With 115 wineries, San Diego County is no stranger to the wine industry, and this guide will give you a snapshot of the diverse wineries and varietals right here in our backyard
San Diego may not be as prominent as the Temecula region (for those who don’t know—Temecula is actually in Riverside County) but our local winemakers have come a long way and continue to expand. Winemaking is a dynamic, difficult process, let alone consumers like us just trying to understand the types of terms which define wine. We explored a few common topics then delved into some unique wine varieties grown in San Diego. For a full list of wineries, check out this directory from the San Diego County Vintners Association.
Estate grown indicates that the wine must be made from grapes either grown on land owned by the winery or controlled by the winery, a tough standard to meet considering many wineries source their grapes from other growers. Fallbrook Winery is an example. Woof n’ Rose Winery in Ramona makes all of their wine from Ramona Valley grapes, most estate grown on premises as well.
This term indicates that the grapes used in a bottle of wine come from a single vineyard. The producer listed on the label may not own the grapes. Vesper Vineyards is a perfect example; while they work with multiple vineyards, each wine is created with grapes from a single vineyard to showcase the terroir of that particular region.
The winemaking process still occurs at an urban winery, but the grapes are not grown on site as the location is based in a more population-dense area (hence the name) with no room for a vineyard. A great example is Blue Door Winery, which has both an urban winery in San Diego and a tasting room at their vineyard in Julian. LJ Crafted Wines is another; they are located in La Jolla yet their grapes are sourced even further away in the Napa Valley and Sonoma areas. There is a local organization dedicated to these urban tasting rooms; check out the San Diego Urban Wineries to learn more.
Wine produced in dry farm conditions indicates that the vines are not irrigated. In viticulture, irrigation is a process that involves giving the vines extra water. Dry farmed wine is drier and contains less sugar with minimal use of sulfites. Qualities like these have enthusiasts hooked as it is said to lessen the hangovers. Sign us up! Dry farming techniques are also being used right here in San Diego.
You will find that nearly every winery has a solid selection of red and white varietals so we thought we would highlight some of the other types of wines offered in our County, including some fun variations. Are we missing something? Email us and let us know!