At the helm of his urban winery in the heart of the Cedros Design District, winemaker Adam Carruth handcrafts award-winning wines, including the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Best in Class Alexander Valley Cabernet, from grapes he fastidiously collects from all over California. His team handles the production of each varietal from crush to finish, aging juices in barrels that line the walls of the industrial-chic tasting room. The final products—which range from a crisp sauvignon blanc to a bordeaux-style Surfing Madonna—slosh into customized stemware for patrons’ enjoyment seven days a week. Also in the tasting room, guests can peruse the exhibited work of local artists, break into crunchy baguettes from Bread & Cie or nibble on cheese.
The idea for California Fruit Wine was hatched in 2009, when a friend of Alan and Brian Haghighi introduced the twin brothers to small batches of homemade fruit wine. Since those first sips, Alan, Brian, and their older brother, David, have continued to help wine drinkers break free from grape-based conventions, utilizing such fruit as peaches, strawberries, plums, and pumpkins as the foundation for an ever-growing arsenal of flavors. From dry to sweet, the winery fills glasses with unique bouquets, and—like the microbreweries throughout Vista Business Park—buys its ingredients from local sources rather than growing them or stealing them from the refrigerators of napping bears. California Fruit Wine's spacious facility, which is stocked with a stage, bar, and pool table, can also be rented out for parties and private events.
The sounds of conversation and laughter compete with the clinking of glasses in The Wine Artist’s lofty venue. The space sprawls over 2,500 square feet, with plenty of room to host wine tastings, networking events, and cooking classes. During these classes, students perch on wrought-iron stools around marble countertops as they learn to prepare food with wine or the cuisine of faraway countries such as Italy, Thailand, or Narnia. Afterward, they savor their creations amid the pale tiled floors and dark-wood accents of the Tuscan-style space.
Linda and Mike McWilliams prefer to leave the rigors of raising grapes to their local vineyards, citing their lack of a chateau. Instead, they set their focus on crafting their vintages on the micro-level, making small batches and infusing them with an Old-World character and unique flavors such as habanero passion fruit. Their wines are named after places and figures from San Diego’s rich history, such as the Guadalupe Valley syrah and the Lake County sauvignon blanc.
Holy Smokes For Less empowers smokers to create their own cigarettes using Kentucky-grown tobacco and accentuates smoking experiences with lighters, incense, pipes, and fine cigars. First, guests take a sample of one of the shop's all-natural tobacco blends, which match the flavor of name-brand cigarettes without any additives or preservatives. Cigarette artisans fine-tune each blend based on the client's individual tastes, then guide guests through the rolling process, where an automated apparatus turns loose particles and paper into 200 consistent, machine-made smokes in as fast as eight minutes. Customers watch the hypnotizing mechanical process in awe, adjusting the amount of tobacco and tightness of each tube with helpful touch screens. As visitors sample the shop's finest burning leaves, they can lounge inside the studio puffing away to perfect their impersonation of a donut factory.