Where to Find Julian Wine Tasting
Summer is the perfect season for wine tasting in the gorgeous mountain region of Julian. Whether you are seeking a pleasant tasting room experience, or are looking to invest in a winery for yourself, summer is the ideal time to do so in Julian. San Diego County has a huge range of microclimates for growing wine grapes, and the backcountry is no exception. Here’s a list of the top-rated wineries and tasting rooms in Julian. Interested in growing wine grapes for your own winery or agricultural land? Read on to learn what to look for in a vineyard property.
Popular Julian Wineries and Tasting Rooms
There are currently over 114 wineries in San Diego County – not including Temecula. The fertile soil combined with mild, sunny weather creates the perfect combination for growing wine grapes throughout the entire county. Most wineries are run by first-generation wine growers in rural areas but recently, urban wineries have emerged in cities and towns around San Diego County. Here’s a list of popular wineries in the San Diego Backcountry, most notably, around Julian CA.
- Blue Door Winery-Located in the heart of Julian on B street, the boutique winery is a renovated barn that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. There is an expansive array of wines offered. They are open all week and weekends from noon to 5pm.
- Turtle Rock Ridge – Just minutes from downtown Ramona, TRR offers stunning views from their outdoor patio. Try a flight, glass of Sangria or taste their famous chocolate wine! Open Friday-Sunday 10am-6pm.
- Vineyard Grant James – Located on old Julian Highway between Ramona and Julian, Vineyard Grant James is a fantastic boutique winery with charming character. Great snacks and music to perfectly accent their selection of delicious wines. Open Friday-Sunday 12-6pm.
- Eagles Nest Winery and Cottage-This Ramona winery offers estate grown red wines and Rhone region white wines. Wine is made by hand, and a reservation is required for tasting.
- Hawk Watch Winery-Run by one enterprising family in Warner Springs, this is the perfect winery for tasting to a mountain-view backdrop. They are open Friday noon to 5pm, and weekends 10am to 5pm.
- Julian Wine and Chocolate-A winery that also offers chocolate tastings? Sign us up! This child and pet friendly winery is rustic and unique. They are open Friday 1pm to 6pm, and weekends noon to 6pm. They are located off CA-78 just outside of Wynola.
- Menghini Winery-Nestled in the foothills of Volcan Mountain, this winery is in a beautiful setting. Be sure to check out the surrounding apple orchards. Menghini is open weekdays 11am to 4pm, and weekends 10am to 5pm.
- Milagro Winery-This Ramona Valley winery offers interesting behind-the-scenes tours, taking a look at the production room and vineyards. The owners bought the property in 2014, and have been taking great care of it ever since. It is open on the weekends 11:30am to 5:30pm.
- Shadow Mountain Vineyards and Winery-This 3rd generation family winery in Warner Springs is a must-see if you find yourself near shadow mountain. They are open Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 5pm.
- Sierra Roble Winery-This winery overlooks the gorgeous San Jose Valley. The family owned vineyard specializes in creating fine Bordeaux wines. They are open Friday noon to 5pm, and weekends 11am to 5pm.
- Volcan Mountain Winery-As one of Julian’s newest wineries, Volcan Mountain Winery is just a scenic 2-mile drive from the center of Julian. The winery is pet-friendly, and outdoor seating is available. They are open Thursday through Monday 11am to 5pm.
What to Look for in a Winery
Wine grapes love San Diego’s arid climate. The high elevations of the Peninsular Mountain Range, combined with strong winds and granite soil make the San Diego backcountry ideal for growing wine grapes. If you are looking for a property to set up your next vineyard, San Diego is the next big thing. To help prospective vineyard and winery property investors, we’ve compiled a list of things to look for when searching for a wine property. Here’s a list of the Top 10 Tips for Aspiring Wine Owners:
1. Have public access
- A winery is only as good as its tasting room. Your winery does not have to be in the center of town; however, it should be accessible by car at the very least. Clear instructions should be provided regarding how to get to your winery both on the website, and outside of the property. (signs) Running a winery can be much more enjoyable if you spread your craft to others through tasting rooms and winery tours, so effective public access is a major factor.
2. Make sure there is a well
- A well is by far the best water source available for your winery. Although wines love dry, arid climates, water is still vital for a successful vineyard. Investing in a well is one of the most economical decisions you can make for your winery.
3. Get an AG meter
- Grape vines can be very sensitive to unbalanced pH, salinity, and alkalinity. An AG meter can allow you to test your soil, and then improve its conditions to get the most out of your grape vines. We believe that this is well worth the initial investment.
4. Do solar
- Many wineries are turning to solar energy for power. Not only is it great for the environment, but it is also an efficient way to save money in the long run on energy costs. California solar state incentives will typically make the solar investment less expensive than market price. Investing in on-site battery storage is also a great way to prepare for blackouts and surge pricing.
5. Plant with wind in mind
- Wind adds a cooling element that can extend grape hang time and they are vital to good wine grapes. Fast winds like the Santa Anas will cause vines to protect themselves by shutting down. This can cause grapes to be increasingly ripe. Depending on the setting of your winery, natural wind tunnels can form along hills and in valleys.
6. Find best grapes for area
- Once you decide upon an area, it is time to pick the best possible grapes to grow in your climate. It is essential to choose a grape varietal that is suitable for your property location. For example, Julian’s hot climate and soil is ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon.
7. Hire experts
- Consider hiring a viticulturist to help determine the proper varietal, vine and row spacing, trellis system type, and ideal exposure level. Experts in these fields can save you a lot of time and money in the future by not allowing potential winery flaws to go unnoticed.
8 Perform grape petiole analysis
- Grape Petiole Analysis, or GPA, is another way to test your grape vine’s health. Petiole testing shows the current nutrient status of a vine. This allows you to make decisions regarding which fertilizer to use.
9. Get a good real estate broker
- Having a knowledgeable and trustworthy real estate broker can make a huge difference when looking to purchase a winery. Red Hawk Realty, for example, has extensive experience with wineries big and small in Julian and other San Diego backcountry regions. From properly assessing a vineyard property to negotiating a fair price, a credible real estate broker is crucial.
10. Appreciate your wine!
- If you spend time and money in perfecting the winery craft, then you might as well appreciate and enjoy the process. Bottles produced and glasses poured are quite literally the “fruits” of your labor! Take some time to admire and appreciate your creations.
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