Beautiful Ramona Valley is blossoming into bona fide wine country with more than
30 boutique wineries scattered throughout the pastoral landscape. It’s worth the easy
45-minute drive from downtown San Diego to explore this burgeoning wine scene with its
eclectic cast of characters and interesting, sip-worthy wines.
KOHILL VINEYARD AND WINERY
Since 2004, this family-owned winery has been producing some nicely structured and tasty wines from six estate-grown varietals. Try the crisp viognier or
their well-balanced refosco, an Italian red and unusual find in the area. Dogs
and picnics welcome on the property’s high-on-the-hill patio.
17211 Highlander Drive
HACIENDA DE LA ROSAS
This sprawling property, with its Spanish Mission architecture, Peruvian Paso
horses and flowering gardens is a picturesque retreat with eye-catching visuals. Belly up to the hand-carved bar to taste their flirty Spanish albariño white
or spice-forward tempranillo; or better yet, purchase a bottle and sip the
afternoon away to serene birdsong on the backyard patio.
18011 Bluegrass Road
This casual open-air tasting
room, shaded by colorful umbrellas, is an ideal spot to sit
back and sip some sensational
Syrah. The Edwards family owns
a three-acre backyard vineyard
set at 2,500 feet, which offers
dreamy pastoral views of Witch
Creek Mountain, Cuyamaca
Peak and nearby horse farms.
26502 Highway 78
A friendly husband-and-wife team
produce a variety of nice wines
from local grapes, from the refreshing orange muscat, aromatic
of citrus blossoms, to a delicious
dark ruby Sangiovese reserve.
23578 Highway 78
VINEYARDS & WINERY
Respected winemaker Jim
Hart (of Hart Family Winery in
Temecula) makes 3,000 cases of
wine annually at Milagro Farms,
with notables including the sau-vignon blanc, Sangiovese and
the reserve chardonnay. The
110-acre property is a natural
beauty and a pleasant place for
an afternoon stroll.
18750 Little Page Road
At this unique winery, you’ll
find impressive sculpture
gardens, wood-fired pizza fresh
from the oven, and live opera
singers on the weekends, which
add a whole other element to
the wine-tasting experience.
17948 Highway 67
websites for up-
BEER, WINE AND SPIRITS
If you think San Diego only has juvenile vineyards at low elevations in hot climes,
think again. East County’s Warner Springs is home to Shadow Mountain Vineyard
with 70-year-old vines planted at 3,500 feet (which occasionally get covered in
snow). Vintner Alex McGeary, who’s got 50 years of experience under his belt as an
oenologist, and his wife Pam own this lovely mountainside haven, whose vines were
planted by an Italian family in the 1940s. The winery produces compelling whites and
reds, and some of their finest have become the official wines of the San Diego Zoo.
Guests can stay overnight in their quaint cottages and relish the peaceful ambience
and spectacular mountain views. shadowmountainvineyards.com