Ensenada’s New Wine & Seafood Festival: This year’s event was a great kick-off to the wine season!
Over the past 15 years, the greater Ensenada area has distinguished itself as a haven for both seafood gourmets and lovers of fine wines. In fact, it has garnered so much attention in this regard that heavy hitters like the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain, prominent restaurateur and television chef, Rick Bayless and even Food & Wine writers for the New York Times have begun to take notice.
Of course, many are familiar with the yearly Fiestas de la Vendimia, which takes place in late summer focuses primarily on the wonderful wines produced in the valleys of Guadalupe and San Antonio de las Minas. Nonetheless another prominent wine event, put on by Provino which sponsors the official Fiestas del la Vendimia event, is the annual Conchas y Vino (New Wine & Seafood) festival that is usually held in late April. This program goes one step further by celebrating the pairing of young local wines with a selection of some of the delightfully fresh shellfish that is grown or harvested in the region.
Commercial fishing has always been a staple of Ensenada’s economy; but more recently, viable aquaculture operations have begun to emerge along the Pacific coast of Baja Norte that have become a major resource for markets on both side of the border. Just to the south, the waters of Bahia San Quintin have even been certified by the USDA as being fit for shellfish production. These days a wide variety of seafood favorites, including various clams, mussels, oysters and even abalone are grown in this rich, natural environment.
The popular event is held bayside, adjacent to the well appointed Hotel Coral & Marina, and draws a host of both local and visiting attendees that revel in sampling an ongoing assortment of often exotic seafood preparations washed down with sips of wine produced by numerous nearby vineyards.
One of the nicer aspects of having rows of individual restaurants, wineries and seafood operations available for perusal is having the rare opportunity to actually chat directly with the very people who produce and work intimately with all of the products being sampled during the festival.
Needless to say, an ambitious event of this nature requires an incredible amount of work and planning by both organizers and vendors; but the end result of introducing or reacquainting those who attend the festival with the plethora of great wines, foods and restaurants that are available in the Ensenada area on a year round basis is certainly well worth the effort.
Ensenada’s New Wine & Seafood Festival is the first of many events that will be occurring in this region. Find out where to stay in Ensenada, when you visit!
Hooked on Baja author & columnist Tom Gatch is one of Baja’s foremost writers with a focus upon outdoor and recreational topics in Baja and Southern California.
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