When our family first visited the Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California’s wine country, in 2012, our road trips took us through the small village of El Porvenir on our way to and from the region’s renowned restaurants and boutique wineries. As we passed through town, we were often greeted by firefighters from the El Porvenir volunteer Fire Department at the main intersection — and happily dropped peso coins and notes into their awaiting boots as donation.
In 2018, when I published my book Seven Days in The Valle: Baja California’s Wine Country Cuisine, I wanted to give back to the Valle, whose winemakers, chefs and hoteliers accepted us as part of their community. I remembered those fire fighters and decided to donate 20% of my profits to them, as they had dilapidated equipment in dire need of repair, upgrade and replacement.
Last month, the mettle of these men was severely tested during a spate of devastating wildfires which erupted throughout Baja California. They fought and ultimately controlled the fires, but their need for training and new equipment was sorely evident. As a result, and in a show of support, Provino Baja California and the organization Por Un Valle de Verdad have set up a fund and a series of events to benefit the bomberos.
On Tuesday, December 3rd, Provino – the organization of Baja California winemakers – are hosting Unidos Por Valle, an evening of food, wine and entertainment at the restaurant Kettner Exchange in San Diego. The event is co-hosted by Baja Food + Wine and Chef’s Roll and will showcase 15 of Baja California’s best wineries, 11 chefs from both sides of the border, craft brewers, artists, fishermen, farmers and more.
100% of the proceeds from the event will be channeled directly to Firefighters Crossing Borders, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, to benefit Bomberos Voluntarios El Porvenir. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Tax ID #: 33-1148556.
A Gringo in Mexico will be in attendance selling and signing copies of Seven Days in the Valle, with 75% of the proceeds to be donated to the fire department. There will also be a special performance by the San Diego Firefighter’s Emerald Society Bagpipes and Drums in honor of Baja’s brave firefighters.
General Admission entry at Kettner Exchange is at 7:00 PM and tickets range from $50-$150/US. The top range includes VIP (limited seating) entry at 6:30, which includes access to premium beverage service, tray-passed small plates, reserved cabana seating and donor names embedded on a brick at El Porvenir fire station. For more information on VIP access, email Fernando Gaxiola of Baja Wine + Food.
To purchase your tickets, visit:
If you can’t make it to the event, you can donate to the El Porvenir fire department via a recently established GoFundMe page in coordination with Firefighters Crossing Borders:
You can also purchase a signed copy of the book by W. Scott Koenig: 7 Days in The Valle: Baja California’s Wine Country Cusine and we will donate 75% of our profits on books sold through December 31, 2019.
Participating Baja California Chefs:
Drew Deckman (Deckman’s en El Mogor)
Benito Molina & Solange Muris (Manzanillo)
Sheyla Alvarado (Traslomita, Lunario)
Adria Montaño (Georgina, Don Ramen)
Ruffo Ibarra (Oryx Capital)
Participating San Diego Chefs:
Brian Redzikowski (Kettner Exchange)
Brad Wise (Trust)
Claudette Zepeda (Formerly of Bracero, El Jardin)
John Bautista (Common Theory)
Martin San Roman (Dobson’s)
Cheese tasting with Fromager Jack Ford
Craft Beer from Border Psycho (Tijuana), Cerveceria Transpeninsular (Ensenada) and Colibre (Tecate).
VIP Cabana Beverage Service by Los Javis Mezcal, Tequila Forteleza and Border X Brewing.
Kettner Exchange is located at 2001 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA. (619) 255-2001.