations in Rosarito (Giramar Juárez), Tijuana (Paseo Playas, Triángulo de Oro, Campestre, Las Américas, Conquistador, Hipódromo, La Mesa, Tropicana, Plaza Torre Agua Caliente, Zona Río Urbana, Chapultepec, Cuauhtémoc), Mexicali (Justo Sierra, Caballito, Plaza 686), and Ensenada (Parque Revolución).  Online tickets are available here.

We Bring You All the Details About Viñedos en Flor 2024!

Get ready for the vibrant XVIII Fiesta de los Viñedos en Flor, happening this June 8th at the scenic Jardín Decantos in Valle de Guadalupe. Wenceslao Martínez Payán, president of the Comité Provino Baja California, has announced that this charming family-friendly festivity will open its doors free to youngsters under 18, promising an unforgettable day for everyone. This annual gathering, rooted deep in the community for 17 years, primarily aims to fundraise through the sale of wine, food, and art.

Highlighting the event’s charitable spirit, last year’s proceeds went to substantial improvements at the local CBTA number 323 high school, benefiting 150 students. This enhancement included upgraded sports facilities, classroom furnishings, computer equipment, and a nearly completed civic plaza. Despite the fundraising not covering all the costs, Provino members generously filled the financial gap, ensuring the school remained a crucial stepping stone for local youth aiming for higher education.

As for the event itself, adults can enjoy wine tastings for a ticket price of 750 pesos, while children participate for free, without any limit per family. This year expects a turnout of about 200 kids, engaging in various artistic and recreational activities. They’ll get to contribute to a collective mural, fly kites, interact with farm animals, and even try their hand at large-scale painting, with the finished artworks auctioned off at the end of the day.

Foodies are in for a treat as well, with 84 wineries offering over 160 different wine labels to sample. The culinary section, led by chef Miguel Bahena, will feature a Mercadito Campestre showcasing local honey and cheeses, and multiple food stations manned by renowned chefs highlighting local ingredients. The event will also celebrate local cultures with traditional cooks and artisans.

For those interested in diving deeper into sustainable agriculture, don’t miss the Conferencias en Flor on June 7th at CETYS University’s Cevit Auditorium. This free event will feature expert talks on sustainable agriculture, aligning with Provino’s strategic themes.

Tickets are available at the Comité Provino offices, Decantos Vinícola, La Contra, at the door, or online at provinobc.mx. Don’t miss out on this beautiful blend of community, culture, and cuisine at Fiesta de los Viñedos en Flor!

Baja’s Best Shine at Bacchus 2024 as Local Wines Triumph Globally

As the sun sets over the vine-laden landscapes of Baja California, our local vintners have once again proven that when it comes to wine, they’re not just on the map—they’re stars on the global wine chart. The recent Bacchus 2024 in Madrid was not just any event; it was a stage where our Baja wines shone brightly, bagging an impressive slew of medals that have us all brimming with pride—and our glasses brimming with the finest vino!

Bacchus 2024: A Stage for Global Titans

This prestigious international competition, set in the heart of Spain, draws the crème de la crème from the wine world, turning it into a fierce battleground of aromas and bouquets. Over four days, esteemed judges from around the globe sampled wines blind, ensuring only the best of the best prevailed. And prevail, Baja did! Our beloved region outdid itself, smashing previous records and setting a new benchmark for excellence.

The Secret Behind the Success

What makes Baja California’s wines so spectacular? It’s not just the Mediterranean climate or the uniquely suited terrain—it’s the passion and dedication of our local winemakers. From robust reds to crisp whites, our wines reflect a legacy of agricultural excellence and a future filled with promise. This year, Mexican wines, with Baja leading the charge, clinched a total of 56 medals, growing a staggering 47.4% from last year’s haul.

A Cultural and Economic Boon

Each medal is not just a win for the winery but a win for Baja California. These accolades serve as a beacon, drawing wine lovers and tourists alike to our sun-soaked shores, eager to sip on world-class wines. The recognition from Bacchus 2024 reaffirms our place as leaders in the wine industry, promising continued growth and innovation.

The list of medals obtained by the wineries affiliated with Provino is described below:

Special Recognition “Best Wine of Mexico Bacchus 2024”:

  • Roganto: Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Grand Bacchus Gold:

  • Decantos Vinícola: El Peor Vino del Mundo White 2021
  • Roganto: Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Bacchus Gold:

  • Bajalupano: Merlot 2020
  • Bajalupano: Chardonnay 2022
  • Bodegas Domecq: Château Domecq White 2022
  • Bodegas Domecq: Reserva Real Viognier 2022
  • Châteu Camou: El Gran Vino Tinto 2018
  • Concierto Enológico: Allegro 2021
  • Corona del Valle: Tempranillo 2019
  • Finca La Carrodilla: Astra Alba 2020
  • Finca La Carrodilla: Tempranillo 2019
  • Hacienda Guadalupe: Merlot 2020
  • Hilo Negro: Tricot 2023
  • Las Nubes: Stratus 2017
  • Las Nubes: Nebbiolo 2019
  • Lomita: Singular 2016
  • Monte Xanic: Cabernet Sauvignon 2022
  • Monte Xanic: Calixa Blend 2022
  • Monte Xanic: Sauvignon Blanc 2023
  • Roganto: Chardonnay 2023
  • Rolu: Blend 2021

Bacchus Silver:

  • Emevé: Los Nietos 2022
  • Monte Xanic: Cabernet Franc 2022
  • Roganto: Pinot Noir 2022
  • Roganto: Valle Colorado 2018
  • Rolu: Nebbiolo 2021
  • Vinos Martlot: Rey del Valle 2019

Come Join the Fun at the Vineyard Fiesta in Valle de Guadalupe!

Mark your calendars for an unforgettable family-friendly event in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe! The “Fiesta de los Viñedos en Flor” is happening on June 8, 2024, at Jardín Decantos, and it promises to be a day full of sun, fun, and some fine wine.

Imagine a day where you can taste over 160 wine labels from 84 local wineries, munch on gourmet dishes from food stations run by guest chefs under the guidance of the acclaimed Chef Miguel Bahena, and shop for unique regional products at the Mercadito Campestre. All of this is set against the backdrop of large-scale live art creations, with three big paintings being auctioned off right where they’re made!

Kids will have a blast too, with plenty of arts and crafts, kite flying, and even a little farm to explore. Local Baja California tribes will be there as well, showcasing traditional cooking and crafts.

The event runs from 12 PM to 7 PM, and while adults need to grab their tickets for 750 MXN (about $45 at the current exchange rate), kids under 18 can join in for free—just remember, no pets allowed!

For a smooth experience, be sure to bring your QR-coded ticket and ID, and follow all health guidelines to keep everyone safe and happy.

So, bring your family and friends to Jardín Decantos for a delightful day among the vines. It’s not just a wine tasting; it’s a celebration of local culture and community spirit!

Crossing South Wine & Food Festival – Segunda Edicion

BY REN DRAKE HILL

Directly from last year’s “resounding success,” the Crossing South Wine and Food Festival will again adorn the Gardens of the Rosarito Beach Hotel, Saturday, April 20, 3 – 9 pm. Crossing South claims there was an “overwhelming” demand for a second Festival. Jorge Meraz, host of Crossing South on PBS will again be the Host of Honor this year. There will be many photo ops around the festival, so feel free to take some snaps of your favorite chefs, vintners, and the host Jorge, himself. 

Due to this success, the number of restaurants, wineries and entertainers were expanded. Thirteen wineries of the Valle de Guadalupe will join with 25 restaurants and three craft breweries from Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, and points in between. Restaurants will provide tastes of their signature dishes. Now I know you may have a different “signature dish” in your minds, but this will be a chance to sample other great menu items from your favorite bistros. All this while being entertained by many talented musicians and entertainers. There may even be a salsa dancing class, or two.

This year’s Crossing South event promises to be more spectacular. One new touch, to celebrate spring, the Crossing South Wine and Food Fest will be a White Attire Event. (I hope I can still wear my blue Crossing South hat!)

Some of the local restaurants include Marea Alta, Pasta y Basta, Chaubert’s (Rosarito Beach Hotel’s fine dining establishment), Tacos Kokopelli, ad Hacienda de Badu, a favorite of roasted lamb lovers. 

Crossing South on PBS is in its 12th season. New episodes featuring arts, artists, culture, and food, from fine dining to the best in taco stands, will be airing starting this month. If you are unable to catch the episodes as they air on PBS, many episodes are available at the PBS website. Some past shows have highlighted the Blues Against Hunger drive and the Rosarito Club de Ninos y Ninas. 

PBS joins COTUCO and CANIRAC of Rosarito, the ministry of tourism, and the Chamber of Restaurants as co-hosts of this gastronomic event. 

Tickets are available at www.Eventbrite.com, under “events in Mexico.” General admission to this “all you can eat/sip event”: $80; VIP admission $150, or $72 and $145.90 respectively with the 10% discount. Last year this event sold out, so get your tickets pronto. Your attendance doesn’t merely delight your taste buds, but you will be supporting the emergent culinary scene in northern Baja California. 

Crossing South is a “Feel good” show to entice those in the southern US to visit our beautiful Baja, and to remind those of us living here, Tijuana to Ensenada, what a culinary paradise we are living in.

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Paella Competition Tickets Still Available: A Fresh Opportunity Amidst the Stormy Skies!

Hey there, food and wine enthusiasts! Remember that stormy weekend when Hilary decided to rain on our paella parade? Well, guess what? The much-anticipated Paellas Festival is back on track and it’s happening this Sunday, August 27th! 🥘🍷

We know, we know. Some of you had marked your calendars and were all set to indulge in the paella goodness. But Mother Nature had other plans. And while we’re truly bummed that a few of our fellow paella lovers won’t be able to join us this weekend, there’s a silver lining to this cloudy tale.

Our fabulous hosts at Provino, being the absolute gems they are, have graciously refunded the ticket price of 1,450 pesos (that’s about 86 USD for those keeping track) to everyone who requested it. And here’s where it gets exciting: this means there are now available tickets for an event that’s usually sold out a month in advance! So, if you missed out the first time around, this is your unexpected second chance. Grab it while it’s hot (just like the paellas)!

Want in? Hurry over to Provinobc and secure your spot.

Now, let’s talk about what’s in store for you. Imagine this: 84 wineries pouring their finest selections for you to sip and savor. Over 80 paella teams battling it out for the coveted title of “Best Paella of the Event.” And yes, you get to feast on their creations. All of this, set against the backdrop of the stunning Liceaga Winery, with live music serenading you through the day. Sounds dreamy, right?

Here’s the rundown:

  • Event Timing: 12pm to 7pm
  • Place: Viñas de Liceaga, in the San Antonio de las Minas Wine Valley
  • First Paella Serving: 1:30pm (Come hungry!)
  • Bonus: Got kiddos under 12? They get in absolutely free!

So, put on your festive hats, gather your crew, and let’s make this Sunday a day of delicious memories. See you there! 🍷🥘🎶

Provino Offers Seafood Virtual Cooking Class Pack

The Ensenada wineries association, PROVINO A.C., is offering a virtual cooking class with wine and ingredients included this coming Friday, May 28th at 1:00PM (Pacific Time) and 2:00PM (Los Cabos area)

Chefs Mikel Alonso, Solange Muris, Benito Molina and Aquiles Chavez will guide you through the preparation of seashells-based dishes, celebrating together the products of Baja California.

During the virtual session, you will have the opportunity to learn from the experts and have fun cooking recipes where the main ingredients will be sustainably cultivated seashells from the Pacific like oysters, mussels, and clams. You will also have the opportunity to pair your creations with white and rose wines from the Valleys of Ensenada, that were very recently released to the market. The virtual session will be recorder in case you want to view it again anytime.

The cost of the class is $1,400 pesos (about 74 USD) and your experience includes ingredients to prepare the dishes featured in the class, for up to 4 persons:

  • 2 dozen Kumiai Oysters
  • 3 kilos of Mussels
  • 4 kilos of Chione Clams
  • 2 bottles of wine from Baja California

The shipping cost in Baja California is just $200 pesos (about 10.50 USD) and $900 pesos (about 47 USD) to ship it by air to the rest of Mexico.

This seafood class will be a homage to local ingredients and a perfect opportunity to give continuity to the “seashells and new wine” festival that has seen interruptions due to the pandemic.

The class will be offered in Spanish only, so make sure to invite that spanish-speaking friend so he can you help out in the kitchen!

Click here or the image below to go to the registration page.

Local Wines to be Auctioned by Mortons

Mortons Auctions, the most important auction house in Mexico, announced an upcoming auction of wines and liquors this past week. The virtual event will include variety of Mexican wines, from popular labels to collectibles, with a unique selection of wines from Baja California thanks to a partnership with Provino.

The auction will be online and is scheduled for this coming Thursday, September 10 at 4:00PM (local time), 6:00PM (Mexico City time).

Casa de Piedra, Vena Cava, Cava Maciel, Las Nubes, Emeve, Corona del Valle Alximia, Madera 5 and Monte Xanic are some of the wineries that you will be able to find in the catalogue.

The auction is already online on the bidsquare platform, click here to check it out and place a bid.

Sorry US residents; these wines can only be shipped to Mexico addresses.

Paellas Event to Benefit the Recent Fire Victims

In a recent press conference Rubén Barrau, presented us with the “Paellaton” event, organized by business groups CANACO and CANIRAC, in order to provide support to all those who were affected by the recent fires in the region.

This event will present an approximate of 27 restaurants that will be offering paella; with several bands brightening up the event. In addition, assistants will have the opportunity to participate in raffles for free nights at participant hotels.

The cost of the tickets will be $350 MXN (about $19 USD) which will include a plate of paella and a glass of wine, with all the proceeds going to those affected by the recent fires.

Tickets may be purchased the same day of the event at the box office, which will be held this Sunday, November 10, 2019 at the facilities of Riviera, Ensenada Social, Civic and Cultural Center starting at 12:00 pm.

Luis Tirado, president of the National Chamber of Restaurants and Seasoned Foods of Ensenada (CANIRAC), mentioned that some of the restaurants which will be present on the day of the event will be: Agua de Vid, Cantera, Casa Frida, La 4ta, La Cevichería, Mesón de Don Fernando, as well as several wineries and more.

Accountant Marco Estudillo, also an organizer of the event, said that they will be extra careful on the handling of the collected funds, making sure they get where they are needed the most, in the most transparent way possible. All proceeds will be clearly inventoried and channeled to both the firefighters and more than 30 families that lost everything to the fires.

Finally, Jorge Menchaca, president of the National Chamber of Commerce of Ensenada (CANACO), emphasized that the idea of replicating the Paellaton each year could be an alternative to solve community problems from inside the society itself.

Creative Gastronomy Comes to Town

BY DANIELLE WILLIAMS

Tripping at Viaje is what I like to do on a mellow Sunday afternoon on the terrasse of the newer restaurant in town, VIAJE, COCINA DEL MUNDO.  Cool jazz from a 4-piece ensemble, a glass of Chardonnay, and having just polished off an order of enfrijoladas – a sort of chicken crepes in a luscious bean sauce redolent of pasillas chiles – takes me close to Nirvana, or maybe pig’s heaven with an ocean view.

Open with much fanfare in February, Viaje is located midtown Rosarito in the Quinta del Mar complex. You drive through the arch and it is a straight shot around the fountain.

The building had been a restaurant in a former incarnation some 15 years ago when it burned down.  In came Jerome Gombert, a talented and ambitious Frenchman with successful restaurant experience in San Diego (Vagabond in North Park).  He had the vision to turn the structure into the stunning establishment it has become. Assisted by designer Roderick Shade of Architectural Digest fame, he has created an airy, elegant, yet hip space. The design takes advantage of existing exposed structural elements: the cellar, the vintage tile and wide plank wood floor, and wall niches. It has two distinct areas: a refectory style room around an oyster bar with two dozen huge lanterns to offset the bare bone feeling; in sharp contrast you then proceed to an explosion of colors and textures for a 1001-nights feeling provided by kilometers of draped sari fabrics in the two cozy rooms adjoining the patio.

When alone, I sit at the bar for a chat with Jeser, the amiable bartender. As a bonus, it affords a full view of the open kitchen with pedigreed chef, Jonathan  Casas, and his team in action. Everything is prepared to order with mostly local ingredients: organic veggies from the Guadalupe Valley and seafood from Ensenada and San Quintin.

Viaje, meaning “travel” offers a culinary tour of the world with an eclectic selection of French, Peruvian, Moroccan, and Chinese preparations.  I have not tried it all, but the steak tartare is for me a near addiction: chopped to order fresh sirloin with assorted spices. Jonathan’s rendition of bouillabaisse, the French fish soup, is another favorite.  If you are fussy about your oysters, you’ll love these plump, sweet on the shell – the best anywhere.  My companions have raved about the various ceviches which  I have not tried yet, but looked like works of art.

Several times, the attendance was minimal making me think that Viaje has not yet appeared on everyone’s radar.  I have heard that some folks are intimidated by the exotic touch and fear high prices. In reality, the prices are reasonable and the place is unpretentious as is Jerome whose hospitality makes you feel at home. As of this writing, there is a happy hour from 5-7 on weekdays with music on Friday. Try it, enjoy it, and why not toss a coin in the fountain on your way out.