Gastrovino Food and Wine Festival in Todos Santos 2023

Greetings to our Baja travelers 🌵

Delighted to share once more, this time about a captivating event: the Gastrovino Food and Wine Festival. To give a little context, in 2006 Todos Santos was declared “Pueblo Mágico”— translated to Magic Town in English.

Jazamango stand offering food and drinks at Gastrovino Festival in Todos Santos BCS
Jazamango stand at Gastrovino 2023

This means that the Mexican Government invests public funds to promote and maintain the charming essence of certain regions as they embody the national identity of Mexico.

In other words, this is a tourism initiative designed to attract visitors willing to appreciate and embrace our country— I guess that’s the real “magic”, right?

So, the key attributes of a Pueblo Magico include a rich historical legacy, nature beauty, a thriving arts and culture scene, local gastronomy, and of course, vibrant festivals.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that Todos Santos proudly represents the magical town spirit. Year after year, an increasing number of visitors fall in love and often choose to stay, at least during peak seasons.

While Gastrovino may not hold official local festival status, the growing community in Todos Santos, (both locals and foreigners), is passionately dedicated to integrating it into the town’s charming fabric, each year surpassing expectations.

To add up, I would love to mention here a heartwarming aspect of Gastrovino. Their annual planning includes active involvement in social welfare, as their efforts extend beyond the festivities, organizing fundraisers for local Non-Profits— a wonderful means of giving back to this beautiful town.

Undoubtedly, their sincere intent is to preserve Todos Santos as a friendly, peaceful, and united community.

The Gastrovino Food and Wine Festival 2023

The first time I heard about Gastrovino was around 2014, and as far as I can remember, it was a small-scale setup with a few wine and food stands in the middle of the main square in Todos Santos downtown.

This year we decided to pack our carry-ons and spend a couple of days in Todos Santos to join the so-acclaimed food and wine festival—hence, we cannot come here without writing about it!

Well, I came back to find out how much this festival has grown, with an amazing venue at Santa Terra, displaying art exhibitions, modern food stands, and certainly, a lot more wine than I remember.

The only thing that remains the same is the distinctive style that continued to define Baja Sur.

Each year, as the wonderful staff emphasizes, Gastrovino holds a singular mission: To celebrate Mexican wine and Baja Sur gastronomy. As a resident, I can attest to their exceptional execution!

This festival has a special way of bringing people together—foreigners and locals, winemakers and customers, friends and families, art and nature—all contributing to its growing popularity while maintaining its essence of pure sophistication and relaxation.

Panoramic sight of cultivated fields with towering palm trees and a wooden boat ornament.
Santa Terra venue at Todos Santos BCS

Our experience at Gastrovino Todos Santos 2023

Let’s delve into the experience of this year. Upon arrival, I observed a well-organized event, featuring a larger staff presence than I recall; The venue was impressive, adorned with beautiful decorations, and complemented by fantastic live music.

As customary, we were greeted with a branded empty glass, and then handed a traditional wine and food chart, allowing us to embark on our tasting adventure.

Particularly, I can only draw a comparison between this year’s event and the first one I attended in 2014, and it struck me as quite substantial. However, veteran attendees assured me that previous editions were even grander.

This means that this festival has gained so much traction over time that not even the two years off due to the pandemic could affect its power.

What I witnessed then, is a testament to the resilience of the Todos Santos community as they swiftly revived this event— quite impressive in my opinion.

Gastrovino Food and Wine Festival guests enjoying the Santa Terra venue at Todos Santos BCS
Guests at Gastrovino Food and Wine Festival 2023

About the wine

To be honest, I’m just a modest wine enthusiast, but I have learned a few things about this legendary drink. My journey with wine began in my early twenties—yes, you read that correctly!

Since then, I’ve consistently favored wine over beer or any other alcoholic alternatives. Throughout the years, I’ve discovered that the best wine is always the one your tastebuds agree with the most, of course, quality cannot be missed here.

Factors like cost, region, or wine body are merely ways to categorize this delightful drink— don’t you agree?

For this occasion, I’ll do my best to share my thoughts on the standout offerings I had the pleasure of trying, bearing in mind my limitations as a person of shorter stature— I can only drink so much!

While opinions may differ, it’s always wonderful to exchange perspectives, perhaps sparking interest for others to explore something new, right? Ultimately, the day was all about celebrating food and wine. Let’s now pay tribute to this objective in the following lines 🍷

Among the winemakers, I found myself interested in some names: Xecué, Clos de Cantos, Lechuza, Desert Wine, Alximia, and Solar Fortún, just to mention a few— trust me, surely I missed really good ones for obvious reasons.

Gastrovino wine sampling at Todos Santos BCS, Mexico
Wine sampling at Gastrovino 2023

My verdict

After tasting several options, my top choices this year were Lechuza, Solar Fortún, and last but not least, Xecué.

  • Lechuza (white wine) – I was captivated by the invigorating freshness, making it an ideal companion in warm weather. It paired excellently with seafood and was equally delightful on its own.
  • Solar Fortún (red wine) – What impressed me about this brand was its impeccable balance across lighter, medium, and full-bodied wines, each maintaining a distinctive flavor profile. It’s like knowing what to expect when you choose a bottle, depending on how you want to enjoy a tasty ‘reddy’.
  • Xecué (rose) – Similar to Lechuza, I sought that crisp flavor in a rose, not too overpowering, not overly sweet; it was just perfect for the occasion, served chilled as per my preferred way of enjoying it.

Feel free to explore these brands and their captivating products whenever you encounter them at a nice restaurant or even in a wine shop. Salud!

About the food

In terms of food, I kinda know what to expect about this event; Todos Santos is a very particular alternative for a gastronomic experience. Each visit reveals new trendy eateries, predominantly offering fresh seafood and farm-to-table grilled options, conveniently lining my street.

Big clams mixed with cheese and shrimps placed on a hot grill at Gastrovino's Festival
Tiki Santos Bar menu: Grilled clams

During this event, I encountered a delightful surprise in Tiki Santos Bar. Their Peruvian ceviche was a palate-pleaser that warranted a second try.

However, the true star of the night was their paid menu alternative—the grilled clams with cheese and shrimp. At just MXN 50 each, I couldn’t resist ordering two!

My second culinary favorite was Alma Salada, which presented a tostada duo that I relished with every bite. One featured shredded meat cooked with almond “mole”, while the second tostada showcased fish and mango ceviche. Simply superb! For those interested, Alma Salada is part of the Quinta Santa Rosa Hotel.

Another noteworthy establishment was Jazamango, I didn’t have the pleasure to try any of their alternatives, but I will show up soon to explore their farm-to-table menu.

This business is becoming iconic in Todos Santos with a wide presence in town, so much, so that they were the proud hosts of the Gastrovino Food and Wine Festival 2022 and have participated in this event since their opening.

Additional culinary highlights included Dum, a superb Mediterranean cuisine restaurant, and Bonjour Madame, a delightful coffee shop and bakery offering tempting desserts.

Another personal favorite was Rancho Cacachilas, treating attendees to exquisite samples of organic salad crafted from fresh local produce.

If I’m being honest, this event offers a rich tapestry of experiences where we could unwind, groove to the jazz rhythm, savor the samplings and, of course, meet new lovely people.

What a blast!

Joyful canine lying on the floor with its belly exposed beside a woman.
Our special visitor at Gastrovino 2023

Our special comments

Well, we came to Todos Santos to enjoy this Festival and we couldn’t be happier we did. We will surely come back next year to keep learning about it— to eat and drink too.

Without anything else to add, we are thrilled with the idea of continuing to celebrate Mexican food and wine!

If you share our passion for food and wine, and you’re contemplating attending this festival or have already experienced it this year, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers to Baja Sur!

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