MoMore than 300 wine growers, hospitality workers and residents of Valle de Guadalupe successfully marched through the Mexican wine region on Saturday afternoon in a peaceful protest against the construction of a temporary 62-acre concert hall that can accommodate up to 25,000 people. The next day a concert was due to take place but was eventually moved to another location due to the community’s decline.
The passionate supporters behind the “Por Un Valle de VerdadâArgue that Valle’s extremely delicate ecosystem and scarce resources like its water supply cannot afford development on such a large scale and the volume of people it would bring in at once.
The Mexican Wine Country, located about a 3.5-hour drive from Los Angeles, is a popular tourist destination for residents of San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles who come here to dine, drink and stay. in its luxury boutique hotels in a picturesque and relaxed landscape. A survey of leaders of the Mexican wine community of LA TACO reveals that almost half of tourism in the Guadalupe Valley comes from California, or 40% of its base tourism.
LA chefs like Nancy silverton, Ricardo Zarate and Tim Hollingsworth are known to cook on occasion. Although it is a relatively young wine industry barely 100 years old, there are more than 150 working wineries in the region.
On Saturday, protesters rode horses and held banners across the street on the two-lane main road in Valle that read “Si a La Agricultura, No a Los Eventos Masivos.” Javier Plascencia, Baja’s California’s most prolific chef, is one of the campaign’s biggest supporters. He was one of the first chefs to open in Valle with his outdoor restaurant, Finca Altozano, in 2012. In addition to being one of the early adopters, Plascencia has also taken a DIY approach to raising funds and gathering supplies for first responders in Valle de Guadalupe. Sometimes relying on used firefighting equipment from nearby San Diego. Valle de Guadalupe does not have an official fire station and instead relies on community volunteers who have no national, state or local funding.
Valle de Guadalupe currently has a population of 9,000 and is located in the municipality of Ensenada, the largest port city in the region, about a 30-minute drive away.
âThe problem with this new development is not the artist or the type of music. It is the reality that we do not have enough resources or infrastructure to take care of the problems that may arise from it, âPlascencia told LA TACO. âWe don’t have enough ambulances, firefighters or police to provide service to the drunk driving accidents and fights that accompany these concerts.â According to Plascencia, the future of the Valle de Guadalupe and what can be built there should be decided by the winemakers and chefs who have worked hard to make Valle the destination it has become. âIt is a space that we must take care of: its wines, its magnificent sunsets, its unique gastronomy. We don’t want it to turn into a full-scale cantina. We can still prevent it from becoming that.
While Valle is home to great old world wineries like LA Cetto and Monte Xanic that supply restaurants and big box retailers across Mexico, it is also home to a small but powerful burgeoning natural wine industry. . Andres Labadie, native of Ensenada who works in the hotel industry and has recently started his Nomadic Wine natural wine label says LA TACO that the fight to protect Mexican wine country is a fight to preserve nature.
While the 62 acres of land have already been demolished, the successful protesters at âUn Valle de Verdadâ have hopefully set a precedent for the future of nature tourism in Mexico. A country in which the workers of the land run the respective regions and not the politicians prone to corruption and bribery.
âIt doesn’t matter whether you are a Mexican or American tourist. What matters is to protect the natural environment from contamination and to conserve the precious water supply here, this should be important for everyone. ”
Mexico has a history of exploiting nature-based tourist attractions locally and politically. The petrified waterfalls of Oaxaca Hierve El Agua closed earlier this year to contamination caused by an uncontrolled number of tourists, as well as a political dispute between the two villages over revenues from its entrance fee. The amazingly beautiful “Lagoon of the Seven Waters” in southern Mexico, known as Bacalar, began to lose its colors and develop a stronger putrid smell due to contamination. Drugs in water and toxic of human origin Sarcasm algae continues to plague Tulum, costing them millions of dollars in lost tourism and clean-up efforts.
However, there have also been success stories in Mexico. One of the best beaches in Mexico, Balandra in La Paz, has managed to keep control and limit the damage caused by visitors during recent pics in tourism.
While the 62 acres of land have already been demolished, the successful protesters at âUn Valle de Verdadâ have hopefully set a precedent for the future of nature tourism in Mexico. A country in which the workers of the land run the respective regions and not the politicians prone to corruption and bribery. There are rumors of other important developments on the horizon, such as casinos and shopping malls. Yet they will all have to respond first to the organized community of Valle de Guadalupe.
Sheyla alvarado, the chef behind the cellar and the restaurant Lunario Restaurant, summed it up best at LA TACO.
âThe responsible growth of Valle de Guadalupe and the commitment to maintain its agricultural identity is the responsibility of its residents, workers and tourists. “
Interviews were conducted in Spanish and translated into English by the author.