Visitors to the verdant acres of grape vines which surround L.A. Cetto winery in Baja California's Valle de Guadalupe now experience the fruits of founder Don Angelo Cetto's hard work, sacrifice and dreams. Cetto left his native Italy in 1926 and made the long journey to Baja California with the goal of bringing Mediterranean wine production to Mexico's perfect wine growing climate - warm weather, cool nights, consistent marine layer and sandy soil. One could call his impulse the lure of the terrain.
Three generations later, Cetto's desendants proudly operate one of the oldest and most highly respected wineries in all of Mexico. L.A. Cetto (now helmed by Luis Alberto Cetto) produces approximately 1,000,000 cases of wine each year in three facilities and has become the largest wine producer in the country, not to mention one of the largest wineries in all of Latin America. With tasting rooms in multiple cities, the Valle del Guadalupe tasting room is spacious and elegant. Guests sitting at its long bar under a beautiful wooden beam roof look out upon a veritable sea of bottles neatly organized into wooden racks and are served by the friendly winery staff, most of whom speak both Spanish and English fluently.
L.A. Cetto produces an extensive variety of 100% Mexican wines which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, Vinifera wines and Zinfandel. Its exclusive reserves include sparkling Champbrule Brut, Sangiovese, Viognier... even brandy and tequila. Visitors to the winery will enjoy sampling several of these delicious draughts after taking the in-depth bilingual tour of the L.A. Cetto property which includes a behind-the-scenes llook at fermentation, the aging of new wines in French oak barrels and the bottling process. The winery's airplane hangar-sized production facility is beautifully maintained and extremely clean.
While many guests to L.A. Cetto choose to enjoy wine and conversation at the tables on the terrace there is also a popular, breathtakingly beautiful picnic area overlooking the vineyards and valley below. This romantic, picturesque location has surely been the site of many a marriage proposal! Barefooted picnickers sip from their newly acquired cache of bottles, reveling in the typically lovely scenery and weather.
Inspired by the view but forgot your picnic basket? Not a problem, simply visit the winery's boutique store to purchase cheese, crackers and olive oil produced on-site from olive trees that shield the delicate vines from wind. You and your sweetheart can enjoy a sumptuous, spontaneous picnic graced by award winning wines for a very reasonable price.
L.A. Cetto's wines consistently take home top prizes for their excellence. Winemaker Camillo Magoni was actually named "Top Winemaker in the World" in 2004, thanks in part to the wonders he has worked with the Nebbiolo varietal at L.A. Cetto's Valle de Guadalupe property. His Nebbiolo (a grape which he introduced in Mexico!) is known for being silky smooth with a vanilla nose, bright stone-fruit flavors and a balanced finish.
With over eighty years devoted to Baja wine production, the Cetto family continues to embrace and nurture a culture of conviviality in the Valle de Guadalupe. Integrating their passion for wine with a sincere appreciation of food, entertainment and artistry, L.A. Cetto frequently sponsors unique events open to the general public including Festival de la Paella y El Vino, Mariachi Vargas and of course the much beloved annual grape harvest celebration "Fiesta de la Vendimia" which celebrates Valle de Guadalupe's rich, thriving community of winemakers, artisans, artists and enthusiasts.
Whether you are visiting for a taste, a day, a getaway or a fun-filled event, make sure to star this winery on your "Must See" list... it is a true Baja California treasure and wine lover's paradise.
Km. 73.5 Highway 3 Tecate-Ensenada
Valle de Guadalupe
Sources: Alex from L.A. Cetto, L.A. Cetto Website, Examiner: Baja's LA Cetto Winery, Baja Good Life News: Italian Wine in Mexico at L.A. Cetto Winery