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Plenty of August Events at Valle de Guadalupe’s Wine and Vine Museum
text & photos by connie ellig
August is a busy month in Baja California’s wine country of Valle de Guadalupe. In addition to musical performances and special events staged by independent wineries, there are numerous culinary and cultural activities, wine tastings and dinner concerts that are part of the official Fiestas de la Vendimia (Grape Harvest Festival) organized by the Baja California Winemakers (Provino).
To add even more variety to the valley’s August calendar of activities, the  Museo de la Vid y el Vino (Wine and Vine Museum) is hosting a series of events that are bound to entice additional wine enthusiasts, art aficionados and casual visitors to this serene area that is responsible for the major portion of Mexico’s wine production.
On August 2 & 3, 2014, the Wine and Vine Museum is celebrating its second anniversary with “Verbena en el Valle,” a gala open-air fair featuring regional foods, wines, artisanal products and entertainment from 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday. Admission is free. On Sunday evening from 5-11pm, San Diego’s Afrojazziacs and La Covacha Big Band will perform in a “Valle&Jazz” concert at the museum’s open-air theater. General admission is $20dlls.
Opening to the public on Saturday, August 16, the inaugural reception for the “Georgia, País Origen del Vino (Georgia, the Origin of Wine)” exposition starts at 2pm in the museum’s temporary exhibition hall. The multimedia presentation includes photos, films, and replicas of winemaking apparatus and artifacts from the Republic of Georgia, considered the oldest wine producing country in the world. “Georgia, the Origin of Wine” is made possible by the Embassy of Georgia in Mexico and remains on display through the end of the year. Admission to this temporary exhibition is free.
On August 23 & 24, “Arte en el Valle” is an exceptional opportunity for art enthusiasts and collectors to meet and interact with 40 prominent Baja California artists who will be exhibiting and selling their one-of-kind works directly to the public. Among the participating artists from Ensenada, Rosarito, Tijuana and other cities are: Alvaro Blancarte, María Evangelina, Aida Valencia, Scott Kennedy, Gonzalo Lara, Rosa Camacho, Nuria Benitez, Niki Rodriguez, Patty Roa, Imelda Melendez, Jesus Flores, Victor Sandoval and David Silvah.
Although the focus of the two-day event is original art – paintings, photographs, sculptures, ceramics, illustrations and engravings – there will also be craft and jewelry booths, wine, food and music from 10am-8pm daily. Admission to “Arte en el Valle” is free. For more information about this prestigious new event, contact Benito Del Aguila (organizer of the annual Rosarito Art Fest) at Tijuana cell (664)123-7139; e-mail 
exterior of museumFormally inaugurated in August 3, 2012 by Mexican president Felipe Calderón, the Museo de la Vid y el Vino is the result of a cooperative effort from the area’s wineries. During its two years of operation, it has received nearly 150,000 visitors. Located in the heart of Valle de Guadalupe, the modern museum features a permanent exhibition of photos, videos and artifacts related to the history and achievements of the region’s winemaking industry as well as an impressive gallery of wine-related art by Baja California’s foremost contemporary artists. The entrance fee to the museum’s permanent exhibition is $4dlls. Senior citizens and students enjoy a 50% discount.
Offering a panoramic view of scenic Valle de Guadalupe, the Wine and Vine Museum is located between Rancho María Teresa and the Ejido Porvenir bridge at Km. 81.3 Carr. Tecate-Ensenada (“Ruta del Vino”). It is open from 9am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday, closed Monday. For more information about the Museo de la Vid y el Vino, call (646)156-8165 or (646)156-8166; e-mail 

Having a Grape Time at Fiestas de la Vendimia
text by connie ellig; photos by david hopps & connie Ellig
postres del antanaThe 24th Annual Fiestas de la Vendimia (Grape Harvest Festival) opened on the evening of Friday, August 1, at Ensenada’s iconic Riviera Cultural Center. A sellout crowd of 2,700 national and international visitors attended the inaugural festivity, known as the “Muestra del Vino (Wine Sampling),” which featured live music, photo expositions, a variety of appetizers created by 40 Baja California restaurants, and more than 300 different wines from 54 wine companies in the region. Baja California Governor Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, Provino President Alvaro Ptacnick, Winemakers Association President Hugo D’Acosta, and other state and city officials presided over the opening ceremony.
Organized by Provino, A.C., the official 2014 calendar of Fiestas de la Vendimia features more than 40 different cultural and culinary events, concerts, wine tastings and seminars at wineries, vineyards and restaurants in Valle de Guadalupe, San Antonio de las Minas, the Old Wine Route, Ensenada, Tecate, Tijuana, Rosarito and Mexicali from August 1-17. For more information about events and tickets, see Spanish-language web site http://fiestasdelavendimia.com or contact the Baja California Winemakers (Provino), tel. (646)178-3038 or (646)178-2949; e-mail

Tijuana-Ensenada Toll Road Map
courtesy of www.discoverbajacalifornia.com

toll road alt route

Mexico: A Traveler's Guide to Safety Over Sensationalism
from BanderasNews.com and amar.org.mx
Baja, California - Mexico, one of the world’s great travel destinations, is often singled out for violent crime without telling the whole story. While there is sporadic violence along parts of the U.S. border, the majority of Mexico’s key tourism areas are not only safe, but safer than many other popular tourism areas.
While the media often portrays Mexico as the most dangerous place on earth, it is statistically quite safe. According to NationMaster.com which uses U.N.-based data, Mexico doesn't even make the list of the 36 nations with the highest murder rates. Mild-mannered nations like Sweden and Switzerland top Mexico for murders on NationMaster.com. The assault rate in the U.S. is nearly 5 times greater than that of Mexico in the independent Prominix report adjusted for under-reported crime.
Even when we add on independent estimates for unreported homicides, Mexico ranks 21st behind many popular vacation destinations. Places we think of as idyllic Caribbean retreats have double, triple, even quadruple the murder rates of Mexico. Mexico’s famous vacation areas are even safer than the averaged statistics, and even safer still for tourists.
The Yucatan is as safe as rural U.S. states.
The magnificent beaches and ancient ruins of the Mexican State of Yucatan are among the safest and most spectacular resort beaches in the world. Yucatan’s  low homicide rate is slightly lower than the rural U.S. States of Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Maine.
Mexico is safer than many cities in the U.S.
More than 150,000 Americans safely visit Mexico every day. And while the media sensationalizes stories of violence in Mexico, Mexico is safer than many major U.S. cities. Travelers feel relatively safe visiting popular U.S. cities like Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington D.C, or Atlanta. Visitors from around the world enjoy these vibrant cities in relative, reasonable safety. Yet each of these cities is statistically less safe than Mexico.
Mexico and politically charged Media Bias
In the debate on immigration reform in the US, the facts on safety in Mexico have become a casualty of politics. To change public opinion and policy, politicians sometimes throw fuel on the fire. If you make up an exciting story about “severed heads in the desert”, it gets a lot of attention and people believe it. The governor of Arizona admitted this story was baseless, but only after months of damage was successfully inflicted to the image of Mexico. The homicide rates above are facts from the FBI, not political fabrications.

Media Favoritism versus Facts
New Orleans is beloved and its renaissance is showcased in the news. The FBI reports the murder rate of New Orleans is declining, but it is nearly 4 times higher than all of Mexico and over 5 times higher than Mexico City. New Orleans is still an amazing place to visit and the Media is right to champion this inspirational city. But Mexico is at least as remarkable and there is a clear difference in how each of these storied destinations is portrayed in contemporary news.
Every city and country has places that are safe and dangerous. Mexico is no exception. The areas that are dangerous should be avoided. And those that are safe should be enjoyed and celebrated. (read entire story)

The Baja Review
text by barbara keller; photo by david hopps

Celebrating its first anniversary in January 2013, the Baja Review is a hard copy, print on paper newspaper with no breaking news. It’s published once a month and is on the stands on the 23rd for the coming month. The focus is good restaurants, wineries, hotels, music, outdoor life, events, and community. My agenda is to inform, comfort and encourage the English speaking ex-pats living here, to support and stimulate the Mexican economy, and in time, to reach and reassure the folks contemplating tourism in northern Baja.
The Baja Review has some excellent writers: Tom Gatch, of Hooked on Baja fame, composes the fishing column and a restaurant review column; Sitara Perez chronicles a wine diary of her first year making wines in the Guadalupe valley; Susan Shea provides a golf column. Classical music aficionado and choral ensemble member Margit Gantt presents classical music reviews. Bunny Wingate, a prolific writer and playwright, does a monthly column about the interesting women in Rosarito.
The quality is good, the articles are interesting, and the ads are cheap. Be sure to check out the Baja Review, now online at www.bajareview.com
If you have stories or articles that fit generally into the categories we focus on, you are welcome to contact me at (646)155-0581 or e-mail barbarakeller3@gmail.com with your questions or submissions. Please keep stories less than 500 words and nothing scary or contentious.
From South to North you can find the Baja Review on the 23rd or 24th of the month in many places, but for sure at Terra Peninsular Community Center & Gallery (Ensenada), L.A. Cetto Cava at Km. 108 highway north of Ensenada, Ochentos Pizza (San Antonio de las Minas), and Tres Hermanos Grocery (San Antonio de las Minas). Between Ensenada and Rosarito, the Baja Review is at La Fonda Restaurant and Hotel, Splash Restaurant and Bar, Baja’s Click-on.com Business Center and Charly’s Place, and in Rosarito, Rod and Dottie’s Mail Room, International Mail Service at Oceana Plaza, and the Rosarito Beach Hotel. Once you have a copy of the Baja Review, check the back page for a listing of other places you can find the paper. Enjoy, please, and I welcome feedback.

Get Hooked on Hooked on Baja
hooked on baja coverEscape to a land of magical, natural beauty that offers a warm sun, a host of beautiful coastlines and some of the very finest saltwater fishing on the entire planet. Hooked on Baja by Tom Gatch gives you the maps, GPS waypoints, proper angling techniques, tackle and species information that you need to be successful when fishing and exploring the coasts of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

Much more than a simple fishing guide, Hooked on Baja incorporates many true-life adventures from some of Baja’s foremost outdoors personalities along with travel information, deliciously authentic south of the border recipes and, for those who end up being ‘hooked on Baja’ themselves, vital information on how to go about purchasing and legally securing real estate property along the picturesque coast of the Baja California peninsula.

Hooked on Baja allows readers to step away from the hustle, bustle and traffic gridlock that are a regular part of life in many of the crowded urban communities north of the Mexican border. Discover a place where there are still countless opportunities for relaxation, recreation and retirement in an enchanting world where the fish are nearly always biting, and lines of pelicans are regularly observed gliding silently mere inches above the pounding surf. 

Released on September 15, 2007, Hooked on Baja is now available at Borders, Barnes & Noble and Costco warehouse stores in southern California, as well as through most major online booksellers.


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