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 and Brian have continued to help wine drinkers break free from grape-based conventions, utilizing such fruit as pomegranates, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and pumpkins as the foundation for an ever-growing arsenal of flavors. The winery fills glasses with unique bouquets, and?like the microbreweries throughout Vista Business Park?buys its ingredients from vendors up and down the west coast 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.
Lifelong gardener Jim Carter, owner of South Coast Winery, bottles fine wines on 38 picturesque acres in Southern California’s Temecula Valley. South Coast’s grounds house a luxurious spa and seven Mediterranean-esque resort villas, reminiscent of a remote Tuscan village. Jim’s specialty varietals have been recognized time and again in local and national wine competitions. Visiting oenophiles can spend time here unwinding with an open air massage, vacationing in a temporary home equipped with a marble Jacuzzi and sweet plump grapes at arms length, or learning about the winemaking process on a vineyard tour.
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 private parties, bridal events, corporate events, and private cooking classes. Events at The Wine Artist feature unique wines, gourmet catering, and experiences such as wine bottling and team building activities.
The "secret" in Bacchus' Secret Cellar is gas. Argon gas, to be exact, which powers the bar's preservation system and ensures that the wines within stay fresh for long periods of time. There are about 50 wines—mostly reds—on tap at the counter, as well as 8 sparkling wines, 5 dessert wines, and 12 microbrews. The library of options encourages guests to sample several, so it's wise to order a flight: you can get a signature array of 2.5-ounce glasses, or you can compose your own for a unique harmony of tastes.
The bar is just the beginning of the cellar's wine selection. On the shelves that span the walls, more than 350 labels beckon to be uncorked. A bistro menu provides gourmet food to complement sips, from starters of oven-roasted dates to lamb burgers and prosciutto flatbreads, made by dropping a regular loaf of bread into a printing press by accident. There's also a full menu of cheeseboards, with goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from the United States and abroad.
Cuisine Type: Estate-grown Bordeaux and Italian wines
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera
Outdoor Seating: Yes
What is one of your most popular offerings? How is it prepared?
Our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc was named San Diego County's Best Wine at the 2012 Del Mar Fair state wine competition. The 2010 Barbera is a multiple gold medal winner including in national and international competitions. The Aleatico is a dessert port-style wine that is perfect for the holidays served with dark chocolate.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Our tasting room is open for tastings Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11am-5pm, and includes an extensive gift shop, estate grown olive oil, and views of the state of the art winery. We have a limited food menu but welcome you to bring a picnic.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
Milagro Farm Vineyards & Winery offers a wide selection of red and white varietal wines, all estate grown in Ramona, CA. The varietals grown are typically Bordeaux style like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc; or northern Italian style like Barbera, Sangiovese and Aleatico. The farming methods used are sustainable.
Nature plays a central role in the lives of the McClellans. As avid gardeners, they relish plunging their hands into the dirt and planting new seeds, especially those for Rhone grape vines. Yet even as the owners of Highland Hills Winery, tending the vineyard isn't their only means of communing with nature. Local coyotes and birds of prey from the on-site lake help to keep rodents away from the vines and occasionally feed on the grapes, giving the signal that everything is ready for harvest. As a gesture of thanks, the coyote and the surrounding Ramona Grasslands are featured on the labels that adorn Highland Hills' six wines. These barrel-aged styles range from a rich, fruit-forward petit syrah to a bright and citrus-tinged blended white. Every Saturday and Sunday, they're available for sampling in a climate-controlled, ADA-approved tasting room that's furnished with iron cafe tables and cushioned chairs.