Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In the News: San Diego Wineries

Okay, I admit it. With all this focus on local eating, I’ve been lax in incorporating San Diego wine into it all. Chalk it up to wine snobbishness. But yesterday I heard a piece on KPBS These Days called “Southern California Climate Fosters Local Wineries” that made me slip local wine closer to the top of my priorities list. Southern California, according to one of the guests, is the birthplace of wine in California. We can thank the Padres and their missions for that, which were first established in San Diego in the late eighteenth century. With the missions came the wine. Those good old Padres wouldn’t have had it any other way. Wine production took a bit of a dive after the missions were disbanded by the Mexican government in 1834, and prohibition in the early 20th century resulted in the closing of all our wineries. It’s been slow since, but as of now, we have about 30 commerical wineries in the county (mostly in Ramona and San Pasqual Valleys). Sangiovese, zinfandel, pinot grigio, syrah, and viognnier grapes grow particularly well here and make for some lovely wines, but you won’t find the San Diego wine region featured in any wine magazines and you likely won’t find the wines on the shelves of your local grocery store. That’s because almost all our wineries are small-scale producers who, even if they could succeed in breaking out into the larger wine world, probably don’t have the means to produce as much as would be demanded.

So, looks like San Diego wine is the domain of San Diegans. A truly local product made for local consumption. The San Diego County Vinters Association has a listing of 12 of our local wineries with their wines, driving directions, prices, events, and other helpful info. Hmmm, I’m thinking a winery tour may be in order!

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