Escondido is sprinkled with more than twenty wineries, comprising everything
from urban tasting rooms to sprawling estates and hilltop terraces with
mesmerizing views. San Diego is blossoming as a wine country paradise.
Here are a few compelling spots to sip, sit back and relax.
ALTIPIANO VINEYARD & WINERY
Vintner Denise Clarke and husband Peter Clarke
own this pretty winery, home to sangiovese grosso, barbera, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah
vines. The patio of their Mediterranean-style
home is peppered with happy people sipping
Denise’s award-winning, robust wines. Don’t miss
the 2013 Estate Brunello Sangioveses Reserve—a
velvety and fruit-forward beauty with notes of
spice and caramel. Tastings: Fri.–Sun. 12–6 p.m.
20365 Camino Del Aguila, Escondido
DOMAINE ARTEFACT WINERY
Winemaker Mark Robinson, who spent time
elevating his craft in Paso Robles, makes nine
Rhône-style wines at this lovely, bucolic estate. The
flirty Grenache Rose and crisp Les Beaux Blanc
white blend are both perfect summertime sippers,
while impressive reds include a full-bodied syrah,
earthy mourvèdre and two notable GSM blends.
Rolling hills, roaming dogs, horse-filled pastures
and an umbrella-dotted alfresco tasting patio set
the scene. Tasting: Sat.–Sun. 12–6 p.m.
15404 Highland Valley Road
VINEYARDS AND WINERY
Take a vineyard tour of the property’s 15
varietals or drink in amazing views of San
Pasqual Valley and soaring hawks from the
patio. Winemaker Mike Embly and his father,
Ed, are producing well-crafted reds, and their
estate-grown tempranillo is a knockout, one
of the best in San Diego. Another surprise
can be found in their non-syrupy blueberry
wine—refreshing, light and original. Tastings:
Fri.–Sun. 12–6 p.m.
3255 Summit Drive
This family-owned winery and pizzeria sits
high on a hill overlooking San Pasqual Valley.
Originally from Calabria, Italy, Gerardo and
Rosa Cordiano created a pizzeria empire in
the southern U.S., and then brought their
talents to Escondido and fulfilled their dream
of winemaking. Cordiano Winery serves up
beautiful thin-crust pizzas and stellar views of
the valley, orchards, and horse farms from their
high-perch decks. Try their full-bodied cab
Franc, herbaceous and ripe with cherries and
plums. Tasting: Wed.–Sun. 11 a.m.– 8 p.m.
15732 Highland Valley Road, Escondido
For more info
wineries, check out
Vesper Vineyards and
Stehleon Vineyards share
an urban tasting room in an
industrial park, where local
winemaking couple Chris
Broomell and Alysha Stehly
are producing sophisticated
wines from local San Diego
County grapes. Broomell,
who makes Vesper’s wines,
is known for single-vineyard
varieties like his McCormick
Ranch Carignan or Rancho
Guejito Vineyard Rosé. Alysha,
a UC Davis grad and the force
behind Stehleon, is the winemaker for her father, Al Stehly,
and uses her dad’s own locally
grown grapes. Try her 2013
Rancho Guejito Rockwood
Vineyard Rose, a complex and
compelling sipper made from
100 percent grenache, and
take home a refillable 1-liter
growler of your favorite Vesper
wine. Tasting Room: Fri.–Sat.
noon– 6 p.m., Sun. noon– 5 p.m.
298 Enterprise St.
Ste. D, Escondido
A FAMILY AFFAIR