Updated: Jan 7
With the new year, comes new adventures. After this past year, if you’re like us, we are dreaming of all the new adventures and experiences 2022 will hold.
If you love a beautiful scenery, supporting small production businesses, fondness of outstanding wines, and a memorable experience, a trip to San Diego Wine Country could be just what you need.
Just 30 miles north of Downtown San Diego is one of the most unique areas in the world where rolling hills of vineyards are just a short drive from the beach. Known for their quality, bold and rich aromas, San Diego wines are quickly gaining attention worldwide. Wine lovers praise the region that has several varieties produced locally - there's truly something for everyone!
Whether it’s your first time or you’ve visited the small production wineries of San Diego before, we have put together some useful information below to help you plan a memorable trip.
Research the Wineries
Each of the North San Diego regions have many wineries to explore. We have included lists of many of the small production wineries located in each of the respective areas.
When researching the many wineries that San Diego has to offer, you may want to consider the following:
· Operating Hours
· Costs for tastings
· Wines they produce
· Can you bring Outside Food?
· Do they serve food?
· Do they offer any exclusive tours?
· Are they dog friendly?
Here are a few of the regions in San Diego County for consideration when planning your trip.
Nestled in the local mountains, Julian is home to forests, lakes, old gold mines, wineries, and apples - most famous for their apple pie. This small mountain town is not to be missed.
Ramona's soil, sunshine, and climate is the perfect combination for award winning wine. Just 18 miles east of Escondido, Ramona has a small town feel to provide the perfect escape. Home to over 30 wineries, you’re sure to find a wine for everyone in your group.
30 minutes north of downtown San Diego, lies the beautiful rolling hills of the Highland Valley. The valley once dominated by Avocado and Citrus, is now home to some of the most beautiful vineyards in San Diego.
Urban Escondido Wine Tour
Known as the Hidden City, Escondido is home to many wineries and wine tasting bars sprinkled throughout the city limits. Looking for a more urban tour, this is the experience for you and your group.
Transportation We always recommend having a driver when wine tasting in San Diego. Many of these wineries are located on winding country roads.
While there is Uber and Lyft in San Diego County, given the limited coverage in the San Diego wine country, it can be difficult to request a ride after each winery, and there will be a lot of waiting around.
To enhance your San Diego wine country visit, we recommend booking a wine tour company to help you make the most of your time and make this a memorable experience.
Hidden City Wine Tours includes trip planning and customization from start to finish, safe and private luxury transportation, and a memorable day. We provide more than just transportation, but an entire experience for a group up to 6 guests.
Reservations and Tasting Fees
Once you have decided on the wineries you would like to visit, reservations are encouraged, especially for larger groups. While some don’t require a reservation, we always advise as a best practice, if anything, just to let them know you’re coming.
When calling ahead, make sure to inquire about tasting fees. Wine tasting fees can vary from one winery to another. The average cost is $15-$25 per person, per winery. Some wineries will waive tasting fees for those guests who purchase their wine, or join their wine club. During the past 2 years, some wineries are only offering wines by the glass, or bottle sales.
If you find a wine that you like, we encourage you to buy their bottles, or join their wine club. Typically, a wine club comes with complimentary tastings, discounted wine purchases, and exclusive events throughout the year.
Remember, you’re supporting local boutique wineries, with some of them only offering bottle sales from their tasting room. This may be your only chance to bring home and enjoy later.
Additional Day of Suggestions
Wear comfortable clothing
Being we are in San Diego, home to the best weather in the nation, dress accordingly. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are always recommended, along with clothes made of comfortable, breathable materials. Think Wine Country Casual. NO HIGH HEELS. Yes, I’m shouting this. Not all wineries seat you for tastings, and with uneven terrain (rocks, grass), it’s just not the shoe to wear. Think flats, loafers, slides, chunky heeled boots, etc. Your feet will thank you later.
Bring Snacks/Plan to Eat
While most wineries do not allow outside beverages or coolers (water as an exception), some may allow you to bring your own food to enjoy while tasting. As shared under the researching step above, it’s best to find out if the wineries you are visiting accept outside food. While some have food for purchase, it’s best to plan ahead, and include lunch on your itinerary. If you find that one of the wineries allows outside food, here are ideas for a perfect wine country picnic.
Drink lots of water
Being that you will be drinking wine throughout the day, it is very important to keep hydrated while wine tasting, especially in the warmer weather. I always carry a bottle of water in my bag, and most wineries will have complimentary bottles, or available for purchase.
Tip the Server
Even though it's not expected at most wineries and tasting rooms, tips are always appreciated. If you've had a great experience, tasted wines you loved, or are with a large group, tipping your pourer is typically considered a lovely gesture.
Your private wine experience awaits...
Contact Hidden City Tours on our Contact Us page to book your San Diego wine tasting trip today.
Tour Highlights Include:
· Professional Concierge Service
· Full Itinerary Planning - we make all reservations
· Safe, Spacious & Comfortable Luxury Mercedes Van
· Friendly Tour Guides - 5 Star Customer Service
· Complimentary Bottled Water
· Dog-Friendly - must be friendly and on a leash
· Deli Lunch/Charcuterie available upon request