Vine of the times: Urban wineries offer San Diegans a grape escape
The San Diego Urban Wineries (sdurbanwineries.com) alliance, which offers a $35 vino passport good for tastings at 11 local wineries, now has more than a dozen member vintners. Here’s a look at who’s getting crafty with grapes around the county.
Abnormal Wine Company
Tucked into a Rancho Bernardo industrial park, this winery is set within a restaurant, alongside Abnormal Beer Company’s brewing operation. Popular varietals include malbec, zinfandel, chardonnay and a chocolate berry port.
16990 Via Tazon, Rancho Bernardo, 858.618.2463, abnormalwine.co
Located in Escondido’s historic vineyard district, BK Cellars is the first winery to receive a license within city limits in 80 years. The grapes used here come from locales across California, including nearby Temecula.
2225 Barham Dr., Suite D, Escondido, 760.270.9851, bkcellars.com
Blue Door Winery
Promising “a sizeable pinch of wonder and romance,” this Morena Boulevard winery encourages patrons to watch and participate in the winemaking process. Wine-making tips for home projects are available to go.
4060 Morena Blvd., Bay Ho, 858.274.4292, thebluedoorwinery.com
California Fruit Wine
Offering flavors including mango, pineapple, pomegranate and pumpkin spice, California Fruit Wines invites San Diegans to “Join us on a journey of your taste buds and prepare to expand your horizon” at its new tasting room at the site of the former Vinavanti Urban Winery. Read more about the company and the twin brothers in charge, here.
1477 University Ave., Hillcrest, 877.484.6282, californiafruitwine.com
See Adam Carruth’s interview here.
Solana Beach: 118 S. Cedros Ave., #C; Carlsbad: 2727 State St., #110, Carlsbad, 858.847.9463, carruthcellars.com
Sourcing grapes from Rattlesnake Hills in Washington state, Gianni Buonomo Vintners focuses on a variety of grapes (including cabernet, syrah, mourvedre, petit verdot) in its blends. Its single-varietal offerings include Sangiovese and Blaufränkisch. Look for interesting soil, climate and history notes on the company’s website.
4836 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach, 619.991.9911, gbvintners.com
Koi Zen Cellars
Promoting the hashtag #UncorkSipBackRelax, Koi Zen aims to create “a space where one can take a break from life, reconnect with people and have really great wine without traveling very far.” Its eight-part wine-tasting series helps would-be connoisseurs understand a wine’s bouquet, ratings and more.
12225 World Trade Drive, Suite P, Carmel Mountain Ranch, 858.381.2675, koizencellars.com
LJ Crafted Wines
Producing elegant whites, reds and rosés from Napa Valley and Sonoma, owner Lowell Joost has more than two decades of winemaking experience, which began at Klein Constantia, his family’s famed estate in South Africa. The winery promotes sustainability through its wine-growler and bottle-redemption programs. Read more about this urban winery here.
5621 La Jolla Blvd., Bird Rock, La Jolla, 858.551.8890, ljcraftedwines.com
The first and only urban winery in North Park, Négociant sources its grapes from regions in California and Washington state. Look for popular varietals of sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and zinfandel, along with blends and more unique varietals of Touriga Nacional and Nebbiolo.
2419 El Cajon Blvd. B, North Park, 619.535.1747, negociantwinery.com
Among San Diego’s first urban wineries, San Pasqual produces fruit and traditional-grape wines in three locations: one in Seaport Village, two in La Mesa. Its award-winning malbec represented California in a competition held in Cahors, France, the traditional home of the varietal.
Marina District: 805 W. Harbor Dr., 619.544.9463; La Mesa: 8364 La Mesa Blvd., 619.462.1797 and 8140 Center St., 619.469.9463.
Solterra Winery & Kitchen
Located a few blocks from the beach, this North County winery offers reds, whites, rosés and dessert wines, which pair nicely with the venue’s bustling happy hour and full brunch, lunch and dinner menus.
934 N. Coast Highway 101, Leucadia, Encinitas, 760.230.2970, solterrawinery.com
Snowboarders sometimes refer to two skiers as “two plankers.” Although the term may be derogative on the slopes, it stands for top quality from this Fallbrook vineyard that operates a winery and tasting room in Vista.
2379 La Mirada Dr., Vista, 858.500.7757, 2plankvineyards.com
Named among the “2014 Winemakers to Watch” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Vesper Vineyards produces wines that are offered at upper-echelon San Diego restaurants including Coasterra on Harbor Island and Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe.
298 Enterprise St., Suite D, Escondido, 760.749.1300,
Witch Creek Winery
One of San Diego’s oldest urban wineries, the recently renovated Witch Creek Winery produces up to 26 wines per year - and it has been filling wine glasses since 1993.
Carlsbad: 2906 Carlsbad Blvd., 760.720.7499; Julian: 2000 Main St., Suite 106, 760.765.2023. witchcreekwinery.com
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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