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By Susan A. Mahalick

September 6, 2014 (Baja, Mexico)--Nestled up in the golden hills is a winery that is the vision of another one of our women winemakers here in Baja. The location of this venue was determined by the location of the Pretty Horses Rescue ranch. This part of Baja and horses go together with wine tasting as a natural outcome of blending two favorite activities of residents down here. There is a hitching post at the tasting room and plans are to build a horse trail around the ranch property.

Robin MacKenzie is also going to develop an outdoor kitchen with grilling area for Dine in the Vine events. Some of the proceeds from events at the tasting room go to supporting the many needs of the rescued animals.

Krytal Redmon also had a vision for ranch for rescued horses and Randy Redmon is the co-founder. The ranch consists of eight dogs, five cats, assorted goats, ducks, chickens and potbellied pigs. Twenty three horses are stabled with ten to twelve who can be ridden. The rest will serve out their retirement as they are either too old, have injuries or both.

Rides are $45 for the day and lessons are available. One can also bring their own horse and explore the nearby hills. Camping is available as there is water, and restrooms, and tables can be moved.  I am told the road across the way would take you to Tecate, but it is the slowest possible route going through many hills and ranches.  The tasting room is on the property for Black Cross wines.

Robin was a producer of documentaries, films and plays up in Southern California. She produced the Women Filmmaker Series for the San Diego Film Festival for three years. She admits that her favorite job may well have been being a lifeguard in her forties for Navy Seals. Another claim she can make is being a producer and star in the enigmatic documentary Baja Blondes which was created to promote Baja also starring Debbie Shine and Susannah Stehr, who owns Susannah’s restaurant in Rosarito.  Robin worked at San Diego Home & Garden magazine.

There are 1900 vines on three acres of Sauvignon Blanc, and very few are growing this varietal in Baja. She laughs when she mentions that one of her teachers emphasized that vines are just weeds to take some of the scariness out of the concept of growing your own grapes. Cutting the vines way back seems painful to her but it encourages deeper roots.

I attended one of her events recently, which was a Book Exchange and Rose Tasting party on a Wednesday afternoon. Robin makes her own Rosé which is 100% Australian Grenache she calls Pink Moon. We were also treated to Josefina, 100% Syrah from Paso Robles, Côtes de Provence Rosé from France, Madam Rosé, 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and Mouvèdre from France. She paired her wines with a Kalamata olive bread and her signature infused olive oil, black olives stuffed with Gorgonzola, bacon drizzled with white and dark chocolate, various goat cheeses, crackers and cheesecake bites with raspberry sauce that were brought out and served near the end of the tasting.

In the near future we can expect some other fine wine tasting events including: Thursday, September 11th Thelma & Louise Party “Ladies Only"; Thursday, October 16thOur Favorite Wine Movie, "Sideways" will be screened at Black Cross Tasting Room; and more to come in November and December at this happening place.

Directions provided by Robin:

Puerto Nuevo bridge near Cantamar. Go over bridge and stay to the right, follow signs to Rancho Guzman and keep going to top of hill for tasting room of Black Cross wines

From the South: Toll Road to Cantamar exit. Head North on Free Road about 1/4 mile. You will see a small white bridge. Turn left just BEFORE the bridge. Do not go under the bridge. There is a small feed store where the turn off is. Then go over the bridge and take the first right hair-pin turn. Follow signs to Rancho Guzman, Pretty Horses, and Black Cross wine tasting. You will come to a Y in the road, a small store is located, bear right, stay on this road all the way to Pretty Horses Ranch/Black Cross Winery.

It's about a mile past Rancho Guzman. Bumpy road. Open the red gate, enter, then please close gate behind you. Follow cobble stone road up the hill!

From the North: Toll Road to Puerto Nuevo exit. Go South on free road. Pass Las Ventanas, then watch for white bridge. Turn right immediately after going under bridge. Follow directions as stated from there.

Black CrossTasting Room varying hours, email for information.

Pretty Horses Rescue and Riding Krystal

Information on Susan's book and to purchase here.



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