Baja Wine Country: Popular tasting tours depart from San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Baja Wine Country: Popular tasting tours depart from San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - One of best wine growing regions in the entire world is less than 90 miles from downtown San Diego.

The Guadalupe Valley east of Ensenada, Mexico has been called "the next Napa" because its climate can grow quality grapes and its boutique wineries remind visitors of what Napa Valley used to be like 30 years ago.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous down here. We're two hours away from San Diego and we're in a totally different world,” said Joaquin Quintero, co-owner of Baja Winery Tours.

The company offers wine tasting tours in Baja wine country with door-to-door service from San Diego.

CBS News 8’s Shawn Styles tagged along recently with a group of wine lovers who had never been to Mexico.

“We went to Penn State together and we graduated in 1983. We're sorority sisters,” said Katy McQuaid, a member of the tour group.

The sorority sisters started out at Hacienda La Lomita Winery tasting a Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc blend with a hint of green apple, as well as Chardonnay and red varietals.

The tour also included a behind-the-scenes look at the Lomita wine-making operation.

Lomita winery produced more 90,000 bottles this past year.

The next stop was Casa de Piedra, where the group tasted a wine that Mexico is not particularly well known for, a sparkling wine.

Casa de Piedra means “house of stone.” It’s a modern winery in a rustic setting. The chief wine maker is Thomas Egli, originally from Switzerland.

Egli makes three sparkling wines, along with award-winning white and red wines.

“They really care about their products and it's not just about making money. It's about producing a great wine,” said McQuaid.

The tour also included a five-course lunch and lamb entree at Finca Altozano, an open-air café in the heart of Guadalupe Valley.

Final stop of the day was Finca La Carrodilla, a winery on the side of a hill where artisans harvest their grapes according the position of the stars.

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