California truly is “wine country,” even if most people believe that the vineyards end just north of Santa Barbara.
I was thinking about that the other day after receiving an inquiry about wine-tasting opportunities in San Diego. More on that in a moment.
Although largely under the radar, heading south from Santa Barbara, there also are vineyards and wineries in Ventura County, Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire and even Orange County.
Continue down the coast, and you’ll run into Temecula wine country — which is fairly well known — as well as a number of other wineries scattered throughout San Diego County.
Which leads us to the aforementioned query…
QUESTION: As we drove through Temecula recently, we were told that there were other wineries around the San Diego area. Is this true? Are there any that you’d recommend visiting?
ANSWER: It’s true. At last count, there were just shy of 40 wineries in the area bordered roughly by Fallbrook to the north, Warner Springs to the east, San Diego to the south and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
Most are family-operated, very small-production estates with limited business hours, or open by appointment only.
Among those that keep fairly regular guest hours is Deer Park Winery in Escondido, which features an adjacent auto museum that also includes a Barbie doll collection, Coca-Cola memorabilia and other collectibles.
Eagles Nest Winery in Ramona has a guest cottage that can be rented for vacations or special events. You can’t book it in August, September or October, however. During those months, the cottage is inhabited by family and friends helping with the grape harvest.
You can download a map of San Diego area wineries here.