Bringing Mexican wine in from Baja

I read that if you cross the border “via common carrier” you may bring in up to five cases or 60 liters rather than the usual one liter.

Anybody know which if any transportation from Tijuana to San Diego is a common carrier?

Guess you have to take a cruise ship down to Ensenada. Seems more trouble than it is worth. Don’t know if one of the Mexican bus companies that take passengers up to East LA or Huntington Park counts as a common carrier.

I guess you just ship it via Fed Ex, Yellow, DHL, or the like?

Only if they are routinely crossing the border. I’ve shipped artesania from central Mexico directly to my home via DHL. Not cheap, but it got there quickly and in one piece.

Taxi cabs and tour buses (such as Mexi-Coach or 5-Star) do not count as common carriers. Even if you arrive at the border via common carrier - say a Greyhound bus for example - you still have to disembark with ALL your belongings and clear immigration and customs as a pedestrian and then reboard the bus on the other side. Trying to lug 5 or 6 cases of wine through the SY port of entry on foot would be insane, not to mention lugging it to the location where the buses reload.

I suppose you could take a 3 or 4 day cruise from LA or SD that only goes to Ensenada, or do they even do those any more. Grab a cab in Ensenada, go up to the Valle, load up on wine and then disembark back in SD or LA. Mexican wine is not cheap and this option would certainly not be particularly cost effective :wink:

The more simple is to order on
I live in Austin, I tried after visited the Guadalupe Valley, they have a huge selection of wines (30) from Aborigen, Casa de Piedra, Firmamento, La Escuelita, Malagon, Paralelo, Tres Valles, Vinas de Garza…
I ordered 12 bottles and they delivered them directly to my door step in 4 days!

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Here’s another source:

and one more:

Tanks DrChow! :wink:
The prices on sdwinebank are higher than LMAwines (they carry some of the same wines) but I didn’t know them, thanks for the link!
I personally think LMAwines choose to have the quantity and the quality:
Casa de Piedra and Vinas de Garza have probably some of the best wines of the world for me.
It’s good to see things are moving in the USA about wines from Mexico :slight_smile:

I’m with you on Viñas Garza. I am very fond of their Amado IV. SD Wine Bank often carries it but at $50+ a bottle.

Could there possibly be sanctioned path to someone forming a co-operative of some kind for Baja Wines?

Vintage wines on Miramar has the Amado IV for around $40. Just bought some last week.


Perfect for San Diego citizens :wink:
They have like a full wall of Mexican wines and also Mexican champagnes! I came here few times :wink:

I love Baja. I go often. I love the food, the people, the wine, etc, etc.

But the wine simply isn’t that good. It’s delicious, drinkable, reflects the terrior, and I enjoy it often when down there. But for the $35-50 they charge up here, it’s overpriced (not a word I use loosely). It’s not a $50 value wine- it’s a $20 wine. It’s a Argentinian Malbec-kind of wine. A Kirkland wine (I like that, too).

Go ahead, take your shot at my lack of taste and sophistication, my pedestrian understanding of the subtle nuances of the palate. I’m the guy who elevates Super Sergio’s to cuisine.

But it just ain’t all that.


I hear ya. I’ll take a Sierra Foothills or a Paso Robles wine all day at the same price point.

I am going to hype another spot. The town of Winters has a couple of tasting rooms in town, and the wines were pretty decent. Winters is on the way from Sacramento to Napa, if you take the route up past Lake Berryessa. I enjoyed the ambience and without the attitude and crowds of Napa. That being said, I also am a huge fan of the Central Coast but I tend to drink more the stuff found down in Edna Valley than the Paso wines.

Yeah I’m lucky enough to have a number of very close friends who own vineyards and wineries in Paso. I have been going for decades and working crush etc., so have a ton of friends and acquaintances in the Industry. I get access to some great wine at great prices, so it’s hard for spend my wine $$$ elsewhere, but I am more than happy to support our nascent winemakers in SD county and think some of the wines in SD are way better values (quality to price ratio) than anything I’ve had from Temecula or VDG. I am even considering starting a high tech analytical wine lab to support SoCal wineries!

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In logistics terms, “common carrier” means XPO, Covenant, Estes, Yellow Freight, etc. You’d have to find an LTL trucker that runs from TJ to SF. There are some. might help.

That said, I agree with [quote=“FakeName, post:12, topic:3427”]
But the wine simply isn’t that good.

There are some decent values. Here are some notes from a visit to GDL in 2012:


L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo: this is is my ex-pat friend’s everyday wine. Reliable, good, relatively reasonable price. Too oaky for me.

  • Monte Xanic Chenin Blanc: off-dry, good acid, if I’d tasted blind I’ve have taken it for a Vouvray. Great if you like that style. I don’t know what it cost in Mexico but it’s $12 at Baja Wines in San Diego.
  • Badan Chasselas de Mogor 2010 12.3% $263 ($20): could pass for French, fruity, tart, simple, everyday southern style
  • Viñas Pijoan Silvana 2011 (48% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Chenin Blanc, Moscatel 12%) 11.6% $228 ($17): Could pass for Sonoma, similar value; fruity nose, fruity and slightly Maasia-herbal on palate, tart, dry finish
  • Viñas Pijoan Paulinha 2010 (55% Zinfandel, 15% Merlot, 15% Petite Sirah, 15% Barbera) 13.3% $228 ($17): delicate, tasty, food-friendly


  • Casa de Piedra Espuma de Piedra Barbera (blanc de noirs) NV 12.5% $390 ($29): lovely pinkish-orange color, cava-like nose, a bit sweet on the palate, slightly grapefruity sour-sweet finish; okay but way overpriced
  • JC Bravo Palomino 2011 10.6% $186 ($14): somewhat herbal / rosemary nose like Malvasia; light, fruity, very dry, slight tannin & acid, slightly oxidized? But not unpleasantly so; slightly piney finish; if tasted blind, would probably have guessed Greek. Not reminiscent of Spanish Palominos I’ve had
  • Viñas de Garza Blanco del Rancho Mogorcito 2011 (Sauvignon Blanc & Chardonnay) 12.5% $263 ($20): good gooseberry / cat pee, nice acid, tasty, pleasant, could pass for Napa / Sonoma, similarly (over)priced


Thanks For the great intel. One question why are the bottle prices less than the case price? I.e. its cheaper to buy by the bottle than by the case?

Those are pesos and dollars, not cases and bottles.

Ahh . . . I should have known