Ivette Vaillard, Eva Cotero Altamirano and Laura McGregor Garcia met while learning about wine production at Hugo D'Acosta's acclaimed wine school (affectionately called "La Escuelita") yet these women would never have guessed that just a few years later they would be working together to run one of Valle de Guadalupe's most popular artisanal wineries.
Indeed, their Tres Mujeres winery evolved very naturally when the three ladies met at Ivette's family ranch to discuss their own personal experiments in winemaking. At first, Ivette (an oceanographer and ceramist) simply offered her friends a place to store their barrels. Eva, a scientist/photographer and Laura, a business administrator, gladly agreed.
The rest took shape slowly, as the three women decided to form a cooperative called La Minicol where local artisanal wine producers - mainly women - could share their winemaking experiences and go in together on the purchase of major equipment... and then later began to sell their own wines to visitors who would stop by Ivette's beautiful Valle de Guadalupe property which includes a variety of mature fruit trees, a family garden and even a "poultry house".
After several years of operating out of an old house, the ladies invested in new equipment, a large environmentally-friendly work area designed by architect Pedro Camarena and a bigger wine cellar. Thanks to a slow but steady expansion, these talented women are now producing over 4000 bottles sold directly to the many visitors who arrive at their winery each week to take a tour or experience a tasting, inspired mainly by word of mouth and the recommendation of friends.
Preferring to stay away from complex distribution systems Ivette, Eva and Laura envision steady future growth based on their reputation for excellence. They like to keep personal contact with their clientele, and to learn first hand how their wines are received.
All Tres Mujeres wines are hand-crafted... with individual bottles signed by the winemakers themselves. Each woman brings a unique craft and style to the collective, offering wines for purchase that represent her personal investment, passion and effort.
Ivette creates fresh, fruity, drinkable wines. Working with beloved Grenache vines that are over 30 years old, she produces vintage wines blending either Cabernet Sauvignon or Terrazas with Grenache. She has also created a memorable combination of Zinfandel, Mision and Rosa del Peru.
Eva's Merlot called "Isme" has developed a serious following among wine lovers, and reflects her devotion to experimenting with the best quality fruit and yeasts. She currently ages her wines for twelve months, which has been successful. Eva also works with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and 100% Tempranillo (a lovely wine called Besod'Eva).
Laura McGregor Garcia feels intensely compelled to create the finest possible wines and has continued her winemaking education at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in Ensenada to further develop her own skills and understanding of chemistry. She currently offers a sensational Tempranillo and a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon considered so good it has been called a 'steal' at $20USD by Mexican wine expert Steve Dryden. Laura plans to grow other varietals on her own land in the future, including Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc.
Tres Mujeres wines are stored underground in French and American oak barrels in the winery's new, expanded cava. Happily the original Tres Mujeres wine cellar has been converted into a charming and rustic tasting room. Tastings last for approximately twenty minutes and give visitors a sample of each of the reasonably priced wines sold at the winery.
Tres Mujeres also offers a nice variety of other hand-crafted artisanal products for sale including olive oil and olives, homemade sauces, jams and even beautiful hand-made tiles. Also on display for sale are the striking ceramic works of artist Eduardo Beadle.
Located along the "Ruta del Vino" near Mogor-Badan, Tres Mujeres is one winery that travelers will surely want to visit.
Km. 87 Highway 3 Tecate-Ensenada
San Antonio de las Minas
Sources: Ivette from Tres Mujeres, Discover Baja California, Baja Wine and Cuisine, Mexidata La Ventana Ensenada Vino Club