Monday, July 14, 2008

Hot August Days


Baja Wine Country News
by Steve Dryden

Things are heating up in Mexico's premier wine country for two specific reasons: the summer weather and the upcoming Fiestas de la Vendimia 2008 party season from July 31 through August 17th. If you don't already have your tickets for the Festival events, you're probably not serious about attending the fiestas, as many of the better events are already sold out. Tickets are still available for many events, but are selling fast, so please get going if you want to attend the events by contacting: (646) 178-3038, fiestasvendimia@hotmail.com or www.fiestasdelavendimia.com.

For those quick and lucky guests who are attending events ~ remember to pace yourselves due to the consumption of wine and high temperatures, often in the high nineties or low 100's. Always start the day with a hearty meal and hydrate with bottled water throughout the day. One popular formula for those who want to fully enjoy the concerts and remember what they did is to drink two glasses of wine followed by a bottle of water. Last week during an event in the valley with temperatures in the high eighties, I observed too many folks drunk, sick and crazy, or injured from falls. It was easy to see which folks read my column and took my advice prior to the concert. Unfortunately, I only saw five people out of the three thousand guests drinking water and acting normal. Thanks to those five people ~ for reading my column! One guy in front of our group downed four bottles of Champagne, fell in love with my girlfriend, then me, and then her sister and then the sister's boyfriend. Heat, high temperatures, and too much wine, sometimes brings out the worst in some people! Pace yourselves.

As of July 15th, rooms are still available for some Vendimia events in Guadalupe Valley at two new lodging establishments: Hotel Plaza Fatima and Hacienda Guadalupe. Hotel Plaza Fatima has eight simple and clean rooms with budget pricing, plus a restaurant and internet communication center on site. Hacienda Guadalupe has twelve upscale, view rooms, with pool, waterfall and jacuzzi. If you are staying at a hotel in Ensenada you can make arrangements with local taxi drivers to drop and pick you up after events. Many taxi drivers now have cellular phones, so you can call them when you are ready to go or 30 minutes prior to your transportation needs.

Two concerts of interest that aren't part of the official Vendimia Festival are: Baja Jazz Festival and Raul di Blasio at the L. A. Cetto winery in Valle de Guadalupe. The Baja Jazz Festival 2008 will feature the Iraida Noriega Trio, and the Gilbert Castellanos Sextet. The concert will be held on Saturday August 9th, beginning at 4 p.m. This concert is presented by Saverios Restaurant and will benefit del Puestro de Socorros del Valle de Guadalupe. Ticket are $35usd. at Cetto winery outlets and www.bajajazzfestival.com.

Fall is a great time to visit the Baja California wine country in Valle de Guadalupe. And, L.A. Cetto has a special concert in mind for those who love this time of year ~ that usually brings cooler weather and beautiful sunset evenings. The Cetto family presents the incredible concert of Raul di Blasio on Saturday September 20th in Valle de Guadalupe at 4:00 p.m. VIP $60, general admission $40. Information and Reservations (664) 685-3031 or www.cettowines.com. Tickets are extremely limited for both events, so move fast to secure tickets and to attend these fun productions.

Chabert's Restaurant in the Rosarito Beach Hotel will be featuring a wine dinner event on Friday August 15th. Normally, these wine dinner events are held on the first Friday of each month, but with the "opening inauguration" during the first weekend of August for their new hotel/condo project, the date has been moved to the 15th. Artisan August will feature handmade wines of limited production. Tickets are $40 person and can be obtained by contacting the Hotel: from the US at (800) 343-8582 or local (661) 612-1126 or www.rosaritobeachhotel.com. Laura Torres will host the event.

Steve Dryden is a wine, food and travel writer living in Valle de Guadalupe where he guides private and small group wine tours. He can be reached at: sbdryden@hotmail.com

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