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With a mild Mediterranean climate, rich fertile soil and more unique growing regions than any other county in America, it’s no surprise that wine grapes thrive here and that San Diego has become a top wine destination.
While wine-producing regions to the north in Temecula and the south in Mexico's Guadalupe Valley have drawn more national attention, San Diego wineries are the real hidden gems. You can find them along the coast, tucked into the fertile North County farmland, up in the mountains, amidst the rugged terrain of East County—even in many urban and commercial neighborhoods. Most are small, family owned, and offer tastings and tours by friendly proprietors eager to tell visitors all about the hard work and artistry that goes into making wine. Here are a few of the San Diego wineries and tasting rooms that are definitely worth a visit.
Where: 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, San Diego, CA 92128
Founded in 1889, Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo is the oldest continuously operating winery in Southern California. Guests can explore the sprawling property (home to 2,500 vines), browse more than a dozen shops on site and visit the tasting room where there is a wide variety of gift items and more than 30 local wines available to try.
Where: 118 S Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach, CA 92075
When you visit this winery on Cedros in the artsy enclave of Solana Beach, you'll experience a fully operational winery in an urban setting just blocks from the beach. They source their grapes from vineyards in Northern California but the fruit is crushed, pressed, fermented, barreled, aged and bottled right there on site in San Diego.
Where: 2215 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
An oasis among the hustle and bustle of one of San Diego’s busiest culinary neighborhoods, the Carruth Cellars Wine Garden offers a full tasting room on Kettner Blvd as well as a secluded outdoor patio complete with potted plants and flowers, lanterns, and a relaxed ambiance.
Where: 17872 Oak Grove Road, Ramona, CA 92065
Sip on award winning wines on a spacious outdoor patio overlooking 3,000 vines. Wines include Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, and Tempranillo.
Where: 3255 Summit Drive, Escondido, CA 92025
Hungry Hawk Vineyards & Winery specializes in estate grown Spanish, Bordeaux, and Rhone varietals - hand crafted from vine to bottle. They have expanded to fifteen different varietals grown on a 10 acre property while practicing minimalist and sustainable farming.
Where: 23123 Vista Ramona Road, Ramona, CA 92065
La Finquita, which means "the little farm," has been cultivating its eight acres in Ramona since 1988. Charlie and Jess Koehler—the youngest vintners and winery owners in Ramona—produce a well-rounded collection of reds, whites and dessert wines.
Where: 2130 India Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Located near the heart of Little Italy, Pali Wine’s tasting room features Pali wine flights of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Bordeaux and Rhone blends from their second label Tower 15. Enjoy a glass on the backyard patio or on the roof top deck overlooking Little Italy.
Where: 1551 Fourth Avenue, Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92101
The exclusive purveyors of boutique wines from sustainable, family-owned vineyards, Quigley Fine Wines aims to use this new venture to bring unique varietals from around the globe to customers in an approachable and educational environment. The tasting room is the first of its kind in San Diego, designed to be comfortable and welcoming.
Where: 35960 Rancho California R, Temecula, CA 92591
Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards is located in Southern California's wine country, in Temecula Valley. Family owned and operated since 1996, Wilson Creek is known for its Almond Champagne and Chocolate Port.
Where: 33133 Vista Del Monte, Temecula, CA 92591
Retreat to this valley-less-traveled for spectacular views, masterful gardens, and favorite varietals including popular "More Cowbell" Zinfandel, Cabernet, Viognier, and Syrah.
Where: 16990 Via Tazon, #123, San Diego, CA 92127
Abnormal has sought to create a warm welcoming environment for those interested in wine. Stop by Abnormal’s The Cork And Craft restaurant to work on your wine knowledge with the head chef’s tasting menu or wine and beer dinners.
Where: 1120 W 15th Avenue, Escondido, CA 92025
San Diego county's historic winery, located minutes off the freeway in Escondido occupies the former Ferrara Winery. Forgotten Barrel restored this historic venue and now offers award winning wine from both San Diego county and features wines from our Napa winery.
Where: 4836 Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107
The award-winning, fully-functioning winery is just steps from the Pacific surf in the heart of Ocean Beach. One step inside the tasting room and you're instantly awash in the unmistakable aroma of fine wine aging in French oak barrels. It doesn't take long after that for you to sense their genuine enthusiasm and passion for wine making.
Where: 27054 Chihuahua Valley Rd, Warner Springs, CA 92086
Located in the mountains near Warner Springs, Hawk Watch Winery uses old world winemaking techniques that result in full-bodied, bold reds and crisp, elegant whites. The entire winemaking process - from crushing the freshly picked grapes to bottling the finished wine - is done on-premises. Take your glass outside to sit and enjoy sweeping mountain vistas.
Vineyard - 298 Enterprise Street Suite D, Escondido, CA 92029
This picturesque vineyard sits high in the foothills of Palomar Mountain with an ocean view 30 miles to the west. Their Oceanside tasting room, just a few blocks from the beach, is open for bottles of their Rhone and Iberian varietals including Albariños and Rosados.
Where: 1150 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian, CA 92036
Julian's Menghini Winery is nestled in the foothills of Volcan Mountain and is surrounded by apple orchards and a six-acre vineyard. They produce 4,000 cases of wine each year, which can be sampled outdoors or in their tasting room.
Where: 18750 - C Littlepage Rd, Ramona, CA 92065
Located in San Diego's eastern (and vineyard rich) community of Ramona, this boutique winery has been in business since 2006. With more than 10,000 vines in the ground, Milagro produces just a few thousand wonderful cases of estate-grown wine per year, including reds, whites and even the uncommon Aleatico. The vineyard is currently overseen by the preeminent Mexican winemaker, Hugo d'Acosta.
Where: 13455 San Pasqual Rd, Escondido, CA 92025
Orfila Vineyards & Winery is one of San Diego's largest producers. Nestled in the picturesque San Pasqual Valley on the Escondido city line, this winery produces a rich variety of high-quality wines, including award-winning Rhone-style reds and luscious Pinot Noirs (a few recently received scores in the 90s from Wine Enthusiast). A large tasting room and a beautiful sprawling patio with views of the mountains and the 70-acre property make Orfila an especially enticing location.
La Mesa - 8364 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
Seaport Village - 805 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
San Pasqual Winery is an urban micro winery with locations in La Mesa and Downtown San Diego. Winemaker Linda McWilliams (who is also president of the San Diego Vintners Association) uses grapes grown in local vineyards to produce full-flavored wines that are accessible, easy to drink and very satisfying for warm weather al fresco dining (especially the rosé!).
Where: 34680 Hwy 79, Warner Springs, CA 92086
Located near Warner Springs, Shadow Mountain Vineyards is a third-generation family-owned estate vineyard and winery that was first planted in 1945. The winery specializes in limited production white and red table wines grown from the grapes on the estate, as well as numerous sparkling wines and dessert wines.
Where: 1255 Julian Orchards Dr, Julian, CA 92036
In order to visit Menghini, you'll have to drive right by Volcan Mountain, which shares the same road. This small family-run operation is now headed up by Jim Hart, a veteran winemaker whose family has a long history in developing both the Temecula and San Diego wine regions. Hart produces a nice variety of reds and whites (the Syrah is a standout) at this property, which is one of the highest vineyards in the state at 4,200 feet above sea level.
Where: 2906 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA 92008
Witch Creek Winery is located on historic Highway 101 in the heart of Carlsbad Village. It produces (mostly red) wines using grapes from other regions and bottles them at their location in Carlsbad. Their Carlsbad tasting room - just one block from the beach - now includes a coffee bar.
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