Where to Find Baja Wines in Los Angeles

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Vineyards in the Valle de Guadalupe.

The Valle de Guadalupe’s wine scene has exploded in recent years. In a short time the valley has grown from less than 10 wine producers to over 50, but the noise of Baja’s wine scene has largely stayed across the border. Why? Largely because of high Mexican taxes and California protectionism. According to winemaker Victor Segura, the Mexican government taxes winemakers 25 % on the production of wine which pushes up the price of product and makes it less competitive in the marketplace.

Oak wine barrels at Las Nubes.
Oak wine barrels at Las Nubes. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

So what if you visit the Valle de Guadalupe and fall in love with a wine? If you live in California, you’re still mostly out of luck. Californians are allowed to bring back only 1 litre of wine across the border. Arizona, however, allows each person to return to the state with up to 60 bottles. Not surprisingly, Segura is frustrated with California’s protectionism. He says that the largest single producer of wine in California produces more wine than all of the wine makers in the Valle de Guadalupe combined. At least for now, Baja wines are hardly a threat to California’s industry.

Fortunately for those who are curious about Baja wines, two local wine shops are carrying the product as well as a handful of restaurants.

Du Vin Wine and Spirits has bottles from L.A. Cetto, Montefiore, Vena Cava, Santo Tomas, Cavas Valmar and San Rafael.

Silver Lake Wine currently has two Baja bottles in the shop: Jubileo Meritage 2009 / Baja $20 and Villa Montefiori Chardonnay 2011, both priced at $20.

Plus, Blue Plate Taco, Blue Plate Oysterette, Kings Road Cafe and Joan’s on Third all feature Baja bottles on their wine lists.