Here are 10 San Diego wineries and vineyards that you don’t want to miss out on the next time you’re in California!
For the first time, San Diego County, and its surrounding neighbors are beginning to pop up more and more in the conversation between wine lovers around the country. Generally, not the first place anyone would associate with wineries and vineyards, several San Diego wineries and vineyards are establishing themselves as an elite wine making region. From edgy urban wineries to vast vineyards with comfortable and sophisticated tasting areas, San Diego wineries seem to have it all.
So, if your searching for the best places to raise a toast, or take a taste testing tour (or ten), we’ve put together a list of the top 10 San Diego wineries and vineyards you must visit the next time you’re in Southern California.
1. 2Plank Vineyards
Credit: 2Plank Vineyards
Skiing fanatics David Bridgeman and Jason Wimp are responsible for the 2Plank Vineyards. The name of the vineyard, “2Plank”, coming from a popular slang meaning “skiers.” It sits perched on a mountain just a hair to the south of Temecula in Fallbrook. The owners chose the mountaintop for its fertile volcanic soils as well as its ideal maritime breezes. A combination which results in an excellent environment for growing grapes for wine making. The location makes the usage of machinery practically impossible, so all the work on the vineyard is done the old fashioned way – by hand!
The 2Plank Vineyards tasting room is open to the public Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can even bring your snacks! The vineyard has a 5 out of 5 stars rating based on Yelp reviews. They also have a moderately expensive price range rating via Yelp.
2. Orfila Winery
Credit: Orfila Vineyards & Winery / Facebook
The second winery on our list is the Orfila Vineyards; an impressive 70 acre spread located just outside of San Diego. The vineyard has been growing grapes and making wine for nearly five decades. Today, it produces over 40 acres of fine wine grapes. The vineyard itself lies on an agricultural preserve owned by the city. It has an outside tasting room with some of the most fantastic views San Diego’s surrounding nature. The main tasting room is the size of a small warehouse and is adequate for serving large crowds from all four sides of the building. The winery also has a picnic area located near the grape arbor for enjoying your wine in the outdoors.
The Orfila Winery is open every day from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. There are snacks available in the tasting room. The winery has a 4 out of 5 stars rating based on Yelp reviews. It also has a moderate price range rating by Yelp.
3. Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard
Credit: Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard
The next vineyard on our list is an award-winning winemaker from Ramona, CA with excellent spirits as well as spectacular mountain views. Furthermore, Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard has some of the most affordable menus around. The winery hosts a complimentary tour offering in-depth wine making information along with a barrel tasting. There is also a picnic facility on the grounds so that you can bring the whole family along. The fact that pets are welcome in the winery goes even further in marking the Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard as an even greater family-oriented establishment as well. Did I forget to mention that the tasting menu starts at less than $10, and the Sangria is to die for?
The hours of operation at the Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard is 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars via Yelp reviews. It is also rated as moderately pricey by Yelp.
4. Blue Door Urban Winery
Credit: The Blue Door Winery / Facebook
Another of the San Diego wineries that is great for tasting, picking up education on wine, as well as having a good time, is the Blue Door Urban Winery. It is a full production winery which offers visitors to get involved with the wine making process if they want to do more than watch. Blue Door is one of the best wineries around if you’re going to improve your overall knowledge of everything wine and vineyards related. One of the most significant aspects of Blue Door that sets it apart from other wineries, even more, is the entertainment. Live music, stand-up comedy, and course tastings are all part of the regular venue. If you’re a sangria lover, make sure to catch a Sangria Sunday event where drinks are only five bucks.
5. Pali Wine Company
Credit: Pali Wine Company / Facebook
The Pali Wine Company is the brainchild of Scott Knight and Tim Perr, entrepreneurs from Pacific Palisades, California. The name “Pali” is a reference to their home stomping grounds. Pali Wine Company produces more than 20,000 cases of wine annually using Central Coast grapes. The vineyard is located in Little Italy and has a relaxing rooftop deck for tastings. There are several favorite and affordable wines on the menu to choose from. Pali is another vineyard that takes their entertainment seriously; they host live music, weekly specials, and 90s throwback Thursday events.
The Pali Wine Company tasting rooms all have different hours, so be sure to check their website for specifics before you plan a visit. The winery has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars via Yelp reviews. It is also rated with a moderate price range by Yelp.
6. Koi Zen Cellars Urban Winery
Credit: Koi Zen Cellars Craft Winery / Facebook
One San Diego winery well-known for excellent wine as well as going out of their way to make each guest feel at home like part of the family is the Koi Zen Cellars Urban Winery. Tastings start as low as $10 and consist of anywhere from four to six new releases always on hand. For those who’re less sociable, there are also private tastings available for $25 per head. Tasting at the Koi Zen Cellars Urban Winery feels more like hanging out at a close friend or relatives than being in public. Lectures, live music, and classes about wine, arts, and crafts are just a handful of the types of events regularly held at the winery.
The Koi Zen Cellars Urban Winery is open for business Tuesday through Thursday between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, Friday and Saturday between 12:00 pm and 9:00 pm, as well as Sunday from 12:00 – 6:00 pm. rated as 5 out of 5 stars via Yelp reviews. It is also rated as moderately pricey by Yelp.
7. Bernardo Winery
Credit: The Bernardo Winery
The Bernardo Winery is one of the oldest and renowned continuously operating wineries in all of Southern California. Family owned and founded in 1927 the winery currently has the better part of a century under its belt and is still going strong. For almost 100 years the Bernardo Winery has produced fine wine with San Diego grapes including Sangiovese, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. The grounds feature more than a dozen artisan galleries and one-of-a-kind shops as well as their tasting room. There is also a kitchen and restaurant, and even an area for private events of just about any occasion. The antique equipment and architecture make the Bernardo Winery an excellent venue for those interested in history. Children are welcome, as it is a family-friendly establishment, however, pets are not allowed on the premise.
8. Espinosa Vineyards and Winery
Credit: Espinosa Vineyards / Facebook
Another Southern California family-owned winery and vineyard with a long history is the Espinosa Vineyards and Winery. The family began planting grapes in the 1890’s. Their first winery was established in the 1930’s but wasn’t long-lived. In 2008, after a century of being absent from the industry, the family revived their land. Today, the winery produces upwards of 500 cases of their signature Spanish wines annually.
9. Milagro Winery
Credit: Milagro Winery / Facebook
The next winery and vineyard on our list is the award winning Milagro Winery; a picturesque Southern California spread including manicured vineyards, olive and apple orchards, and more. Hugo D’Acosta, a second-generation pro winemaker, oversees all production at the winery. The tasting room joins to the outdoor patio where you can sit and enjoy conversation, or pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors. The winery is tucked away in Ramona Valley.
The Milagro Winery is open for tastings Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm. They have a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from Yelp reviews. The winery also has a moderate rated price range via Yelp.
10. Hawk Watch Winery
Credit: Hawk Watch Winery
Last but far from least is a newcomer to the list of success San Diego wineries is Hawk Watch Winery. The winery employs old world wine making procedures on all four of their separate single-variety vineyards. The Hawk Watch Winery tasting room is between Temecula and Julian. The grounds include chairs and picnic areas to sit back and enjoy the gorgeous mountain views. As far as bang for your buck, Hawk Watch Winery tastings start at a $12 fee, which includes six different types of wines and a crystal Hawk Watch wine glass to take home as well.
Hawk Watch Winery is open to the public Friday 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars from Yelp reviews. The winery also has a Yelp price range rating of moderate.
As San Diego Wineries continue to gain notoriety in 2018, there is no better time than now to visit!
In the past, San Diego was probably the last place to come to mind when discussing wineries and vineyards in Southern California, this much is true. Today, however, that is all rapidly changing once and for good. Local San Diego wineries and vineyards, both new and old, are gaining more and more well-deserved attention from wine lovers across the country. Indeed, they are gaining recognition from wine lovers all over the globe. And with so many vineyards and wineries less than an hour drive from the city, there is no excuse not to treat yourself to a taste testing session the next time you’re in the San Diego area!
Have you recently visited one of the San Diego wineries featured on our list? Or do you know about a San Diego winery or vineyard that wasn’t on our list, that you’d like to share about with our readers? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments section below. If you’re planning for an extended stay in California, check out our article on the top places to go and things to do in California!
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