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Bliss Life

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Your Next Wine Country Weekend

Jan 18, 2020 05:23PM ● By Danell Wilson-Perlman

El Cielo Winery Resort

Hop on a quick flight from Reno, NV to Long Beach, CA...skip on down Pacific Coast Highway…and, simply jump across the border into Mexico for your next wine country getaway!

As we disembark our Jet Blue flight from Reno, NV to Long Beach, CA and are greeted by sunny skies and 75 degrees, it was hard to believe it has only been a short hour since we escaped freezing temperatures and Reno’s first snowfall of the year. Flying from Reno to Long Beach is an international traveler’s dream as both are small, quaint airports that make you wonder why traveling can’t always be this simple. Within a mere 20 minutes (including renting a car), we are on the freeway heading down the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The coastal PCH boasts some of the most beautiful ocean views and countless options for a bite to eat with beachfront access. However, as a South African native, Mozambique restaurant in Laguna Beach has my heart. The menu offers a true taste of my homeland and as we peruse the extensive South African wine list from the most
perfect table in their rooftop dining section overlooking the glistening
Pacific, I feel right at home. Laguna is a perfect stroll town where
you will discover unique, eclectic shops and amazing art galleries.

Though we would have loved to linger in Laguna longer, San Diego’s Gaslamp District is waiting to be explored. Approximately one hour drive from the shores of Laguna, we find the Kimpton Palomar San Diego located in the heart of the city and receive a warm welcome into our beautifully appointed room with an artistic twist. Inspired by rooftop bar and pool view from our hotel room, we stop by the complimentary social hour in the lobby before beginning our
progressive evening of small bites and split drinks in the Gaslamp Quarter. There are so many great options but I absolutely loved and highly recommend The Water Grill and Rustic Root.

It only took 52 minutes from downtown San Diego to get to the beach town of Rosarito, Mexico. We’ve been staying at the Rosarito Beach Hotel for years but this time we fell in love all over again with the breathtaking ocean view rooms in the new tower; each equipped with a kitchenette, living room, and patio where you can truly relax and soak up some sun, It truly feels more like a luxury condo than just a room in Mexico. Friendly service and delicious food await you at the hotel restaurant, an easy go-to for a quick bite and a Margarita. The town has many great options for food, from an informal taco stand to high end surf and turf cuisine. But if seafood is your fancy, it’s worth the 20-minute drive south to Puerto Nuevo, known for its many fabulous lobster restaurants. We end our day with a beach walk; toes in sand within steps of the Rosarito Beach Hotel.

The next day we head out on a 2-day wine adventure to Valle de Guadalupe - Baja’s wine country and Mexico’s largest wine producer. The region has been known to turn many a wine enthusiast from a skeptic to a hopeless admirer. Here you will find some powerful, interesting reds and whites, as the local wineries focus on the terroir and fine wine market rather than mass production. With rustic, natural elements reflected in their buildings and the décor, you can feel the way these wineries have a distinct value for their symbiotic relationship with nature. Wine tastings feel like an education in science; each wine pour gets explained in a unique way and it lingers in your mind to make a lasting impression.

The Valley now boasts nearly 300 wineries making it tough to narrow your options, but after careful review, we were pleased with our decision to book two
nights at Agua del Vid Eco Resort. The architecture is absolutely stunning and the rooms are all individual cement buildings overlooking the vineyards. The
resort boasts a lap pool, large jacuzzi, and eco spa. The restaurant is a sight to see - lots of natural wood, leather, steel and glass, alive with natural elements
and a magical ambiance. The cuisine is a California/Mexican fusion which delights the senses.

Some of my favorite wineries and other lodging options in the valley are El Cielo Winery and Resort, Hotel Encuentro Guadalupe, Vinicola Adobe Guadalupe,
AlXimia Winery, La Casa de Dona Lupe, Decantos Vinicola, Emeve Winery, and Oeno Wine Resort - set amongst gigantic boulders, fauna & flora, so many
types of unique lodging styles to choose from.

Thankful for friendly service, great meals, and an easy border crossing, we say Adios y hasta luego…until next time, MEXICO!