If you know anything at all about wine, you're probably already aware that California is one of the world's biggest and most well-regarded wine regions. However, it's usually Northern California that steals all the limelight. The more temperate climate of the Napa Valley has historically been a more productive terroir than the arid landscape of Southern California. And California doesn't get much more south than San Diego, CA.
However, the area around San Diego County, Los Angeles, and Orange County certainly isn't short of wineries. As the California wine industry continues to grow and new varietals and hybrids are developed, Southern California is steadily becoming more and more well-known for delicious wine. This area can produce superbly delicious bottles, and there are plenty of San Diego wineries and tasting rooms where you can enjoy incredible wine.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in San Diego and take a wine-tasting trip around the city and the region. Not only is this one of the best things to do in San Diego at night, but it's also a fabulous way to enjoy this facet of the city the way the locals do.
There's no better place to start your San Diego wine tasting experience than at Southern California's oldest continuously operating winery. Located in the small town of Rancho Bernardo, the Bernardo Winery has been family-owned and operated for over 100 years. The winery grows its own grapes on 27 acres of land, using organic and sustainable farming practices.
The wines produced here are all estate grown, bottled, and sold on-site. The tasting room is open every day from 11am to 5pm, and there's no need to make a reservation. You can buy a wine flight in the tasting room or enjoy a glass or bottle of wine out on the picturesque patio.
Bernardo Winery is also noted for its food, making the perfect accompaniment to a wine tasting here. They use traditional Sicilian dishes to bring out the flavor of their incredible wines, making this an unmissable place to visit on any wine tour of San Diego. Don't miss out on a trip to Bernardo winery, one of the grandest San Diego wineries of all.
13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, San Diego
Orfila Vineyards & Winery
Just a 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego is Orfila Vineyards & Winery in Escondido. This beautiful winery is set on a stunning 35-acre property, with gorgeous views of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. The Orfila Winery was founded in 2001 by Alejandro Santo Domingo, but the vineyards themselves have been producing grapes since 1969, focusing on Italian and French varietals.
The winery has a large and inviting tasting room that's open every day from 11am to 5pm. You can enjoy a seated wine tasting here for $15 or go for the VIP experience with a private tour and reserve a wine tasting for $25 per person. Either way, you're guaranteed to enjoy some outstanding wines at Orfila Vineyards & Winery.
13455 San Pasqual Rd, Escondido
Carruth Cellars Urban Winery
As you'd expect, most San Diego wineries are located outside the city in the hills and valleys of Southern California. But if you're pressed for time or would just rather stay in the city, that doesn't mean you have to miss out on a great tasting room experience. Carruth Cellars is an urban winery with a well-stocked tasting room that offers incredible wine tastings and is somewhere no wine fan should miss while visiting the city.
As well as the tasting room on Kettner Blvd, the Carruth Cellars Wine Garden offers a secluded urban oasis with flowers and lanterns that will contribute to an amazing atmosphere for a wine tasting. This urban winery may be located in the heart of one of San Diego's most popular food districts, but you'll feel like you're a long way away from the city as you sip great wine and enjoy incredible food here. The high-quality wines on offer will give your taste buds a tour of Southern California and beyond, and there are also excellent food pairings on offer in one of the city's best tasting rooms.
118 S Cedros Ave, Solana Beach
Gianni Buonomo Vintners
Set in San Diego's Little Italy district, Gianni Buonomo Vintners is a small family-owned winery that specializes in Italian varietals. The grapes for these wines are all grown in Southern California, and the winemaking here is done entirely by hand. The focus at Gianni Buonomo Vintners is very much on quality over quantity, with a limited number of bottles produced each year.
The tasting room at Gianni Buonomo Vintners is open every day from 12pm to 6pm, and it's the perfect place to enjoy a glass or two of wine while exploring one of San Diego's most vibrant neighborhoods. There's no need to make a reservation, so just drop by and enjoy some of the best Italian wines San Diego has to offer.
4836 Newport Ave., San Diego
This is another urban winery that offers an exceptional way to sample great wine without leaving the city. Founded in 2015, Negociant produces Malbec, Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. For white wine fans, they also make Chardonnay and Moscato from local grapes. Thanks to the extensive range of varieties they produce, this is one of the most diverse wine tastings in San Diego, and you don't need to leave the city to do a wine tasting here.
Check out Negociant's wine tasting room, where you'll have access to all the delicious and decadent craft-style wines they have to offer. Cut through the summer heat with a sparkling rosé or fruit-forward Malbec, and you'll see why this is one of the most popular local wineries in San Diego. They also often have live music in the wine tasting room, so you'll be entertained while you enjoy some excellent wine.
1263 University Ave., San Diego
LJ Crafted Wines
If you're looking for a more intimate wine tasting experience, then LJ Crafted Wines is the place for you. This small batch winery produces less than 1,000 cases of wine per year from grapes grown in the Santa Ynez Valley. The focus here is always on quality, and it shows in the delicious wines they produce.
The tasting room at LJ Crafted Wines is only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm. But if you can make it down here on one of those days, you'll be rewarded with some truly outstanding wine. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through a selection of wines, and you might even get to meet the winemaker herself.
5621 La Jolla Blvd, San Diego
San Pasqual Winery
This is another urban winery that you won't have to leave the city to enjoy. Pasqual Winery has locations in both La Mesa and downtown San Diego, and whichever one you go to, you'll get a great wine tasting experience without leaving the city. Operated by Linda McWilliams, the San Pasqual winery uses local grapes to produce excellent wine.
The sleek industrial tasting room is almost worth a visit by itself. Not only are there exceptional local wines on offer here, but you'll also be entertained by live music and get to enjoy art from local artists. San Pasqual winery offers an incredible variety of wine-themed events in its tasting rooms, including trivia nights and craft nights. Everything about this urban winery is accessible and unpretentious, and it's a great place to go and have fun, especially for those who are relatively new to the world of wine tasting.
8364 La Mesa Boulevard, San Diego
Highland Valley Vineyards
This boutique micro-winery is located in the picturesque countryside of Ramona. The vineyard produces a range of red and white wines, as well as some dessert wines. The focus here is on small batch production, and the vineyard only ever harvests what it can process by hand.
This is one of the best places to go for a wine tasting in San Diego if you're looking to escape the city for a while. The vineyard is open for tastings every day from 10am to 4pm, and it's surrounded by beautiful hiking trails that are perfect for working up an appetite before indulging in some excellent wine.
15412 Bandy Canyon Road, Escondido
Quigley Fine Wines
This is one of the newest additions to San Diego's wine scene, and it's already making a big splash. Quigley Fine Wines has quickly become one of the city's most popular wine tasting destinations. The urban winery is located in the historic Liberty Station neighborhood, and it offers a great selection of wines that are produced using grapes from all over California.
The large tasting room at Quigley Fine Wines is perfect for groups, and there's often live music playing in the background. But even if you're just visiting on your own, you'll feel welcome here. The staff is passionate about wine, and they're always happy to chat and share their knowledge. With its great selection of award-winning wines and friendly atmosphere, it's easy to see why Quigley Fine Wines is becoming so popular. Quigley Fine Wines aims to demystify the world of wine tasting and make it accessible to a broader audience, and judging by its popularity, it's succeeding admirably in that mission.
1551 Fourth Street, San Diego
Castelli Family Vineyards
This family-run vineyard is located in the picturesque rolling hills of Ramona. The vineyard produces a range of red and white wines, as well as some sparkling wine. And while it's only open for tastings on Saturday and Sunday, it's definitely worth making the trip out here.
The vineyard itself is beautiful, and it's the perfect place to enjoy a picnic while surrounded by stunning views of the countryside. The wines on offer are all made using grapes grown on-site, and they're absolutely delicious. But what really sets Castelli Family Vineyards apart is the warmth and hospitality of the family who runs it. They make you feel like you're part of the family, and that's what makes this vineyard so special.
17870 Oak Grove Road, Ramona
San Diego isn't Napa, but that doesn't mean there aren't tons of incredible San Diego wineries producing amazing bottles that are well worth trying. And because of the incredible selection of vineyards and tasting rooms where you can try local vintages, San Diego makes a perfect destination for wine drinkers. Whether you want to stay in the city or would prefer to head out into the countryside, you'll find tons of places to take a wine tour or private wine tasting so you can really get to grips with what Southern California has to offer.
Of course, there's more to San Diego than just wine, too. This beautiful city offers an incredible range of things to do, from beautiful beaches to excellent food to fun family attractions that will make for a great trip. Check out our guide to three days in San Diego to learn more about everything this vibrant city has going for it.
And as always, don't forget to drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in San Diego before you start to explore. Whether you want to head straight to a wine tasting room or enjoy the sunshine on the beach, you'll have a much better trip if you travel light.