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Friday, August 1, 2008

Vinos Fuentes: Promoting Quality Wine and Family Values

by Steve Dryden

Guadalupe Valley in Baja California is a magical and enchanting valley and home to Mexico’s premier wine growing and wine production region. One family of growers is Hector and Miguel Fuentes, along with brothers Mark and Hector Fuentes Jr. These native Baja Californians have a long history of farming in Mexicali and Valle de Guadalupe.

It all started in 1958 when the Fuentes family moved from their farm in Mexicali to raise fruit and cattle in Valle de Guadalupe. The Fuentes family purchased about seventy-five prime hectares in the heart of Guadalupe Valley where the river runs through it, and began the long process of planting a large selection of various fruits and grapes. Hector Fuentes was a visionary with a creative imagination, determination and college degrees from Texas A&M in Animal Husbandry and Soil Sciences. A few years ago he retired to a remote, sustainable mountain retreat and turned the operation over to his son, Miguel.

Miguel Fuentes eagerly took over the general management of the operation and with the help of his father and brothers they gradually decided to focus on high quality vineyard management and artisan winemaking. Miquel has an advanced education from local Catholic schools in Ensenada and a degree in International Agricultural Development from US Davis.

According to Miguel Fuentes, “Hospitality is the key here and we plan to built a family-oriented project where there is something to offer the entire family from young children to grandparents. We are a family that respects and appreciates the needs of everyone in a family and we plan to share that perspective with our guests. The children can play in the recreation area with supervision, while the parents enjoy wines in our tasting room. We’ll offer food in our family-style restaurant, snacks on the patio, barbecues, and even host special events to include birthday parties and weddings.”

Vinos Fuentes has seventy hectares of natural and sustainable land on both sides of the Guadalupe Riverbed. Twelve hectares are planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo with several additional plots are planted in table grapes to include: Ruby Red, Globe, Superior and Thompson seedless grapes. In 2008, Miguel will plant Nebbiolo, Syrah, French Columbard and Muscat vines to compliment his vino portfolio.