Modes of Travel | December18th, 2018

El Cielo Winery and Resort by Karisma


Guadalupe Valley, Baja, California

Celebrating the 5th Anniversary of El Cielo Winery and the Grand Opening of the Villas at El Cielo Winery & Resort by Karisma, Gustavo Ortega, General Director and Chairman of El Cielo,  joined  Karisma Hotels & Resorts in hosting the dual events and embracing an exciting vision for the future of El Cielo in the Guadalupe Valley of Baja. Realizing their shared dream, the pride and passion of El Cielo stands in the standard of excellence in its already established award-winning wines, 79 acres of vineyards, premier dining, and the debut of its inspired resort villas. The future of the brand is brilliant and optimistic… at El Cielo, the sky truly is the limit.

The valley vista has transformed as beautiful luxury villas now enhance the landscape around the two reservoir lakes,integrating the picturesque vineyards, olive groves, orchards of fig, orange and lime trees, and organic vegetable and herb gardens creating a vibrant setting for the winery resort experience and a dynamic farm to table gourmet cuisine. The swimming pool promises a refreshing cool escape surrounded by loungers for relaxation and sunbathing.

The scope of the El Cielo vision is showcased within the property’s stunning architecture, prominently blending exteriors and interiors with stacked stone and traditional adobe in modern harmony, elegance in design and decor offering contemporary luxury and comfort. The 33 villas house a spacious ground floor one-bedroom master suite and two junior suites with balconies on the second floor. Two exceptional presidential suite villas raise the bar in Guadalupe Valley prestige accommodations. The residential feel is enhanced by the full kitchen and dining area opening to plush living room seating,a fireplace, guest restroom, brightened by contemporary artworks curated from Mexican artists and views of the outdoor covered private terrace dining and fire pit lounge area. The bedroom centerpiece is the inviting king bed with luxe linens and dramatic headboard reaching to the ceiling, complemented with seating on a sleeper sofa, spacious closets, desk work area, flat screen TV,with access to the sunning patio perfectly framing the views. The bathroom is note worthy with a double sink vanity accented by mirrors best described as works of art. Amenities are high end, with deep jetted tub, walk in shower and privacy WC. The villa is perfect for family or friends to share, and in-room dining affords convenience and flexibility.

Above, the two private junior suites feature two queen or one king bed with luxury amenities, spacious baths, stocked mini fridge bar with an in-room dining area capturing valley views, a flat screen TV, desk, and lounging comfort. Panoramic balcony views of the property are stunning with romantic sunrise or sunsets and heavenly star gazing.

Two gourmet restaurants, Polaris and Latitude 32,will soon be joined by a third, Constellationsby Le Chique by the award winning Chef – Jonatán Gómez Luna , in addition to the romantic wine cellar for tastings and special events. Dining at El Cielo boasts indoor and outdoor seating areas, terrace dining, fire pits, plus shaded picnic areas for a rangeof formal and casual dining. The hospitality is incomparable; welcoming destination events from weddings and anniversaries, family gatherings and business conferences with choice locations to gather and enjoy the ambience and attentive service. A breathtaking chapel with a spacious terrace, swimming pool, plus the future addition of a  day spa completes the resort package. Transportation can be provided to and from nearby airports as well as to Ensenada for shopping, tequilas, and Bourdain endorsed street tacos. A bit further, the beaches of Rosarito are famed for surfing. Hiking, biking, and ATV adventures add to the possibilities of an El Cielo stay only two hours from San Diego.

The beauty of El Cielo is a manifestation of a dream founded in a prescient tour of France’s Loire Valley wine country as Gustavo looked toward retirement from their success as hoteliers. Inspired by their French getaway, their retirement became a new chapter creating a stellar vineyard and winery destination significant in the development of Mexico’s modern wine industry. El Cielo, The Sky, was born from their vision and partnerships. An astronomical theme emerged with branding derived from names of constellations and noted astronomers. From Polaris, Andromeda and Orion,Galileo, Copernicus and Hubble, the names capture a heavenly aura in the critical aspects of determining quality wines. The process of state-of-the-art wine making has been guided by renowned oenologist, Jesus Rivera, the expertise,technology and ecology setting a high bar for excellence. The solar powered enterprise has brought acclaim as Mexico’s 1st Eco-Responsible Winery.

The El Cielo experience in total is richly satisfying and sensual, a collision of all five senses. The sight of grapevines suspended in perfect rows in the valley surrounded by boulder studded hillsides, the aromas and earthy smells of fragrant grapes, arid dusty fields,and mountain breezes bearing moisture from the sea, the touch and feel of each varietal’s distinctive leaves and the caress of fresh picked grapes on the tongue, the palate tantalizing wine samplings, and the amazing gourmet cuisine offered at El Cielo’s distinguished restaurants, combine to awaken and delight the senses. The guided trolley tour of the vineyards informs on natural and organic cultivation and familiarizes guests with the 15 grape varietals planted in sections offering opportunities for tastings of the extraordinary sweet grapes and the wines they produce. A meet and greet with the Harris Hawk who patrols the vineyards keeping hungry pests away is a fascinating sidelight.Guests can then join in the fun of some old-fashioned grape stomping, sharing in some squishy toe tickling wine making history.

The delectable wine pairings and the exceptional gourmet menus of Executive Chef Marco Marín at the El Cielo restaurants offer memorable taste sensations with each course. Innovative modern Mexican cuisine features the best of Baja’s seafood, certified Angus ranches, and the freshest locally harvested produce with the finest dining guaranteed. From the dazzling elegance of romantic venues shimmering with glasses poised to pair select wines with each course, to the farm-to-table dining options that can be enjoyed al fresco, foodies will find El Cielo delivers on its promises. Descending to the cavernous underground wine rooms, guests enjoy tastings and learn about the state-of-the-art gravity induced process of fermentation in tanks of stainless steel brought from Spain,and the aging process in barrels of oak from France, Hungary and the U.S.,expertly assembled in Chile. The passion of wine making, reverence for the grapes from cultivation through each aspect of the process, and the intrigue of experimenting to create your own blend; each experience brings a new appreciation of the journey El Cielo has undertaken.

The Guadalupe Valley has long been the heart of Baja vineyards. From the earliest Spanish monks who first saw the potential of recreating Spain’s wine country in the New World, Baja beckoned with climate,soil and geography now seen as Mexico’s contender modeled on California’s Napa Valley. The Guadalupe Valley has an established history of wine production and El Cielo is moving forward, taking the lead in producing exquisite wines recognized and awarded for exceptional quality within Mexico and internationally. Traditional wines, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, and Grenache have been joined with newer varietals to create tantalizing new blends.

The anniversary celebration brought together a VIP cast of those who were recognized as contributors to the realization of the vision along with family and friends. Extraordinary dining was manifested in the contributions of five-star master chefs known throughout Mexico, the stars who brought their individual talents to each specialty course accompanied by the perfected pairing selections of El Cielo wines by Master Sommelier Georgina Estrada. An outpouring of toasts were proclaimed to the continued success of this amazing dream, El Cielo Winery and Resort by Karisma.

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