San Diego County Award Winning Wineries

San Diego award winning wineries continue to grow in popularity. In fact, San Diego County wines have even been served at the White House. Blue ribbons are prominently displayed at award-winning ­wineries.

So plan a day of wine tasting and discover the many wineries of San Diego County. These wineries are located throughout the county, from historic Carlsbad and sunny Escondido to the quaint 140-year-old gold rush mining town of Julian.

For your convenience, San Diego award winning wineries are arranged by city and suburb and then in alphabetical order. There is also a handy winery map showing the street or highway on which the wineries are located.

Plus, San Diego award winning wineries are always in a festive mood. Seasonal events include art festivals, jazz concerts, grape stomps and more. They offer great venues for weddings, receptions and corporate events. If you love wine, a great way to maximize your dollar and earn exciting perks is to join a wine club.


This freeway close, award-winning winery is San Diego’s most distinguished award winning winery. Its wine was even served at the White House.

Orfila Vineyards & Winery (6), 13455 San Pasqual Rd., Escondido (760-738-6500) []. Use their discount coupon for a two for one wine tasting. The Orfila Wine Lovers Club (OWL) offers quarterly selections of three winemaker selected varietals at discounted prices of ($45–$82). OWL members receive free wine tastings for themselves and two guests, which is normally ($10) per person! Members are also invited to their popular Grape Stomp. Orfila Vineyards & Winery is nestled in the pristine San Pasqual Valley agricultural preserve just 30 minutes from downtown San Diego. On the way to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the boutique winery and tasting room is open every day from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. The cost is ($10) for six tastings. They offer free guided tours daily at noon. Orfila’s wide selection of award-winning wines and gourmet products are available for purchase in their tasting rooms or online. Orfila is the perfect venue to host your special event from private tours and tastings to corporate celebrations, reunions and weddings. Custom etched and hand-painted bottles and private label wines are available. Justin Mund, Orfila’s winemaker, continues to develop Rhône and Italian-style wines in the high-quality tradition the winery has put into practice since 1994. Join the Orfila Wine Lovers club and enjoy winemaker selected varietals quarterly. Taste Orfila’s ultra premium estate wines and wines from other selected grape-growing areas in coastal California in the winery’s charming tasting room. Relax with a bottle of wine under the spacious grape arbor or patio which overlooks the 70-acre estate where Syrah, Sangiovese, Merlot and Viognier are perfectly suited to the winery’s hillside terroir. Make sure to visit their Julian location at 4470 Hwy. 78 Julian, (760-765-0102). See Julian section in this chapter. Credit cards: AE, DISC, MC, VISA.

Sunshine Summit

A mere 28 miles south of Temecula via Hwy. 79 (see map) are two San Diego county wineries worthy of discovery. Among them is the award-winning Shadow Mountain Winery which is one of the most recommended wineries in San Diego County. Since Temecula and San Diego’s wine regions are so close to each other, it is a great opportunity to compare the San Diego award winning wineries with those of Temecula.

Shadow Mountain Vineyards and Winery (2), 34680 Hwy. 79 (760-782-0778) []. The cost for wine tasting is ($5) for seven to ten tastings. If you want a souvenir wine glass the cost for the tastings and the glass is ($7). Master vintner Alexander McGeary specializes in award-winning whites, reds and dessert wines including viognier, sauvignon blanc, merlot, Syrah, cabernet, zinfandel and a muscat cannelli. A picnic area, wine tours, a tasting cellar and gift shop round out the excursion. The winery is open Wed.–Sun., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and most holidays. The Out in the Middle of Nowhere Wine Club offers four three-bottle shipments a year at a 20 percent discount. Members can take advantage of free wine tastings. There’s also an annual members-only BBQ. Credit cards: AE, DISC, MC, VISA.

Hawk Watch Winery (1), 27054 Chihuahua Valley Rd., Warner Springs (951-326-4692) []. Open Fri., noon to 5 p.m. and Sat.–Sun., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. This new boutique winery produces 1,500 cases annually of sauvignon blanc, white grenache, Syrah, zinfandel, meritage a dry orange muscat and a muscat canelli. Tastings are ($10) for six tastes and you can keep the crystal souvenir wine glass. Credit cards: DISC, MC, VISA.


Salerno Winery (10), 17948 Hwy. 67, Ramona (760-788-7160) [] open 11 a.m.–dusk Wed.–Sun. This is a boutique winery owned and operated by Herman and Rose Salerno. Their wines have won 65 national and international medals including a 2011 Platinum Medal at the San Diego International Wine Competition. They also do shipping. Credit cards: AE, MC, VISA.
Schwaesdall Winery (8), 17677 Rancho de Oro Rd., off Highway 67 in south Ramona (760-789-7542) [schwaes]. It’s open for tasting Sat.–Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Tastings are ($10) for six wines. This award-­winning winery produces premium handcrafted, classic European red wines and traditional California whites. They won a Bronze medal for their “Ramona Red” at the 2008 Temecula Valley wine competition. For weddings, special events and information about renting their 1,100-sq. ft. straw bale guest house, contact John or Shirley Schwaesdall at (760-789-7547). Credit cards: AE, DISC, MC, VISA.


Historically significant Julian, which first put its name on the map as a gold rush town back in 1869, is now well-known for its wineries and its delicious tasting apple pies and ciders. It’s also a romantic place for an overnight getaway. They have ten bed and breakfast inns to choose from and a great selection of  restaurants too. So what are you waiting for? See Julian chapter.

Menghini Winery (3), 1150 Julian Orchards Dr., Julian (760-765-2072) []. Open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. during the week and till 5 p.m. on weekends. Wine tastings are ($5). Don’t miss the grape stomp on September 1st. Located in the middle of a beautiful apple orchard, this winery produces an extraordinary chardonnay, cabernet rosé, cabernet sauvignon, voignier, Syrah and a 2007 Riesling called “Fool’s Gold.” This winery has a picnic area and a charming shop offering wonderful cheeses, dips, honeys and jams. Credit cards: MC, VISA.

Orfila Vineyards Tasting Room (5), 4470 Hwy. 78, Julian (760-765-0102) []. This is Orfila’s second wine-tasting location and is open Fri.–Tues., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Browse their quaint gift shop for gourmet foods and wine related items. You can taste one wine for free or six different reds and whites for ($10). Plus, by using their discount coupon in this book you’ll get a two for one wine tasting. Credit cards: AE, DISC, MC, VISA.

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