Viñedos en Flor 2013 — the Flowering of the Vines in Mexico’s Wine Country, May 18!
by Carla White
Starting in September, I begin to count the weeks and then the days until this annual celebration, Viñedos en Flor (the Flowering of the Vines), takes place in Mexico’s Wine Country, the enchanting Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada. To me, this event officially kicks off the wine season, heralded by delicate little buds that sprout from newly unfurled leaves and vines rolling across the Guadalupe Valley like a spring-green carpet. There is no more beautiful time to visit the region — and, thanks to the rain this winter, wildflowers, wattles and lavender add vibrant color to the sun-baked hills that frame the valley. In 2013, there will be no better place to experience the abundant bounties of the wine country than at Viñedo Las Nubes (the Las Nubes winery), which is hosting this daytime, family-friendly festival, sponsored by Provino and benefiting the San Vicente shelter for homeless people and families.
I have forced family and friends to go to the Flowering of the Vines with me for a number of years (they thank me, later, and beg to return). Originally, it was more like a community get-together — a chance for winemakers and producers to welcome the grapes and to have a little party and wine tasting before the ensuing surge of intense attention and toil that are required to bring the vines to fruition and harvest them for the next four to five months. Even post-harvest, the work isn’t done until the product is in the bottle, often extending into October. However, as this Ensenada wine region has flourished, becoming world famous for its August Vendimia harvest festival (attracting tens of thousands of people to events throughout the entire month), the Viñedos en Flor has evolved into a more sophisticated, but equally fun and rewarding, event. It is, quite frankly, one of my favorites.
The event at Las Nubes is taking an innovative approach to showcasing ‘Baja’s Best’ in 2013, emphasizing the idea that everyone, young and old, shares the land and responsibility for cherishing the land and its products. This year, highlighting the fiesta will be ‘comida campestre’: casual family food, with the emphasis on fresh and local ingredients for which the region is gaining so much fame. Cheeses, artesenal breads, organic produce, olives and locally crafted olive oils — these products and more will create a savory and delicious accompaniment to the numerous wines that will be available at Viñedos en Flor. There will also be a variety of activities for all ages, including Pétanque (similar to bocce ball), and a host of great activities for children, including kite-flying, bike riding in the vineyards, football, and swings. Most intriguing for youngsters, and definitely the most fun for doting parents to watch, will be the art area where plastic artists Marco Miranda and Ángel Delgado will help children create imaginative projects.
This year, more than 38 wineries/cavas are participating in Viñedos en Flor, the Flowering of the Vines. From some of Baja’s most highly acclaimed wineries — like Vena Cava, Emevé, Adobe Guadalupe, Bodega Santo Tomas, Casa de Piedra, Monte Xanic, Torres Alegre y Familia, Viñas Pijoan, Encuentro Guadalupe and many others — to newer artisan wine producers, the festival will offer visitors a chance to actually meet winemakers and learn more about how they achieve each wine’s uniqueness. For many who attend the event, there will be an eye-opening realization that Baja California is producing outstanding wine that can hold its own anywhere in the world.
I can guarantee that this will be a popular event. Last year, it was held at Viñedos Lafarga, on the southern side of Highway 3, Ensenada-Tecate; it was packed with happy festival-goers who delighted in the warm springtime temperatures, the savory smells of food being and copious cups of handcrafted wines. The 2013 event will rejoice the vines at Las Nubes (The Clouds), founded by Victor Segura and partners, on the 30+ hectares of land planted with wine grapes and olives on the northern side of the Guadalupe Valley, near El Porvenir. All I can say is get your tickets now!
What: Viñedos en Flor 2013 — the Flowering of the Vines
Where: Las Nubes winery, Street Emiliano Zapata s/n, El Porvenir, Guadalupe Valley
When: Noon, Saturday, May 18
Cost: $250 pesos (approx. $21), which includes a comemorative glass. Children under 18 years-old are free
How to get tickets or for more information: Tickets can be purchased online at www.provinoac.org. They can also be purchased at the Provino offices in Ensenada, Av. 20 de Noviembre 1138-2, Zona Centro. For more information, call Provino at +52 (646) 178-3038 or 178-2949. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ensenada is on the Pacific Ocean, and only 20 minutes from Mexico’s wine country. Find out where to stay, when you visit the Valle de Guadalupe! And be sure to try some of the region’s best restaurants, including Corazon de Tierra, the seasonal Deckman’s en el Mogor, El Rey Sol and others.
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