Baja Test Kitchen Tour — Las Nubes & Vena Cava

Valle de Guadalupe

Today we take one last look at Las Nubes winery, and then head off to our next rather unique destination — a winery built beneath the overturned hulls of large boats!  After that, on our return to the ship, we were met by some very tame sea lions.  That should keep you reading to the very end.

Las Nubes window

On Monday I promised some exterior photos of the Las Nubes winery, including the Tuscan architecture.  Here you can see that, and the charming outdoor tasting patio:

Las Nubes’ Tuscan architecture

Las Nubes tasting patio

Las Nubes tasting patio

Las Nubes overlooking Valle de Guadalupe

Beyond the tasting patio are some great views of the surrounding hills and the valley below.  Fortunately, the rain had tapered off by the end of our tasting, and blue was beginning to peek out from behind the clouds:

Orange orchard

Hills above Las Nubes

Valle de Guadalupe

The highlight of the tour was lunch at our next destination, Vena Cava.  Unfortunately, the clouds returned, the sky closed up, and the rains started to fall.  The dirt road leading to Vena Cava flooded, and we had a short adventure when the engine on our tour minibus stalled in rapidly flowing water.  Fortunately, our Baja Test Kitchen guide Chris Meija managed to restart the engine, but not before some pretty tense moments and several failures.  Each time the engine restarted and Chris took his foot off the accelerator to shift into drive, the backpressure in the tailpipe stalled the engine again.  Chris managed to overcome that by keeping one foot on the gas and the other on the brake as he engaged the transmission, and off we went

Alas, the return of the rain precluded once again any outside photography.  The photo above, as well as the next one, are contained in an NPR article entitled The Hippest Winery in Mexico is Made of Recycled Boats:

Overturned boat hulls make for an interesting interior.  Here our group enters into Vena Cava’s central wine tasting room:

Vena Cava — Inside an overturned boat hull

The wines here at Vena Cava were as impressive as the unique choice in building material.

Vena Cava wines

Wines here were very traditional in the European sense, heavy on the Bordeaux grapes along with very drinkable Tempranillos.  I rate Vena Cava and Château Camou as the two wine tasting hits of the tour.  Las Nubes wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, and the views were spectacular.  However, for sheer fun, it’s hard to beat being inside a winery made from old boat hulls.

Vena Cava

It was here that we enjoyed our promised gourmet lunch, and it certainly lived up to its “gourmet” billing.  All of the food presented was local, and much of it was traditional Mexican fare with some rather interesting touches.  It’s been a while, so I don’t remember what was served and the lighting was less than ideal for photography.  I do recall one of our group was pleased that our lunch satisfied his taco craving on the final course.  You can enjoy the sights of past tour lunches at this site:  Tasting Tour Gallery

Vena Cava tasting room

I would like to thank Joyce Verette for putting together this tour for our group.  I would also like to thank Chris Meija for safely herding us around during inclement weather and over poor roads, all the while entertaining us with wine facts, stories of the local area, and interesting tales on the way back to the ship.  I highly recommend him and his Baja Test Kitchen, and Ursula and I look forward to joining him in the future for some of the other tours he offers.

Wait . . . .  I promised some sea lions.  Upon our return to ship we were greeted by these gentle giants, who took absolutely no notice of our close presence to them except to pose:

Sea Lions taking a snooze

Sea Lion

On Fun Photo Friday I’ll present my favorite photos from this tour.


Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation, Wine & Food

2 responses to “Baja Test Kitchen Tour — Las Nubes & Vena Cava

  1. karenwojcikberner

    I hadn’t heard of Vena Cava. Very unique. Sounds like you had a real adventure!

    • Quite an adventure indeed, Karen. Vena Cava, in addition to the unique “building material”, also offered up some of the better wines on the tour.