San Diego has everything! Perfect weather, mountains, beach and deserts all within an hour, a powerful military presence, killer food scene, a fanatical beer contingent and robust tourism. What it lacks is a dedicated wine culture. Which is interesting because San Diego is the oldest wine region in California and also the youngest.
There are about 200 AVAs (American Viticultural Area) in the U.S. And three of them reside within San Diego County, which is the size of the combined states of Rhode Island and Delaware. The largest of these AVAs - South Coast, stretches from Malibu down to the Mexican border which includes San Diego. Contained within is the San Pasqual Valley AVA, established in 1981, and covers 9,000 acres on the banks of the San Dieguito River near Escondido. And the other is the Ramona Valley AVA, established in 2006, covering 89,000 acres surrounding the town of Ramona.
And the weather that most cite as near to perfect? It is, especially for grapes! San Diego boasts a mild mediterranean climate, little rainfall, wind (desert), fog, (ocean) elevation (mountains) including deep, granitic soils and chaparral vegetation. Which means, many vines can be grown sustainably, without reliance on pesticides and can capture ambient yeasts to provide distinct flavour profiles.
And the best part about San Diego wine? It remains a smallish community of winemakers and wine lovers who work tirelessly to preserve and educate about the gem that is San Diego.
There are many people who have worked tirelessly to place San Diego on the world wine map. But none has done so with such coolness and ease as Tami Wong CS. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tami in the past and I recently caught up with her during her 2nd Annual NatDiego Festival. Read more about Tami here. She’ll be our guide throughout #winestudio October.
What I’ve learned about the people behind San Diego wine is a willingness to experiment and explore, so perhaps not having a yet dedicated wine culture is exactly the kind of culture that breeds innovation and exploration. It’s that freedom that comes with a re-burgeoning of a wine region that’s ripe with excitement--the wild west!
Twitter hashtag #winestudio 9-10pmET
2 October @Stehleon @VesperVineyards
Stehleon Vineyards 2015 Grenache Blanc Sunrise Ranch, San Diego County | SRP: $23
Vesper Vineyards 2013 Carignan McCormick Ranch, San Diego County | SRP: $25
9 October @DomaineArtefact @AltipianoWinery
Domaine Artefact 2017 Les Printemps Grenache Rosé, San Diego County | SRP: $30
Domaine Artefact 2016 Estate Rincon del Diablo, Paso Robles | SRP: $45
Altipiano Vineyard & Winery NV Estate Barbera, San Diego County | SRP: $58
Altipiano Vineyard & Winery 2016 Estate Sangiovese Reserve, San Diego County | SRP: $65
16 October @CharlieEchoWine
Charlie & Echo 2017 Viognier, Warner Springs, San Diego County | SRP: $23.00
Charlie & Echo 2017 Darkstar, Warner Springs, San Diego County (47% Syrah 53% Zinfandel | SRP: $21-26
23 October @KoiZenCellars
Koi Zen Cellars 2016 Paso Syrah | SRP: $33
For more information, click here.