Monday, February 23, 2009

Vinifera (2/2)

Juan Carlos informs me, “after I arrived here I visualized a place where all the wine of Baja California Norte could be presented, displayed and promoted. I want to design activities so my clients can understand all the work and processes that go into creating a bottle of wine.” He also wants to teach people about the realities and difficulties that face winemakers in Mexico. “In Mexico we have prohibitively high taxes on each bottle of wine, serious water quality issues, poor distribution of wine nationality and internationally, and a lack of unity and cooperation among members of the wine industry. These issues need to be addressed so our wine can arrive on the international stage and get the credit and recognition they deserve.” In addition he believes that wine drinking and wine tasting should be a fun and relaxed activity. He remarks, “In Mexico City wine consumption is more of social fad and very pretentious rather than a real exploration of wine. Here in Baja California wine drinkers are more relaxed, casual and into learning about the art of crafting wine. People in this region are exploring the world of wine and are developing a more sophisticated palate, a deeper of understanding of wine in relationship to the diversity of varietals, and the connection between land, weather, style and barrel aging. It’s an exciting time in Mexico’s emerging wine industry and wine culture and I’m happy to be a part of this new phenomena.”

Vinifera is open every day from 11 am to midnight, except on Sundays and Mondays. when they close at 10 p.m. Their kitchen features a small “tapas” menu with selections of local artisan cheeses, ham, olives, bread and olive oils ranging in prices from $5-7 usd. Wine is sold by the glass with fifteen selections available each month from $5-$8-$10 usd. In addition, they sell over 180 wines in the bottle from the wineries and winemakers of Baja California Norte ranging in price from $5 usd to $200 usd. On Friday nights wine enthusiasts are blessed with live jazz and other regional music presentations. Tuesday nights one can experience an international wine tasting event with six weeks of the same varietal for $200 pesos. Or on Thursday nights you can enjoy wine and wine-related movies. Vinifera attracts a good crowd with an international mix of people of all ages and backgrounds. If you’re lucky enough to catch Juan Carlos with a “free minute” he’ll be glad to share his passion and love for Mexican wines with you. He’s busy now, but at least he’s not spending his life stuck in the maze and confusion of traffic in Mexico City, and now he’s doing what he loves to do right here in Ensenada.

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Mexico’s premier wine country where he guides individual and small group wine tours and books lodging. He can be reached at:

Vinifera (1/2)

By Steve Dryden
Baja Wine Country news

Most of the world's wine comes from grapes belonging to the species Vitis vinifera, which originated in the Middle East. Today, these Vinifera grapes flourish in vineyards around the world, including Mexico, and in some cases have been crossbred with species native to North America, chiefly Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia. In addition, Vinifera is the name of Ensenada’s newest Wine Bar and Wine Tasting venue located downtown near Mahi Mahi Restaurant. This noteworthy operation contains over 180 wines from Baja Caliornia Norte and is managed by one of Mexico’s most knowledgeable sommeliers. The next time you’re looking to sample some of Mexico’s premium wines, you might consider a visit and a taste. It’s also a great place to meet interesting people in a fun-filled and relaxed environment.

Juan Carlos Alvarez Sanabria is the manager and partner in this new business with a keen focus of educating and exposing wine lovers to Mexico’s “silent revolution” in creating high-quality wine. Juan Carlos had been working for Santo Tomas winery for several years when he decided to breakaway and form his own business. He tells me. “I just wanted to do what I love to do, in my own way, and share that passion with regional, national and international aficionados of wine.” He was born and raised in Mexico City where he attended some of the best institutions of higher learning. “I love Mexico City, but it was becoming too crowded and congested. For example, I calculated that I was spending a great percentage of my life in traffic, not really getting out there to enjoy the beauty of life as much as I desired.” He moved on to Puerto Vallarta for a brief period where he “enjoyed it very much, the beaches, the weather, it was amazing.” While there he was offered a position with Santo Tomas winery in Ensenada, he eagerly accepted, and made the move to this seaport town about 2.5 years ago. Many of you may have known him as a professional representative of Bodega de Santo Tomas where he appeared at and organized many of the better wine events in the region.

To be continued...

Send wines to Mexico, can you help ?


I live in Illinois and would like to send some wine to my friend in Mexico. He lives in Teocaltiche, Jalisco. Is this possible? Can someone help me ?


Monday, February 09, 2009

Giving Mike Dunne a helpful hand with his questions

Hello winelovers of fine Mexican wines,

I'm a California wine writer who spent several days last week touring Valle de Guadalupe for a feature article on the valley's wineries, vineyards and wines. Through a series of interviews I gathered much helpful information, but some gaps in the data remain and I hope you can help provide the additional facts I need:

1) How many acres in Valle de Guadalupe are planted to wine grapes, and how does the total break down by principal variety?

2) Baja produces how much of Mexico's wine, and how much of that comes from Valle de Guadalupe?

3) How much wine does Mexico produce annually?

4) How much of that is sold and consumed in Mexico and how much is exported to other countries?

5) Could you explain how wine is taxed in Mexico?

6) How much wine can Californians take home from Mexico? How much wine can residents of other states take home from Mexico?

7) What is the annual per-capita consumption of wine in Mexico?

8) What is the annual per-capita consumption of beer in Mexico?

I hope to finish writing this article at the end of this week and would appreciate your response by then. Thank you for your assistance. Please reply by e-mail, given that I am in San Jose del Cabo for the rest of the winter and will not soon return to Sacramento.

Mike Dunne


1316 25th St.
Sacramento, CA 95816-5804

(916) 549-1568

Looking for casa madero wine from coahuila‏


I am trying to find someone who sells this wine in the chicagoland area...any suggestions?


terri von loewe

Seeking a top quality wine importer for Mexico

Dear Sirs,

I am seeking a top quality wine importer (and distributor) for Mexico.

Currently, I represent a small number of premium wineries from Italy and Spain; all of which produce outstanding wines that have international press and recognition as leaders in their regions. Some of these producers have acheived strong sales in Mexico in the recent past. I am a 18-year veteran of the wine industry in the US and would like to establish a long-lasting, professional relationship with the right company.

Do you have any suggestions for companies or individuals that I could contact?

Thank you in advance.

My best regards,
Mark Nevin

Mark L. Nevin
Spartacus Group