San Diego’s East County has several wineries including: Orfila in Escodido at 13455 San Pasqual Road and Altipiano at 20365 Camino Del Aguila with Italian and Rhone varietals; Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo at 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte; Milagro Farm Vineyards and WInery in Ramona and Turtle Rock Ridge with an outdoor tasting area. In Julian visit Witch Creek and Orfila’s auxiliary tasting room.
In Temecula, the mission vineyards were established in 1820. The Temecula Valley AVA was renamed on June 18, 2004; it was formerly the “Temecula AVA” originally established on October 23, 1984. This is the only American Viticultural Area to change its name following initial approval. Temecula has an interesting history of commercial vineyards. Vincenzo and Audry Cilurzo established the first modern commercial vineyard in the Temecula Valley in 1968; Brookside Winery also planted its vineyard in that year.
Sunrider Temecula Jeep Wine Tours offers “a full-service wine safari.” Two-to-six passengers pile into an open-air, bright orange Jeep for narrated drive through the countryside. Go to four vineyards and sample up to 24 different wines. Daily Discovery Tours run from 9:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Evening Explorer Tours run from 2:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Both include a vineyard tour, seasonal grape tasting, gourmet lunch, barrel room production tour, scenic lookout ride and logo wine glass. Check the website for specials and group rates for parties of eight or more. Save $25 if you take a Thursday tour. On Thursday, take the Exclusive Tour, where you’ll taste wines at Bella Marie Winery, historic Ferrara Winery, Orfila Vineyards and The Wine Collective, as well as beer at Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido. Sunrider Wine Tours P.O. Box 1802 Temecula, CA 92593. Call 951-551-1516 or visit www.sunriderwinetours.com
There are more organized tours at: Grapeline at 951-693-5755 or http://www.uncorkedtemecula.com
Another fun wine excursion from San Diego is www.lajollawinetours.com (858-551-5115). You can take the coaster to Carlsbad and meet up with the tour guide. You will tour wineries in Old Town as well.
Before you leave downtown San Diego, consider Balboa Park Food & Wine School’s cooking classes or sample various wines and listen to interesting jazz at the San Diego Wine & Culinary Center.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ http://www.vino-con-vista.com