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Ensenada: Wine Capital of Latin America?

Museum of Vine and Wine:  A signature facility for Baja California.

Bottle collection displayed on the first floor of the Museum of Grape and Wine in the Guadalupe Valley.

ENSENADA– Just after two months of opening, it has already received more than 20,000 visitors.

Last Friday, Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón officially inaugurated the Museum of Vine and Wine (Museo de la Vid y el Vino), located in the heart of the Guadalupe Valley, a place dedicated to promoting the region, increasing awareness of the valley’s history within Ensenada and promoting its burgeoning wine industry.

The property, donated by Don Luis Agustín Cetto, extends 2.7 hectares and is adjacent to Highway 3, the Ensenada-Tecate road, so it’s easily accessible to visitors.

The project represents a hugh private and public investment, and it is anticipated that the building itself will become fundamental to helping establish the Ruta del Vino (the Wine Route) as a landmark in Mexico.  Baja California and Ensenada are well on track to being Latin America’s ‘Wine Capital’.

Museum director Gabrial Díaz García de León explained that the property is divided in several areas.

The first floor displays the history, ranging from the first traces of wine in human history to the missions arrival to Baja California. There are also halls dedicated to the “industry, identity and art” of grape and wine in the region.

Inside, there is an important collection of wine bottles and objects used to produce the beverage as well as paintings.

Exhibitions and displays were under the purview of the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC), the only university with an Enology School in all of Mexico.

In the upper area there’s a space available for events with a panoramic view to the Guadalupe Valley.

Architect Eduardo Arjona, from Ensenada, designed the spectacular modern structure that takes advantage of the vistas that surround the museum in all directions…however, the actual construction took nearly a year. The walls are made from local stone cut by craftsmen from the south of Mexico, who lived in the area for four months. More than 300 people worked to create this emblematic edifice that will remain a hallmark of Mexico’s wine country for decades to come.

Díaz García de León defined the museum as “contemporary and self-sufficient.” From bird’s eye view, the structure is shaped like a V, for ‘vid’ and ‘vino’: grapevine and wine, respectively, in Spanish.

For Juan Tintos Funcke, Tourism Secretariat of Baja California, the museum adds another element to Ensenada’s vast tourism resources and it also stands as a source of pride for residents of the area.

 

The Guadalupe Valley produces around 18 million liters of wine a year, 66 percent of which is exported. Nearly 90 percent of the wine produced in the whole country comes from Baja California.

“We needed a place like this where all the history, background and the connection of the wine industry with Baja California’s history could come together” added Funcke.

Besides the historic content, he emphasized that the museum means a new location for conventions, tasting and gastronomic events, all of which will give a boost to the area.

He recalled last year when the Wine Route was awarded as one Mexico’s most important touristic routes, according to W Radio.

In the inauguration ceremony, president Calderón, accompanied by Baja California’s governor, José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, announced a program in support of the wine industry that will have an initial fund of 50 million Mexican pesos (nearly four million dollars) to help local producers in areas like training, investment projects, research and production.

For Luis Agustín Cetto, the arrival of this corner dedicated to history is an insignia that will be the starting point for thousands of visitors.

“There’s finally an icon of the Wine Route,” said the president of the Museum of Grape and Wine Council. “I hope that it will help the grape growing and wine production of the region even more impetus to prosper.”

The Museum of Vine and Wine is open Tuesday-Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm.

This article was submitted by San Diego Red with additional editorial contributions by Baja.com.

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