Vendimia: The Incredible Baja Wine Festival You've Never Heard of

Vendimia: The Incredible Baja Wine Festival You've Never Heard of
Flickr/prayitno

See also: Anthony Bourdain's Baja Episode of No Reservations Will Make You Want to Cross the Border Immediately.

See also: 'Stick a Fork in It' column Tijuana Sí!.

Like many Southern Californians and, of course, Anthony Bourdain, we've been relatively obsessed with Baja lately, especially upon hearing that its wine country both "feels like Tuscany" and/or is "like Napa, only better," depending on which region you feel more like one-upping.

This preoccupation led to a conversation with Jim Pickell, CEO of Baja.com, during which he gave us dozens of tips on where to eat, stay, booze and beach all over Baja, most of which are available in detail on his website. The greatest scoop he gave us, however, was that of Fiesta de la Vendimia -- an almost monthlong wine festival and raucous party in Baja that nearly no Americans seem to be aware of.

Vendimia means "the wine harvest," Pickell tells us, and to celebrate it, the wine region becomes what he calls a "giant party" for the month of August, the epicenter of which is El Valle de Guadalupe near Ensenada.

There are tastings, of course, as well as concerts, bullfights, art exhibitions, dance performances of all kinds and plenty of food. Various multicourse dinners are scheduled, for which Pickell says prices are all over the map. "It might be $500 for dinner, it might be $10, or you might get invited."

So why has this never come up in your Google search for cool wine events? Because in general, Pickell explains, the vineyard owners and event organizers don't advertise in the United States, and most of their marketing is in Spanish.

Therefore, if you're a Spanish speaker, you're in a far better position. The website provinoac.org is the place to go for information on this event, but he warns it's nearly impossible to navigate if high school español is all you're working with. However, Baja.com recently posted this handy list of event information which, bully for you, is in English.

Even so, tickets for these events go in a flash -- often selling out in a day, he says. So your hopes of spontaneously attending this year may be dashed. Still, it's worth putting the event on your radar for next year.

"The wine region was started," Pickell says, "for the most part, by Russians, Spaniards, Italians and English -- they, along with Mexicans, own the wineries." He adds that the festival is "an incredible cross-cultural experience."

See also: Anthony Bourdain's Baja Episode of No Reservations Will Make You Want to Cross the Border Immediately.

See also: 'Stick a Fork in It' column Tijuana Sí!.


Follow Ali Trachta on Twitter @MySo_CalLife. Follow Squid Ink at @LAWeeklyFood and check out our Facebook page.

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