I’ve been to Baja, Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe wine country 30 or more times, so I thought I knew the area well. Until I stayed overnight at Adobe Guadalupe Vineyard & Inn. While it’s only a two-hour drive SE of San Diego, California, it felt a world away. One-third mile down a narrow dirt road are the gates to 60 acres of sun-dappled splendor.
Owner, Tru Miller, hosted me for a press trip. She and her husband purchased the land in 1997. They were only the sixth winery in the valley. Now there are 152. She was the first to provide overnight accommodations. Six fabulous guest rooms still welcome visitors today!
There are fountains everywhere creating a feel of a grand European estate
Manager Luis Garcia, and the entire staff of 63 are paragons of hospitality and graciousness. The Chef prepares a five course dinner and wine pairing each evening in the formal dining room just off the fountain courtyard. Crystal, silver, and china fill the dimly lighted room which holds 50 people.
The adjacent living room offers post prandial relaxation
One of Miller’s pride and joy is her 26 Azteca horses, a breed she was instrumental in bringing to fruition years ago. They are equal parts Andalucia, Quarter horse, and Criollo — a Spanish Wild Mustang. Today, she breeds her beauties and sells them to people in Mexico, USA, and the Netherlands — her home country.
Marci Plopper — a Canadian trainer — and three ranch hands baby the equine daily. The stables are gorgeous. Each Monday Plopper teaches a riding class to kids with Cerebral Palsy. They range in ages from six months to six years. There is also an opportunity for the general public to meet the horses at the Elegance in the Stable event. White linen clad tables are placed in the stable. Food and a few of the vineyard’s eight wines are served as Plopper presents the horses in the walkway and allows attendees to ask questions. Group sizes can be as small as eight participants, and as many as thirty. The cost is amazingly affordable at $40 per person.
For a more low key afternoon, guests flock to the Adobe Food Truck at the gift shop terrace. Leda Gamboa is a smart, talented chef who turns out local favorites such as duck confit sandwiches, and picosito de lengua de Res y camaron — beef tongue, shrimp, and potatoes with Sauvignon Blanc. On Monday’s, local wine makers come to see what Gamboa’s cookin’.
They also stop by for Adobe Guadalupe’s locally brewed 11% alcohol cerveza, which features a drawing of the Azteca stallion Guillermo II.
So, if you’re heading to Baja, don’t miss this pocket of exclusivity off a dirt road where they make perfection look effortless.
Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards & Inn website: http://bit.ly/2nASgVa