Amado Garza, the man behind Baja California's Viñas de Garza, didn't start out to be a winemaker. A chance in encounter with Hugo d'Acosta, a French trained winemaker who breathed life back into Baja wine production and has become the face of the Baja wine movement, led him into the vineyards. After years of building up his winery, Garza is bringing his love of Baja and Baja wine to the Big Apple for the Baja Meets NYC wine and food festival.
Garza grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, where he met and fell in love with his wife, Ana. For the last 27 years, they’ve lived and raised a family in Baja California and nurtured a vineyard that’s turned into a booming winery. Years ago, Garza owned and worked at a lumberyard in Ensenada, near the entrance of the Valle de Guadalupe. Through his work, Garza met D’Acosta and discovered that he loved the land around him and what D’Acosta was doing, revitalizing the then struggling Baja wine culture. So 15 years ago, Garza founded Rancho Mogorcito and turned it into the Viñas de Garza winery. What began as 3 hectares of land is now 15 and in 2009, Garza released his wine.
Viñas de Garza is an extremely personal project to the whole Garza family including Amado’s wife Ana, and their daughters. Garza helped design the property and has spent years on the details, down to building the tables on the patio. And though it has taken years to develop, for Garza, it’s been worth the wait.
“If you like something enough you will learn how to make it work,” Garza said. “I came to the ranch every single day and used that as my therapy.”
And a very personal therapy it has been. Garza is adamant about producing top quality wines and so, they’re never produced in high volumes. Viñas de Garza will always remain a boutique winery, with select levels of wines, offered at an appropriate amount of production.
“I do it all at a personal level,” Garza said. “This entire project is very personal to me. Of course I have support, but I like to be hands on with everything.”
Garza prefers wines with strong, bold flavors, full of tannins and you can definitely taste the passion and care that goes into the family’s wines.
“To have a great wine, you have to have great vineyards,” Garza said. “You have to keep close care of your grapes and this will reflect in your wines. It is always quality over quantity to me.”
And though Garza has been retired now for just over year, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t show up to the family’s property every day that he can. His wife and daughters continue to be of great support to him and always have been. On asking what the Valle de Guadalupe means to him, and his family he replied, “The valley is my home. This is where I live, and where I want to die. All of my experience in this project comes from everything that I have learned throughout my entire life.”
And now, Garza will be bringing that experience to New York City. “We want the world to know who we are. In the valley there are great wines, and a lot of people don’t even know that we produce wine. We want everyone to know about the wines, the restaurants, and everything that we have here. It is an absolute honor.”
Garza and his wines will be participating in four Baja Meets NYC events: two dedicated wine tastings at Casa Mezcal and Octavio Paz Gallery at the Mexican Consulate, as well as a paired wine dinner cooked by Chef Drew Deckman at Julian Medina's Toloache Thompson Street, and an 8-course paired dinner with all chefs and winemakers at Hotel Americano. For tickets click here.