In El Porvenir just outside of Valle de Guadalupe's charming town of Francisco Zarco, a friendly and outgoing gentleman named Juan Carlos Bravo will greet you warmly and welcome you to his spacious 20 hectare vineyard complete with well-placed vines and many fruit trees.
Born in the beautiful Valle de Guadalupe, JC Bravo and his brother Martin now belong to a "new wave" of local artisans who are handcrafting cheeses, olive oil, sauces, outstanding wines and original art, sculpture and pottery. Together with their contemporaries, they are making a name for Valle de Guadalupe products around the world.
JC Bravo started in the wine business as a supplier of grapes to other wineries. An enthusiastic Ensenada high school teacher who grew grapes on his vineyard as a side business, JC decided to produce his own wine when the demand for his grapes began to fall off. Mentored by local wine wizard Hugo D'Acosta, Bravo learned how to get the most from his soil and to take his grapes all the way through stages of fermentation and aging.
In 2001 he released the first run of his homemade wine, an eye-opening 100% Carignan which is a fruity and intense Rhone varietal and has been likened by wine lovers to an explosion upon the palate. Bravo dry farms his grapes, allowing the natural moisture from the sea air and local rainfall to water the land. Any additional water needs are covered by the use of the well on his property. Similarly, he eschews pesticides by allowing the winds to keep his vines clear of rot.
JC Bravo's wine is aged in barrels of American oak. His finished product is nothing less than excellent, a unique full flavored Carignan known for its aroma of berries, ripe fruit and spices. It pairs well with grilled meat and strong cheeses. He also produces a limited amount of Palomino, a crisp, dry white with hints of pear and citrus. JC Bravo also offers olive oil and orange marmalade for sale at the wine tasting room.
JC speaks some English (his brother speaks even more...) and upon request they will gladly give guests a tour of the vines in the field, sharing with visitors his passion and commitment to winemaking. His winery has also hosted several local artisanal events featuring local food, artwork, live music and (of course) the delicious wines of the Valle de Guadalupe.
Emiliano Zapata #680
In the town of El Porvenir in the Valle de Guadalupe
Sources: The Bravo Brothers, Baja State Tourism Secretary Website, Vino Club SMA, Table Conversation: Ensenada's Cowboy Winemaker, Mexidata