At the heart of the sunlit vineyards in the Valais de Guadalupe, northeast of Ensenada, is now the Museum of Vines and Wine. The museum is a wonderful resource for wine lovers for both locals and tourists alike, as it has a collection rich in viticulture history. The beauty of the architecture stands out against the backdrop of granite mountains, fertile soil and lush, graceful vines. From the glittering entrance, the visitor enters the underground museum as if entering a wine cellar.
Travelers can make a day of it. The museum is an invaluable resource for wine lovers and a tour can begin from here. This is especially helpful if this is your first visit to the Baja wine country. The museum provides a basis for understanding wine production, thus creating a deeper appreciation for wine tasting. The thinking organization went into presenting the story and included icons for wine production, such as hand presses used by many of the smaller wine producers. Fine art and bronze sculptures are a perfect match. All works of art have a touch of the vine as a theme. Huge oak barrels are built into the walls; the projector lighting of the projectors on the displays creates a vivid impression of what turns into making good wine. A series of towering glass shelves hold bottles of wine from every vineyard in the valley. Included at intervals along the way are films showing the production and even how oak barrels are made. The special attention to detail and the beautiful low light create the mood for the whole experience, as if you were in a coffee where the wine matures.
Badja has a rich ethnic history from the Spanish Jesuit fathers who planted grapes for their mysterious wine to the Russian Molokans who developed the first large commercial vineyards in 1906. Many of their wooden tools have been exposed since that period. Today, according to a local winemaker, the wine region is one of my passions, and I have seen the region grow from just 24 growers to well over 100, including craft winemakers.
Above the Underground Museum is a modern facility with panoramic views of the grand valley. As you can see, the grapes are now lush with leaves and grapes of ripe grapes. The harvest is celebrated as Vendemus every year in August, while the actual harvest can pass in September. It is certainly one of the most sophisticated day trips near home and just two hours from the US border.