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By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  La Finquita Winery owners Charlie and Jess Koehler

December 11, 2017 (Ramona) – Last weekend, we got into the holiday spirit with a visit to three of the 14 wineries along the Ramona Holiday Wine Trail, which continues next weekend.  It’s been a popular event, selling out this past weekend so be sure to reserve online now if you plan to hit the holiday wine trail this Saturday and/or Sunday.

At Turtle Rock Ridge, (photo, right) where we picked up our souvenir wine glasses and information packet, we sampled several wines as well as “blue” sangria – a delicious accompaniment to a locally made cheddar cheese ball studded with pecans, onions and peppers. 

At our next stop, La Finquita, we warmed up with a wonderful mulled wine and admired the hand-crafted cork ornaments and an array of humorous wine signs.

At Vineyard Grant Jame

s, besides savoring this nationally highly rated winery’s white and red wines, we also did some holiday shopping, since they had a local jewelry maker and olive oil maker on hand, the latter giving out samples.

This weekend, all 14 wineries are offering discount tastings as well as other specials.

 For example, Principe d’Tricase Winery has Christmas carolers, artisan cheeses and vinegar samples, plus you can choose and cut your own Christmas tree at Highland Valley Christmas Tree Farm, owned by the winery.

La Finquita Winery and Vineyard: Santa in the Wine Cave Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. — in addition to newly released dessert wine "Happy Place” plus unique gifts and stocking stuffers.

At Vineyard Grant James, you can make your own red wine vinegar Saturday and Sunday, 12 p.m.- 6 p.m. Personally fill and decorate a bottle of Vineyard Grant James red wine vinegar to take home and enjoy, or give as a gift! $5 per bottle — in addition to special holiday wine deals, music, and vendors. 

Woof’n Rose is offering food bites and chocolate candy canes, music, and an ornament with purchase of two bottles of wine.

Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery has hand-crafted gifts with a local craftsman, plus live music and free gift-wrapping if you buy two bottles or more.

Schwaesdall Winery is offering tastes of a newly released port paired with something delicious. 

Poppaea Vineyard offers traditional English Christmas treats, games and a race around the vineyard.

Pamo Valley Winery’s tasting room has holiday music and vendors showcasing items for holiday shopping.

Mahogany Mountain Vineyard and Winery has holiday treats, wine gifts and free gift wrapping.

Highland Hills Vineyard and Winery has truffles for pairing with wines.

Hatfield Creek Vineyard and Winery has free chocolate from Sweet Petite Confections to pair with Hatfield bonbon dessert wine and other red wines.

Tickets ($10) gets you a souvenir glass and ornament, plus discounts on tastings at as many of the 14 wineries as you choose to visit over the last two days (Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17.)

In addition to the unique offerings on this coming weekend of the Wine Grail, here are scheduled offerings at Ramona Ranch Winery:

Saturday, Dec. 16:  cheeses from the Cave to sample; crafts by Roxie including wine totes, hand-made cards and gift cards, jewelry. 

Sunday, Dec. 17 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:  Ramona Gold olive oil; Crafts by Roxie including wine totes, hand-made cards and gift cards, jewelry; Lori Liebman -Half-Corked hand-made candles.

2:00 to 5:00 p.m.:  live music with sing-along Christmas carols including jingle bells and microphones and lyric books for every table to hand out for the people in the audience.

Get tickets in advance at

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