12 Best Wineries Near San Diego
Southern California isn’t typically the first place that pops into most people’s minds when they think of wine country. The region has been almost entirely off most wine lovers’ radar, but local vintners are quickly helping put the region on the map with a range of wines to try from your local winery.
If you’re looking for a place to raise a glass around San Diego, you’ll find an array of vineyards ranging from sprawling countryside estates to urban industrial establishments—all of which easily rival their northern counterparts.
Jason Wimp and David Bridgeman have incorporated their love of skiing into their vineyard, named from a slang word for skiers, and located on a steep mountain just south of Temecula in Fallbrook.
The mountaintop's rich volcanic soils and maritime breezes are ideal conditions for growing the best winemaking grapes. Since working the land with machines is infeasible, the growers do all the farming by hand.
Wine connoisseurs say you can taste the earth in the small-batch wines from this vineyard. The tasting room is open to the public Thursday to Sunday, and guests are invited to bring their own treats to enjoy with the wine.
Baily Vineyard and Winery
As some of the first wine producers in Temecula, the Baily family planted its first vineyard in 1982. The wines are now produced from grapes grown in four different vineyards throughout the region. The variation in soils helps cultivate the best flavor in the different grape varietals.
Two different tasting rooms and a delicious restaurant invite guests to enjoy the best possible experience.
Orfila Vineyards and Winery
This picturesque estate in Escondido is owned by Alejandro Orfila, the former Argentinian Ambassador to the United States.
Stop by for a picnic on your way to the San Diego Safari Park, or make an entire day of the experience. Free tours are offered daily at the Escondido tasting room. Another tasting room is located in Julian. The facility offers many community events, including weekly food truck visits and live music.
Briar Rose Winery
Fairytale fans will find Briar Rose quite familiar. The boutique winery calls itself “The Land of Enchantment.”
Before it was a winery, Briar Rose was a large plot of land that was purchased by Beldon Fields, one of the artisans who designed Disneyland’s Toon Town, and built reproductions of Snow White’s cottage on the property.
When Fields sold the land in the early 1990s, new owners Les and Dorian Linkogle promised to leave the original cottages untouched. The family enjoyed the land’s enchantment, soon realized it was ideal for growing grapes, and opened their own winery in 2007.
Briar Rose is open to the public from Thursday to Monday. Reservations are required. Also, leave the kids at home—no one under 21 is allowed on the property.
Spanish wine isn’t often the focus of West Coast vineyards, but this family-owned micro-winery produces about 500 cases of it every year.
Espinosa is one of the oldest wineries in the area and has experienced a turbulent history. With the first grapes planted in 1893, a commercial winery was founded in 1936 but only lasted about 14 years. In 1950, the grounds were transformed into a machine shop. Then the remaining vestiges of the original vineyard were burned in the 2007 San Diego wildfires.
The Espinosas successfully revived the land—and the wine—when they planted their first batch of grapes in 2008 and have been warmly welcoming visitors ever since.
Maurice Car’rie Winery
This winery invites guests to spend valuable time in the countryside. It features 300 acres of sprawling vineyards with fabulous views and plenty to do. It hosts a weekly craft fair every weekend and offers a unique variety of hors d’oeuvres. One of its delectable appetizers consists of homemade brie-filled sourdough bread—perfect to nibble while sampling wines or crafting.
Milagro Farm Vineyards and Winery
Spend a day exploring this gorgeous location in Ramona. On top of boasting exquisite wines, the property is also an orchard and organic farm. Enjoy the tasting room, live music, and food. Take a bottle of wine out to the picturesque grounds and play bocce ball, go horseback riding, or stroll through the scenic hills. Perhaps the best part? This winery is pet-friendly!
Marcelo Doffo’s Italian ancestors migrated to Argentina in the early 1900s where he grew up on a farm.
After Doffo won awards for a homemade wine he created after his move to America in 1997, he was hooked. He purchased a historic cattle farm and began creating his own wines from scratch.
Guests can tour the vineyards on foot or on the eco-friendly Malbec Express bus, view Doffo’s expansive motorcycle collection, and sample the premium wines. The family is also rumored to play classical musical throughout the grounds to keep the vines happy.
Chris Broomell and Alysha Stehly, founders of Vesper Vineyards, grew up in San Diego’s backyard and have a passion for the area. They only work with local growers who are dedicated to the production of quality grapes. Their wine is the byproduct of that attention to detail. At the urban tasting room in Escondido, guests can sample flights, taste wines by the glass, or fill up growlers.
Hawk Watch Winery
This mountain winery offers full-bodied red wines and delicate, fruity whites along with vivid views of the valley below. The entire wine-making process is incredibly hands-on from start to finish. The intimate tasting room in Warner Springs is open from Friday to Sunday, and the winery hosts fun events throughout the year.
Leoness Cellars is situated in the rolling hills of Temecula Valley. Its co-founder began growing citrus and avocados on the land in the 1970s.
Vineyard operations began in the 1990s, and the winery opened in 2002.
During wine tastings, guests enjoy some of the best views in the area along with the charming architecture of the winery’s famed brick tower.
Lorimar Vineyards and Winery
If you enjoy sipping wine while appreciating art and listening to live music, you’ll enjoy this winery in Temecula. Tour the Tuscan-style grounds and bask on the outdoor patio. Get cozy by the stone fireplace and take in the sunset as you relax with an exciting blend.
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