Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Ultimate San Diego Wine Guide

Move over, beer, there's a new craft in town


Published:

Orfila Vineyards & Winery winemaker Justin Mund “punches” grapes to incorporate the skins into juice during fermentation

San Diego wine culture lingers in the shadows of our city’s craft beer craze, and truth be told, a slew of misconceptions seem to surround it.

Many people think that viticulture is relatively new to the area, when in fact, California’s billion-dollar wine industry has roots in San Diego. Father Junípero Serra and his fellow wine-drinking Franciscan friars planted vines next to California’s very first mission, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá, way back in 1769. But when you ask locals if they’ve tried San Diego wine, blank stares or tales of Temecula typically follow. No offense to our neighbors and fellow winemakers, but Temecula is in Riverside County, and all those tour buses and sweet, dessert-y wines have absolutely nothing to do with the fermented grapes and bottled essence of San Diego County.

Our expansive wine region has clusters of vineyards and wineries, about 100 and counting, tucked into diverse topography and terroirs. Ramona is home to two dozen or so boutique backyard wineries, while Escondido’s bucolic countryside of San Pasqual Valley and Highland Valley hosts another 20, many of them sweeping estates. A handful of high-altitude vineyards populate Warner Springs and Julian, and another smattering can be found along Highway 94, southeast of downtown—not to mention the 14 urban wineries that are thriving in our beach towns, industrial warehouses, and city neighborhoods.

Our Mediterranean climate—hot days, cool nights, and coastal breezes—is favorable for grape growing, but success comes to some varietals more so than others. In San Diego we have old vines and young, traditionalists and new-wave winemakers. We are ripe to become a credible wine-producing region.

Read on for a guide to the wineries, trends, purveyors, and players in the San Diego wine scene.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Wine Geek Speak

Impress your friends with these descriptors that range from fairly straightforward to absurdly colorful—to just plain absurd.

The Dos and Don'ts of Corkage Etiquette

Advanced Sommelier Josh Orr shares his best tips

New and Noteworthy in San Diego Wine

A speakeasy for wine lovers, a winery reinvention, and more.

8 San Diego Wine Bars We Love

Our cup runneth over at these eight local spots

San Diego Wineries That Offer More Than Just Wine

These local wineries and tasting rooms attract attention with yoga, personal wine blending and more

5 Pours to Know

From island wines to naturally sparkling, bubbly wines

Wine Tours With Legs

Navigate the local and international wine scene with these four tours

San Diego Winemakers to Watch

Meet six locals making waves around town and crushing the competition

Meet Two Savvy Sommeliers

Great wine at any price? Two local experts spill the grapes.

7 San Diego Wine Events this Fall

Know when to wine with these local events

The Best Wine Shops in San Diego

10 locations where oenophiles stock their cellars
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

We chat with Mark ‘Mud’ Grant at Petco Park, plus some exciting restaurants come to Liberty Station

We also discuss whether fake meat is taking over real meat on Happy Half Hour Podcast: Episode 144

Sweet Spot: Churros at Cocina 35

The owner of the popular Mexican restaurant crafted the beautifully simple dessert from her grandmother's recipe

The Best Food and Drink Events in May and June

San Diego Magazine's Best Restaurants Party, Andrew Bachelier + Travis Swikard Dinner at Jeune et Jolie, and Gospel Rose Brunch at Provisional Kitchen
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    From pho to fries, you can choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 99 categories
  2. First Look: Il Dandy
    Michelin-starred Italian chefs open a stunner in Bankers Hill
  3. Restaurants Are Dying; Here’s the Solution
    It’s simple math, but the state of California refuses to allow it
  4. 21 Ultimate Road Trip Itineraries from San Diego
    These getaways will take you through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico
  5. Best of North County 2019
    Our annual roundup of what's up-and-coming and full-on buzzy above the 56
  6. San Diego Homebuyer’s Guide 2019
    It's possible to find an affordable home in these six up-and-coming enclaves
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Enter San Diego’s Cutest Pet Contest

Your furry family member could win a pet prize package and be featured in San Diego Magazine

Puesto's Next Top Taco

Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Athena’s Pinnacle Awards Showcases Leaders in Diversity and Inclusion

Here are the winners from the event on May 7

What One San Diegan Is Doing with a Life Without Disease

Dr. Melanie McCauley went to Nepal to help build a local research infrastructure.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags