Even better news is, the distribution won't be handled by some outside commercial firm but by La Mision Associates, which is headed by Michelle Martain. She's part of the family that owns Cavas Valmar in Ensenada.
This event will include wine dinners prepared by the region's top chefs, winery tours, cooking demos, a culinary workshop, a Tijuana street food tour and much more. For more information, check the fest's Facebook page.
Lined up on the bar at Rivera were some of the wines Martain will make available in California. They were paired with appetizers from host chef John Sedlar and guest chef Miguel Ángel Guerrero from Tijuana. The tasting included:
Viñedos Don Juan Meritage 2009. This opulent blend of Merlot, Syrah and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon (second from left at the top) shows the minerality and faint saltiness that appear often in Baja wines. Only 364 cases were made. The winery is located in the Valle de Las Palmas, 17 miles south of Tecate.
Vena Cava Cabernet Sauvigon 2010 and Tempranillo 2010. Vena Cava is noted for its Cabernet, but this Tempranillo is stunning. Part of the credit goes to the vintage, says Philip Gregory, winemaker and director.
The year 2010 was very good in the Guadalupe Valley, where Vena Cava is located. But 2011 was good too, and 2012 appears to be another winner, says Gregory, who will start work on this year's Sauvignon Blanc in a couple of weeks.
A prestige talking point: The 2010 Tempranillo was served at a dinner during the G-20 summit that brought world leaders to Los Cabos in Mexico in June.
Cavas Valmar Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and Tempranillo 2009. These red wines (top right) are specialties of Cavas Valmar, which dates from 1983. The grapes for both came from the San Vicente Valley. They're big enough to go well with hearty meat dishes, even spicy mole. The winery also makes a Chenin Blanc.
Bodegas San Rafael planted its first vineyards in 2000 in Ojos Negros, where the high altitude results in cold nights and warm days that lead to higher levels of tannins, acidity and fruit in the wines. Cabernet was one of the first varietals planted.
Santo Tomás Tempranillo-Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 and Barbera 2006. These big reds come from the oldest winery in Baja California. Interesting news is that the winery is currently producing a white wine from the historic red-skinned Mission grape, and this will be exported to California.
Check the Santo Tomás website to learn more about the wines and to see what Mexican dishes are suggested to pair with them.