Last night we put out our room service request and it arrived right on time. The server was so bubbly – a ray of sunshine so early, and of course she opened the bathroom door like everyone else always does thinking that is the exit.
We are docked at the Ensenada Cruise Port Village and we can see that a Carnival ship is also pulling in right after us.
The description from Princess is: Discover Mexico’s wine country on this half day excursion. You will visit two wineries in the Calafia Valley renowned for the quality of their grapes: Casa Dona Lupe and L.A. Cetto. Pioneers in the development of wine in Mexico, both have been plying their craft for hundreds of years and are highly respected for their expertise in the production of sherry, wine and brandy. Learn how wine is produced from the crushing of grapes and fermentation, to the pressing, aging and bottling. Afterwards, enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by an assortment of cheeses and biscuits. The wines can be purchased from the wineries at considerable savings. Upon return to Ensenada, you’ll have time to explore Ensenada on your own or be escorted back to the ship.
Now anyone who knows us knows we usually don’t do ship’s tours, not because they are bad, but more because we like smaller groups, more control and more options. But for this trip we had some extra on board credit and thought why not do a tour and we had heard good things about this tour.
We met on the pier at 9:20 am as written on the ticket. We are directed to a large bus that had air conditioning and plenty of room. But every seat is filled (There were about 60 of us on this tour).
We are introduced to Sol our tour guide for the day and the driver Ramon. Sol’s English is excellent and she is very funny. She provided lots of information about the area and makes it fun. As we drive thru town she explains the history of Ensenada and what we are seeing, she goes into what three things drive the economy here in Ensenada – Fishing, Tourism and Wine Production.
The drive to the first winery is about 50 minutes on good roads and the views are stunning. We both comment that the area looks a lot like Chile when we did the wine tour there.
Our first winery is L.A. Cetto that has been in here for three generations. Sol introduces us to the guide from the winery – Jerry – and he takes us on a tour of the winery from grape gathering to the fermentation – how red and white wines are fermented different, and even sparkling wine. The next building is where they store the red wine in three different size barrels depending on the type of wine. He tells us a bit about the history of the winery and then our final stop is the wine tasting room.
We head to the wine bar and with 60 people trying to get wine and food it is a little overwhelming. The people on the tour are nice though and people at the bar help by passing glasses to those of us at the back. We try four different wines, sparkling, white and two reds.
You do receive a bottle per person as part of the tour – and it changes depending on what they have available, today we received a Cabernet-Malbec 2013 called Marqués Del Valle. We will enjoy it tonight and another day on the next leg.
The winery also produces olive oils and they have samples of great bread and olive oil. My only concern was first it was hard to get to with all the people and also not enough napkins cause the oil often leaked thru the bread thru the napkin to your hands. A plate may have been better but then again that would have been hard to hold and drink the wine.
You were given the option to buy some wine here and their other products and many did. I think if we would have been getting off the ship and not having to fly we would of bought something.
Back in the bus we are then driven a very short distance to the second winery – Casa Dona Lupe. This winery we don’t receive any information on we are just directed to a beautiful courtyard where we are provided with a small ticket that gives you four tastings.
Dona Lupe the owner is there and she introduces herself. I do find out from Sol that all the wine here is organic and produced here. Sol is a great source of information and she is making sure we all get different types of bread (my favorite is the jalapeno bread, in fact we bought some bread to take back to enjoy with the wine). We also get some pizza and cheese with three different sauces. Very good and a nice treat in a beautiful setting.
An Aztec Indian performs a welcoming ceremony and it is beautiful with blessing for the earth, sun, sky and the people.
The only odd thing was after the ceremony they played music, great but Pink Floyd although I like just seemed an odd choice.
Back on the bus for the drive back – which was a good time for a siesta.
We chose to get off in town and walk around a bit. We walked thru the fish market and stopped to get some churros and a hot chocolate and we sat on the marina and people watched.
I love Ensenada, I certainly felt safe here, probably a heck of a lot safer here than I did in some areas of California and even at home.
We are back on the ship around 3 pm (all aboard is 4:30) and I am tired. Not having a nap for the past few days I think I am owed a nap todays. I wake just as we are pulling out as the thrusters come alive below us.
We received our in transit information – meet in the Crown Grill at 11 for Customs if not going ashore.