Tanama is an ancient word from the language of the Kumiai tribe meaning 'place of fertile land where the water flows and oak trees grow'. This name was chosen by Ricardo Gonzalez for the wines which he produces on approximately 20 beautiful acres just south of Tecate, Baja California. Gonzales selected this name to represent the lush land and rolling fields of grape vines from which he creates three unforgettable wines ~ Californio, GZ and Tanama.
Although Vinos Tanama began formal wine production in 2000, this winery is really the descendant of more than 100 years of wine-making in the Tecate area. Classic varietals including Mision and Rosa de Peru have been grown on this land, along with table grapes, since the time of the Spanish missions.
Jose Gonzalez purchased this gorgeous tract of land south of Tecate in 1945 and began nurturing the Valle Tanama. Son Ricardo inherited the land in 1985. With a keen interest in enhancing the quality of production, Ricardo managed his vineyards with great care and love, continuing to sell their plump and flavorful fruit to prestigious local wineries including Pedro Domecq and L.A. Cetto.
In 1999, Ricardo learned that L.A. Cetto had canceled their contract with his vineyard. With one year to plan the future of his land Ricardo decided that the time was right to create his own boutique label. Under the expert consultation of Camillo Magoni, Ricardo began to convert his vineyards to specialize in classic varieties. He planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Syrah, Petite Verdot, and Nebbiolo vines. Then, with the guidance and assistance of Calvas Valmar owner Fernando Martain, Ricardo embarked upon the exciting process of creating Vinos Tanama.
A decade later, Vinos Tanama is known throughout Baja California as the 'rising star' of Tecate. With a limited annual production which includes 500 cases of GZ (Cabernet Sauvignon), 450 cases of Rosa de Peru and 550 cases of Californio (a Tempranillo-Cabernet blend), Ricardo Gonzalez is able to focus on quality rather than quantity. Aged in French oak barrels, his wines are superb and highly sought-after.
Whether beginning their journey to Vinos Tanama from Tecate or Ensenada, wine enthusiasts will thrill in Valle de Guadalupe's scenic Ruta del Vino and the lovely views throughout Valle Tanama of elegant old vineyards, expansive ranchos and tasteful haciendas. Vinos Tanama welcomes visitors by appointment and offers tours, tastings and even horseback riding. Its serene gardens are also available for private events and wedding ceremonies. The winery is open to the public weekly on Saturday and Sunday between the months of May and September from 10am to 6pm, and by appointment year-round.Updated: May 17, 2011 04:06 PM