Baja California - Presentation
One region has become the leader in reviving the reputation of Mexican wines, and, perhaps tellingly, it lies just above the 30th parallel. 90% of Mexican quality wine comes from northern Baja California, centering around the city of Ensenada.
The major winegrowing subregions – the Guadalupe, Calafia, San Vincente, and Santo Tomás Valleys – all lie close to the Pacific where they can benefit from the cooling ocean breezes and mists. Hot days and cool nights is a classic winegrowing combination throughout the world, allowing grapes to develop their sugars without a corresponding drop in acidity. All the valleys feature a mix of alluvial soils and decomposed granite.
The Guadalupe Valley and especially its subsidiary the Calafia Valley have become the most well-known appellations so far, although the term “appellation” may be a stretch, as the Mexican government seems even less interested in regulating wine than the Mexicans are in drinking it. Nonetheless, most producers do try to label their wines in accordance with U.S. and European standards to avoid difficulties in the important export market.