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L.A. Cetto

Winery Review: The South Bay, as yet, has no winery of its own. But that’s apparently soon to change! A company has received a permit to open one in Otay Mesa! Stay tun for that, but right now, you’ll have to cross the border and go into Mexico for exceptional South Bay wine.

It’s definitely worth the trip! Currently, Guadalupe de Valle wines are some of the finest in the world. Okay, that’s an opinion, but I lived in Italy for three years and I’ll take a Blanc de Blanc from L.A. Cetto over a Chianti any weekend. Hands down, if you have very little time and ask what’s the best winery to visit out of the hundreds that exist in three locations of Northern Baja: San Tomas, Tecate and Guadalupe de Valle, I have to say: go to L.A. Cetto.

Italians In Mexico

The Winestalker explains that Don Angelo Cetto immigrated from Trento, Italy to Mexico in 1924 where he began to plant vines in Baja California. By 1930 he began selling sherry and port wines, which became popular thanks to the tourists who came to Mexico to drink as it was illegal in prohibition America.
In 1963, his son Don Luis Augustin Cetto too over the winery. He started to experiment and invited Italian winemaker Camillo Magoni to the valley. Born in Piedmont, Magoni introduced Luis Augustin to the Nebbiolo grape. No surprise, since Piedmont’s specialty was the Nebbiolo.
It took another twelve years, until 1975, for Luis Augustin to name the winery L.A. Cetto. By the 1980’s he bought more land to expand the winery. He became the leader in Mexican wine. Thereafter, Luis Alberto Cetto took over the winery, the third generation vintner.
Today L.A. Cetto is the largest wine producer and vineyard owner in Mexico, owning 1,600 hectares of land. They produce five different labels and they’ve won 132 international prizes.

The Grape

The Guadalupe Valley has mostly sandy soil. That’s great news for people who love Cabernet Sauvignon. But L.A. Cetto is most famous for its Nebbiolo. A grape that comes mostly from Piedmont, Italy, L.A. Cetto’s private reserves are ranked in the top 25 of the world.

The good news, bad news: They don’t sell their wines anywhere outside of Mexico and they don’t export. You’ll just have to go there yourself to buy the bottles. It’s definitely worth it!

Getting There

Be easy on yourself. Book a room at the famous Rosarita hotel. Call them up beforehand, speak English and ask them to reserve a driver to take you to Guadalupe de Valle. It’s $65 per person for 4 wineries, including tastings and lunch. Make sure L.A. Cetto is on the list. Then go across the border and simply follow the signs to Rosarito. Once you get to the city, go down the main strip and the hotel is on your right at the end of the road. Really, it’s very easy and the hotel will take care of you from there. If you’re a little more relaxed about going into Mexico (which I really hope you are) here is the address:

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