Baja's LA Cetto Winery, worth a visit and good wines too!

Most Southern Californians have never heard of LA Cetto. Nor Baja's Guadalupe Valley. Nor any of the more than 30 wineries located just an hour outside of Ensenada, Mexico. But you should know Cetto and the Valley. Good wines, great views, good food, and it's in Mexico, a world to itself!

LA Cetto (pronounced Chet-toe) is one of Mexico's largest wine producers. Located at the top of the Guadalupe Valley, Cetto has been producing wines (and good ones at that) for almost a century. Wines that are easy to drink, relatively inexpensive to purchase, and have garnered many Gold Medals over the years.

The vineyards surround the producing facility and are nestled in a beautiful location at the top (northeastern end) of the Valley. Up against the foothills, the grapes get traditional warm summer days coupled with a marine layer similar to Napa/Sonoma.

Cetto is popular with both tourists and locals alike. One of the biggest challenges historically confronting Mexican winemakers is that wines have not been a part of the beverage selection in Mexican households. That is rapidly changing. When visiting Cetto as recently as 5 years ago, it was not uncommon to see more Americans in the tasting rooms than Mexican nationals. Now the ratio is more like 5-1 favoring Mexicans (and the non-Mexican numbers have remained fairly constant, despite all the bad press about Mexico). Tastings are for approximately 6 wines and runs about $8.00 USD. Ask to taste their Sparkling wine. At $5.00 USD, it is a steal!

The Cetto tasting room is large and well appointed. The serving staff is mostly bi-lingual and communication, conversation and information is both readily available and good.

Adjacent to the tasting rooms is a large (and very popular) picnic area, frequented by locals and tourists alike. The picnic area overlooks both the vineyards and the valley and is quite picturesque! If you did not bring a picnic, you can purchase cheese, crackers and olives in the tasting room. (Purchase olive oil to take back home with you!!!)

Visitors to Cetto can come south from Tecate's Border crossing point or up from Ensenada. From Tecate it is approximately a 45 minute drive through absolutely gorgeous county. From Ensenada it is approximately 45 minutes from the center of town.

Cruiseline visitors can take a tour booked on the boat or can take a taxi just outside the Cruise terminal gates. Taxis take up to 6 people and usually can be rented for about $60-80 US for a 5-6 hour visit to the wineries.

LA Cetto is definitely worth visiting. With the new passport regulations for foreign travel, visitors need either a passport or passport card to return to the US. These can be obtained at post offices or online by visiting the passport office.

And to answer the question "Is Mexico Safe to visit?". The answer is it is just as safe as any place else. Be careful and remember to take your brain with you when you visit! Have a good trip!