Great Dreams Can Grow Well Under the Baja Sun

The Story of Jay Dworsky

Great Dreams Can Grow Well Under the Baja SunImages by Tom Gatch/
Images by Tom Gatch/

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By Tom Gatch via

Baja’s primary wine growing region, which includes the areas of nearby Valle Guadalupe and San Antonio de Las Minas, accounts for over 90% of Mexico’s total wine production. This distinction is regularly celebrated at Ensenada’s annual Fiestas de la Vendimia celebration that draws wine lovers from around the globe.

A majority of the red grape producers in Baja Norte’s wine region focus their attentions on growing market-proven strains like Cabernet, Merlot, Spanish Tempranillo and Italian Sangiovese. Petit Verdot, on the other hand, tends to mature rather late; its deep violet color, delightfully dry fruitiness and light touch of tannin makes it a favorite for use in wine blends in its native region of Bordeaux, France.

But when grown in a sunny and dry climate with an extended season like that in northern Baja, Petit Verdot is able to easily stand on its own merit as a single varietal; offering a rich flavor profile that suggests dense, dark fruits like ripe blackberry, black cherry and plum.

And it was at one of these popular celebrations of La Vendimia over 6 years ago that Jay Dworsky, an American expatriate living near Ensenada, made the fateful decision to sign up for a series of classes that would introduce him to the art of winemaking.

Jay Dworsky

When he was growing up in coastal Southern California back in the mid 1950’s, Jay Dworsky had absolutely no idea that someday he might end up becoming involved in the farming of grapes, let alone in making wine out of them. As a matter of fact, aside from having an occasional glass at the dinner table, he never really gave wine too much thought until a little over 20 years ago when he first met his wife, Trisha, who possessed an extensive background as a restaurateur and aficionado of fine wines.

Under her skillful stewardship, he began to gradually expand his horizons to the point where he developed a cultured palate, along with distinct preferences in regard to his favorite varietals. It was not, however, until after the couple eventually decided to retire and move down near Ensenada in northern Baja California that Jay’s passion and desire to learn more about the actual making of wine came into full fruition.

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