San Diego's wine legacy dates back into the 18th century, and today, there are more than 100 wineries in San Diego County. The area's Mediterranean climate makes this California city one of the most popular beach destinations among tourists and also allows for the grape vines to flourish. With numerous microclimates, wine makers across the greater San Diego region can grow an array of varietals, thus allowing visitors to sample an assortment of wines, from Viogniers to Petite Sirahs.
San Diego wine drinkers are in luck, as many of the area's top wineries have a tasting room or wine bar in or not far from the city. Here's a list of the best San Diego urban wineries to visit on your next trip there. Cheers to great San Diego wine and sunny San Diego weather!
Sourcing grapes from the unique terroir of Red Mountain Vineyard in the northern part of San Diego County, 2 Plank Vineyards specializes in small lot wines made with a combination of new and old-world winemaking techniques. Their tasting room is just outside of San Diego proper, in Ferris Square, and is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 7pm.
Born in a backyard, Carruth Cellars was founded 2006 by Adam Carruth. Largely self-taught, Adam began as a hobbyist beer brewer before transitioning to wine, making his operation especially unique. He makes a wide variety of wines, all from grapes sourced from Central and Northern California vineyards. The winery and tasting room, which is open every day, are located in Solana Beach.
Voted as one of the 19 hottest wine bars in the country by Eater National, San Diego Cellars is a can’t-miss stop on any San Diego urban winery tour. Their Little Italy tasting room features food, live entertainment, and seating inside and outside, perfect for relaxing and tasting from their extensive wine list. Visit them any day but Monday.
Laying claim to the title of San Diego’s first urban winery, San Pasqual originated in the 1970s and is well-known not only for its grape wines, but their passion fruit wines as well! To sample their assortment of wines, head to their Seaport Village tasting room or visit their wine bar and gallery in La Mesa. The tasting room is open daily from 10am to 9pm.
A certified organic winery as of 2013, Vinavanti Urban Winery takes pride in their eco conscious approach. They maintain a strong focus on using local grapes from San Diego and other Southern California regions. Their wines are un-oaked, unfiltered and they don’t put wines through the “fining” process, which involves adding ingredients to remove things such as extra tannins. In short, they are on a quest to present the purest product, with the least amount of processing possible. Currently, their tasting room can be visited in San Diego on Waples St, but this fall they will be moving to Hillcrest.
Near the beach? Check. Delicious wines? Check. Full kitchen serving delicious Mediterranean tapas? Check. Soleterra Winery is a perfect stop for lunch or snacks while wine tasting. They boast a great private event space as well, and host winery tours by appointment. The tasting room, located in the beach town of Leucadia, is just down the street from a local coffee shop and only two blocks from the beach. Open every day of the week, Soleterra is a fantastic spot to enjoy great food and drink with friends.
Winemakers Alysha Stehly and Chris Broomell were voted by the San Francisco Chronicle as “Winemakers to Watch” in 2014, and it’s easy to see why! You can taste their eclectic mix of varietals Friday and Saturday from noon to 6pm, and Sunday from noon to 5pm. They are located in Escondido, where at the shared urban winemaking facility, wines from various producers are rotated for tasting, including BK Vineyards, also on this list!
Come to Koi Zen for the great wine and community involvement. From art exhibits and blending workshops, to the opportunity to put your own lane design on a bottle, Koi Zen is as much about appreciating the wine lovers who visit them as they are about appreciating the winemaking process. Their tasting room is located on World Trade Drive in San Diego and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, while private events are held at the space Monday and Tuesday.
While it’s easy to be wary of what to expect from wines that began in a garage by two frat brothers, there’s nothing but good things to say about Fifty Barrels. They get most of their grapes from a co-op of 15 acres in Paso Robles and craft their wines in a facility located in Vista, home to their tasting room and special events. Stop by to sample their wines any day but Monday.
10. BK Cellars
As one of the newest urban wineries in San Diego, BK Cellars is already the toast of the town. At their tasting room located in Escondido, they showcase live music on Fridays and Sundays, conduct public and private tastings as well as host private parties! They are open Thursday and Friday from 3 to 8pm, Saturday from noon to 8pm and Sunday from 1 to 5pm. Escondido is also a well-known craft beer destination, and there are several breweries nearby!
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This article was written by Samantha Scott and edited by Tripping.com Content Specialist, Lexi Perman.