Friday, February 7, 2014 at 6 a.m.
The wine and food industry in Baja has good reason to be smiling
Photo courtesy of Por un Valle de Verdad
Two days ago, Ensenada's new government ended months of uncertainty in the Valle de Guadalupe and initiated the process to cancel the unpopular Sectorial Program for the Urban Touristic Development of the Wine Producing Valleys, which threatened to drastically transform Mexico top wine region into a highly unsustainable model for touristic purposes.
Por un Valle de Verdad
, a home-grown movement consisting of winemakers, chefs, hoteliers and farmers in the Valle de Guadalupe, has been fighting this land reuse proposal that was passed into policy in a closed door session, since the beginning. They even threatened to cancel Vendimias, the Valle's annual wine harvest festival. Between their press conferences, attendance at council meetings and social media activism, they've managed to garner local support and attract international attention to their cause to recall the proposal by the loathsome, ex-governor, Enrique Pelayo Torres
. For now it's hands off the Valle de Guadalupe, and a big win for Baja wine and food--and yes--Vendimias is on!
The council further agreed not to publish the controversial legislation into the state ledger, which is the standard practice for putting a new piece of legislation into effect. The Síndico Procurador (Municipal attorney), Iván Alonso Barbosa Ochoa, of Ensenada's XXI Ayuntamiento, or government reasoned that the land reuse was a serious violation of local autonomy in the Valle de Guadalupe.
Twitter feeds of famous chefs and winemakers were alive with celebratory messages from friends and supporters all over Baja California.
Monte Xanic's legendary winemaker, Hans Backhoff, tweeted, "congratulations to all who helped us with this initiative." Top Mexican Chef, Benito Molina of Manzanilla wrote, "the regulation change for land use in the Valle de Guadalupe has been cancelled, we won--Vendimias is on!"
Others cheered but vowed to prepare themselves for any other battles that should arise--who says Mexico doesn't have grassroots democracy?
Now, if they'll just fix that damn highway
, we can all get back to some serious drinking!--congratulations to those that fought the good fight.