OUR GUIDE TO LOCAL FARMS AND FARM-FRESH PRODUCTS SOLD DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS

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Find farm-fresh meats, eggs, fruits and veggies, flowers, honey, nuts, soaps, wool and fiber goods, pumpkin patches,  nursery plants, trees, wineries and more
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Miriam Raftery and creative commons images via Bing
 
May 21, 2020 (San Diego) – East County Magazine has compiled our region’s most comprehensive guide to local farms, ranches, nurseries and wineries offering direct-to-consumer sales through farm visits, u-pick orchards, curbside pickup, deliveries to neighborhood pickup points through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, shipping directly to homes, sales at farm stands, or at farmer’s markets.  
 
San Diego County is home to more family farms (10 acres or less) than any other county in America—giving consumers here a delicious field of choices. Farm-fresh foods are nutritious and delicious. Many are organic. Plus you can avoid grocery store lines and get specialty items not available in stores. 
 
Our guide includes sources to buy these locally grown products:
 
  • Christmas trees
  • Ciders and apples
  • Eggs
  • Emu products
  • Farmer’s markets 
  • Fiber and wool products
  • Flowers, herbs and herbal products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Hemp
  • Honey
  • Meat, poultry and fish
  • Nuts
  • Plants and trees
  • Pumpkin patches
  • Seeds
  • Soaps
  • Wineries and vineyards

 

Scroll down to view our full directory for each of these local farm product categories.

CHRISTMAS TREES

 

Family Christmas Tree Farm (El Cajon) Christmas trees, wreaths, and living trees available at the farm. 

Julian Christmas Tree Ranch (Julian) Christmas trees, wreaths, swags and more are available seasonally at the ranch operating since 1947. Only the tops of trees are cut, so no trees are killed to beautify your home during the holidays.  

Highland Valley Christmas Tree Farm (Ramona) Visitors can opt to cut your own tree at the farm adjacent to the Principe di Tricase winery, so you can enjoy “pine and wine.” You can also enjoy viewing a collection of birds on the property.

Mountain Valley Ranch (Ramona) has a variety of Christmas trees as well as cedar wreaths. 

Ona’s Pumpkin Patch (Lakeside) Each holiday season Ona’s offers farm-grown Christmas trees and activities for families.

Pinery Christmas Trees (Bonita, Del Mar, Mission Valley and Rancho Bernardo) Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands and poinsettias are available as well as cut-your-own trees. 

CIDERS AND APPLE PRODUCTS (SEASONAL)

 

Apples and Art Orchards/Gastil Mountain Farm (Julian) U-pick orchard open in fall.

Apple Starr Orchards (Julian) Organic U-pick orchard open in fall.

Calico Apple Cidery (Julian) U-pick orchard and hard cider tasting room open in fall.

Crosscut Farm and Orchard (Julian) Organic U-pick orchard open in fall.

Julian Cider Mill (Julian) Fresh cider, honey and other local farm products at retail store; open for curbside delivery during COVID-19).

Julian Farm and Orchard (Julian) Apples, pumpkins, berries and other seasonal farm products.

Julian Mining Company (Julian) U-pick apples, strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins and other seasonal crops, plus activities including gold panning, gem sluicing, petting zoo and more.

Turquoise Barn Cider (Ramona) Apple and other ciders available for pickup during COVID-19.

Volcan Valley Apple Farm (Julian) Apples during fall season.

 

EGGS


Diamond B Ranch (Warner Springs) has fresh chicken and duck eggs available for pickup at several locations around the county.
 
Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs (Lakeside) Fresh eggs, honey and more; curbside pickup during COVID-19.
 
Three Sons Farms (Ramona) Pasture raised eggs, poultry, produce and honey; home delivery service available.
 
EMU PRODUCTS
Jurassic Secret Emu Oil (Ramona) Pure emu oil, lotions, creams, soaps and other personal care products shipped to your home.
 
Rancho San Diego Emus (Rancho San Diego) Emu oil gel caps, sports rubs, emu feathers, decorative emu eggs and more shipped to your home.
 
 
FARMER’S MARKETS IN OR NEAR EAST COUNTY
 

 

Some farmer’s markets are closed due to COVID-19. This is changing rapidly so check websites for updates before you go.

Borrego Springs Farmer’s Market runs November through April on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

City Heights Farmer’s Market normally runs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

La Mesa Village Farmer's Market now offers on-the-go pickup service on Fridays for orders placed by noon Thursday. Normally the market runs Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m.

Lemon Grove Farmer’s Market is temporarily closed but normally runs Thursdays 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Poway Farmer’s Market runs Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Old Poway Park.

Rancho Penasquitos Farmer’s Market is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 but customarily held at the YMCA on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Santa Ysabel Farmer’s Market and Sustainability Fair runs Sundays 12 to 4 p.m.

Santee Farmer’s Market is open 10 months a year normally; check their website for updates.

SDSU Farmer’s Market is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 and extended campus closure.

More farmer’s markets across San Diego County:

FIBER AND WOOL PRODUCTS

 

Atlas Alpacas (Descanso) Alpaca wool apparel, accessories, home décor items, yarn and fiber available online, shipped to your home.

A Simpler Time (El Cajon) Alpaca wool clothing, teddy bears, purses, backpacks and more.

La Dolce Vita Alpacas (Ramona) Alpaca wool rugs, yarn and crafts available through the online store. 

Oasis Camel Dairy (Ramona) Camel wool hats and scarves, camel milk soaps, lotions, bath products and chocolates.  Tours, open farm visits, and Zoom a Zoo also offered.

FLOWERS, HERBS AND HERBAL PRODUCTS

Cal Pacific Orchid Farm (Encinitas) Orchid plants and arrangements available for delivery locally.  

Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures (Santa Ysabel) Lilac bouquets in spring; farm store offers lilac plants, vegetable cuttings, fruit trees, shade and ornamental trees, succulents and more, available by appointment during COVID-19 shutdown. Normally, many old-time activities also offered ranging from hayrides to archery, axe-throwing, and playing in a jug band.

Key’s Creek Lavender Farm (Valley Center) Lavender sachets, lotions, soaps, lavender-infused teas, honey, scone mixes and more available to order online during COVID-19.

Summers Past Farms (Flinn Springs) Herbs, fresh flowers, vegetable seedlings, and products such as soaps, lotions and essential oils are available online and at the farm with limited hours during the pandemic  The farm also offers events normally including Sweet Pea Days, Fairy Days and more.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Agua Dulce Farm (National City) Boxes of seasonal vegetables can be purchased online through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Boxes are shipped to locations around the county for pickup. Honey is also available. 

Aschbrenner Acres (Encinitas) sells boxes of vegetables that can be ordered online and organic produce form their Encinitas Farm Stand.

Bantle Avocado Farm (Fallbrook) has avocados, lemons and olive oil for delivery.

Be Wise Ranch (Escondido) has a CSA program, delivering boxes of fresh produce to pickup points around the region. 

Blue Sky Ranch (Lakeside) delivers CSA boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables to several pickup points. There is also a farm stand open seasonally. 

California Avocados (North County) ships avocados and citrus fruits.

Carlsbad Strawberry Company (Carlsbad) has fresh strawberries at its farm stand or available for delivery.

Chino Farm (Rancho Santa Fe) sells vegetables, fruits, herbs, microgreens and edible flowers at its Vegetable Shop farm stand.

Coastal Roots Farms (Encinitas)  At its pay-what-you-can farm stand, Coastal Roots sells fresh certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruit, flowers, and eggs. The farm reflects “generations-old Jewish agricultural traditions.”

Cyclops Farm (Oceanside) has organic non-GMO fruits, vegetables and flowers weekends at its farm stand.

Daily Harvest Express (Carlsbad) delivers produce, dairy, meats and eggs to a limited number of locations.

Eli’s Farms (Fallbrook) has a CSA with fruits, vegetables, honey and eggs for pickup at several locations. They also sell products through a farm stand.

Farm Stand West (Escondido) has fruits, vegetables, gluten-free baked goods and eggs at its farm stand.

Good Taste Farm (Fallbrook) sells produce including heirloom varieties from around the world including seasonally available passionfruit, heirloom squash and citrus thro

ugh its online store during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

HEMP

 

No Boundaries Farm (Jamul) Smokable hemp flowers and rolls, hemp hats and more are available through the online store.

 

HONEY

 

Best Friend Bees (El Cajon) Honey and honey products including lip balm, salves, and candles are available to order online.

San Diego Honey (San Diego) sells raw honey and beeswax products online, sourced locally and across southern California. Products range from lip balms to honeys in many flavors such as lavender, citrus, buckwheat, habanera and cinnamon-infused versions as well as honey flights.

MEATS, POULTRY AND FISH

 

Carristo Ranch (Santa Ysabel) sells beef and pork products, including whole or half pigs, half steers, butcher boxes, hamburger and bones for dogs. They also of

fer daffodils and lilac flowers.

Diamond B Ranch (Warner Springs) sells heritage turkeys, beef, pork and eggs. 

Hamilton Ranch (San Diego) sells chicken, beef and pork online including meat packs in fiesta, Eastern and Southern flavors.

Maqi Seafoods (Vista) is offering fish delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Son-Rise Ranch (San Diego) Meats available to order online include grass-fed beef, pork, and poultry fresh meat cuts, sausages, jerky, pet foods, and boxed sets; whole beef and half-hogs also available.  Orders can be shipped or picked up at several locations locally.

Star B Buffalo Ranch (Ramona) Buffalo meat and jerky are available to order online, as well as mounted buffalo heads and bison skulls. More products are coming soon including hides, leather products and buffalo gift items.

Three Sons Farms (Ramona) Pasture raised poultry, eggs. fruits, vegetables, produce boxes and honey; home delivery service available

NUTS

 

Bates Nut Farm (Valley Center) A wide variety of  nuts, dried fruits, candies and many other products are available to order online and customarily in their retail store. The farm normally offers many activities through the year including a pumpkin  patch, craft fairs, and holiday festivities.

OLIVE OIL

 

Ramona Gold (Ramona) Their locally produced olive oils are available for purchase online.

San Diego Olive Oil Co. (Ramona) has a wide variety of flavored olive oils such as blackberry, blood orange, garlic and jalapeno as well as an assortment of balsamic vinegars.

PLANTS AND TREES

 

Altman Specialty Plants (Vista) A wide variety of succulents and cacti are available to order online.

California Tropical Fruit Trees (Vista) The 20-acre site specializes in tropical fruit trees, nut trees, spice trees, flowering trees and shrubs available for purchase at their North County location.

City Farms Nursery (City Heights) Specializing in edible and local plants including vegetables, organic herbs and fruit trees, this business also sells seeds, succulents, houseplants and more online and at their nursery. 

Cuyamaca College Nursery (Rancho San Diego) This store sells plants propagated by students including  low water-use, annual color, California Natives and more, available only at their campus location. 

Evergreen Nursery (Blossom Valley, Carmel Valley, and Oceanside) Evergreen’s drive-through model and large sites provide social distancing to find a wide variety of ornament plants, trees, flowers, vines, groundcover, native species,  succulents, fruit trees and more.

Fort Cross Old-Timey Adventures (Wynola) ) Lilac bouquets in spring; farm store offers lilac plants, vegetable cuttings, fruit trees, shade and ornamental trees, pines and cedars, succulents and more, available by appointment during COVID-19 shutdown. Normally, many old-time activities are also offered ranging from hayrides to archery, axe-throwing and playing in a jug band.

Hunter’s Nursery (Lemon Grove) Roses, trees, bedding plants, seeds, herbs and vegetables are among the items found at this family-run nursery.  

Kniffings Discount Nursery (El Cajon) claims to have San Diego’s largest collection of roses as well as many tropical trees, palms, shade trees, shrubs, vines, cactus, succulents, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, berry plants and more. 

Rainbow Protea (Fallbrook) Bouquets of colorful proteas can be ordered online from this wholesale nursery. 

Serra Gardens (Fallbrook) Serra Gardens specializes in unusual and hard to find succulents all propagated onsite. Plants are available onsite and online.

The Succulent Source (Valley Center) Open and shipping daily during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Succulent Source has a very wide variety of succulents and even offers custom bridal party bouquets of succulents.

PUMPKIN PATCHES

 

Bates Nut Farm (Valley Center) has u-pick and pre-picked pumpkins, from miniatures to some over 100 pounds. During harvest season they offer many activities and special events such as costume contests, rides, farm animal encounters, craft fairs, and a store filled with arm products such as nuts, dried fruits, sauces and gift items. 

Julian Farm and Orchard (Julian) has a u-pick pumpkin patch including heirloom and antique varieties plus activities such as a hay ride, axe-throwing, and candle-dipping as well as a farm store with other goods. 

Mountain Valley Ranch (Ramona) has pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn as well as a corn cannon, corn maze, hay bale ride, pony rides and more.

Pumpkin Station (Bonita) has a corn maze, farm animals, u-pick pumpkins, petting zoo, mechanical train and more.

Oma’s Pumpkin Patch (Lakeside) offers u-pick pumpkins, hayrides, a hay bale maze, petting corral, kids’ activities, gift shop and snack barn. 

Summer’s Past Farms (Flinn Springs) has an annual pumpkin patch with costume contests and other fall activities. 


SEEDS
 
 
San Diego Seed Company (San Diego) Locally produced organic seeds suited for our region’s climate are available through an online store including vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants. Online classes are also available to learn more about gardening.
 
SOAPS
 
 

Jan’s Natura Body and Bath (San Diego) Soaps, gift baskets and men’s personal care products are available through the online store. 

The Land of Milk and Honey Soap (Fallbrook) Soaps, balms, scrubs and more are available through the farm’s online store.

Oasis Camel Dairy (Ramona) Camel milk soaps, lotions, bath products and chocolates as well as camel hair scarves, hats and more can be ordered online during COVID-19 and normally, purchased in the farm store during tours and monthly open farm visits featuring animal shows, camel feeding, camel rides and more.  Zoom a Zoo also offered with talking birds and camels.

Summers Past Farms (Flinn Springs) Herbs, fresh flowers, vegetable seedlings, and products such as soaps, lotions and essential oils are available online and at the farm with limited hours during the pandemic  The farm also offers events normally including Sweet Pea Days, Fairy Days and more.

WINERIES AND VINEYARDS

 

During the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, all wine tasting rooms in San Diego County are temporarily closed. However, most wineries are still selling bottles for curbside pickup or shipped to your home. Some are offering virtual wine tasting talks online; San Pasqual Winery has a special that gives restaurant gift cards to healthcare workers for every 3-bottle package purchased.  Call or email wineries for updates. In anticipation of wine tasting rooms opening in the near future, below are details on options once visitors are allowed to return.  

Altipiano Vineyard and Winery (Escondido’s Highland Valley) was inspired by touring Italian vineyards. The winery, patterned after a Tuscan villa, specializes in its award-winning red wines including sangiovese, merlot, estate barbera and more.

Barrel 1 Winery (Ramona) Barrel 1 has a patio tasting room overlooking an almond grove, where guests can savor red and white vintages from estate-grown grapes including tempranillo, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, viognier, muscat, canelli and a rosé

Beach House Winery (Oceanside) Guests can savor ocean views along with award-winning wines including some 15 white and red vintages.  

Belle Marie Winery (Escondido) This boutique winery has a French chateau-style event center, barrel room and wine cave for private events.  Family friendly and dog friendly, the winery offers over 20 wines including red blends, single red varietals, white wines, rose and dessert wines.

Bernardo Winery (Rancho Bernardo) Established in 1889, Bernardo Winery is the oldest family-owned winery in Southern California. Specializing in regional varietals such as Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Syrah, Syrah, Albarino, Merlot and Zinfandel, the winery’s Spanish-style grounds include a tasting room, restaurant, coffee shop, gift stores and galleries. 

BK Cellars (Escondido) This urban winery and tasting lounge with crystal chandelier is located in Escondido’s historic district. In addition to a variety of red and white wines, they also offer sangria.

Blue Door Winery (Julian and San Diego) Blue Door has a rustic livery stable converted to a tasting room in Julian as well as an urban San Diego tasting room where comedy nights are offered.  

Cactus Star Vineyard at Scaredy Cat Ranch (Ramona) Located in the Ramona AVA, the winery produces wines under three labels including red, white and sparkling wines. Tasting is seasonal on an outdoor patio until the wine runs out.

Campo Creek Vineyards (Campo and Poway)This rural, family-run “rancher’s dream” winery has tasting rooms in rural Campo as well as Poway. Vintages  with colorful western-style labels include sparkling, red and white varietals, and blends.

Casi Cielo Farm and Winery (Jamul) This “heavenly” hilltop adobe winery offers red and white vintages as well as fruit wines including strawberry passionfruit as well as raspberry, cherry and peach. The farm includes numerous animals ranging from llamas to chickens, plus a gift shop offers items ranging from wine jellies to hand-made quilts.

Carruth Cellars (San Diego, Solano Beach and Carlsbad) Carruth Cellars is an urban winery with three tasting rooms in San Diego’s Little Italy near downtown, Carlsbad and  Solano Beach. They source wines from Northern and Central California as well as Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Castelli Family Vineyards (Ramona) Wines include Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Tastings including  in a wine cellar and Italian-style villa’s tasting room are by invitation only. The winery is producing some award-winning vintages.

Charlie & Echo (San Diego) produces natural and craft wines with a hip tasting room in the Miramar area. Spritzers and sparkling wines are available in addition to reds, whites and roses.

Cheval Winery (Escondido) Looking for a location for their champion horses, the owners fell in love with this property which includes a winery that they renamed “Cheval,” meaning horse in French. They offer a “herd” of different wines, each with a horse on the label.

Chuparosa Vineyards (Ramona) Named for a hummingbird, this Ramona winery produces estate grown and bottled wines including Albariño, zinfandel, sangiovese, Malbec, cabernet Franc, and a red blend. 

Cordiano Winery (Escondido) The owners, originally from Italy, ran a pizzeria before starting the winery atop a hill in the Highland Valley area You can order up  pizza cooked in an outdoor pizza oven along with reds, whites and sweet wines.

Correcaminos Vineyard (Ramona) Named for a roadrunner, this winery includes RV camping, is dog friendly, and offers a variety of reds, semi-sweet and sweet white wines.

Coyote Oaks Vineyard  (Escondido) Nestled among 300 year old oak trees, Coyote Oaks has a tasting room in the Hidden Valley Enoteca Chateau style castle. The winery specializes in red wines and fortified wines and has won several awards.

Crystal Hill Vineyard (Ramona) This Ramona winery invites you to “come for the wine, stay for the views.” Fruit-forward reds, whites and roses can be savored in an ambience that is picnic and dog friendly.

Deerhorn Valley Vineyards (Jamul) This rural, family owned winery includes a tasting room and an outdoor pergola for picnicking. Varietals include viognier, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and montepulciano as well rose wine and an award-winning blend. Olive oils and wine vinegars are also available.

Deer Park Winery and Auto Museum (Escondido) Here you can enjoy vintage automobiles as well as a variety of award-winning wine vintages. The museum houses the world’s premier collection of convertibles, hundreds of vehicles and other memorabilia.

Domaine Artefact Winery (Escondido) Sustainable and organic, Domaine Artefact has also won several international awards for its wines, which include some unusual white varietals as well as reds and rose. The property includes farm animals such as chickens, pigs and friendly wine dogs.

Dulzura Winery and Vineyard (Dulzura) Located on the historic Clark ranch that dates to the 1800s, the winery property includes an upstairs guesthouse and picnic areas.  Guests can savor wine flights with artisanal chocolates

Eagles Nest Winery and Cottage (Ramona) A boutique winery and artisan distillery with gold medal wines, ports, and wine-based spirits. Eagles Nest Winery practices organic, sustainable farming. A guest cottage perched like an aerie overlooks gardens. There’s also a barrel room and pizza oven here.

Edwards Vineyard and Cellars (Ramona) Noted for its French-style syrah, this family-owned Ramona winery makes from two to eight vintages a year that may include  other reds, seasonal dry roses and port-style desert wines.

Emerald Creek Winery (Warner Springs) With vineyards at 2,400 feet elevation on the south slope of Palomar Mountain in decomposed granite soil, Emerald Creek Winery has a unique microclimate and has produced numerous award-winning wines. The winery has a spacious tasting room as well as a guest house available.

Espinosa Vineyards (Escondido) Specializing in wines from grapes originating in Spain, the winery sits on property that first grew grapes in 1893 and housed a winery built in the 1930s though crops were fallowed in the 1950s. The old winery burned down in the 2007 firestorms, but has been resurrected by the new owners. 

Estate d’lacobelli (Fallbrook) The owner/winemaker learned the art of winemaking from his grandfather in Italy. You can book a stay at the hilltop Mediterranean retreat and taste red and white wines in their tasting room. Sweet dessert and port-style wines are also available. 

Fallbrook Winery (Fallbrook) The original Fallbrook Winery was built in 1981 and offered champagne wines. The winery is noted for its Bordeaux red wines in the emerging South Coast wine region. 

Forgotten Barrel Winery  (Escondido) offers hand-crafted wines made with fruit sourced from Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast and San Diego County. Forgotten Barrel is the reincarnation of the former Ferrara Winery, the oldest continuous operating winery in San Diego County  Winemaker John Eppler has worked in Napa for Robert Mondavi, Rosenblum Cellars, and his own brand, John Robert Eppler Wines. 

Gianno Buonomo Vintners (Ocean Beach) Named best tasting room in San Diego by San Diego Magazine in 2019, this seaside Ocean Beach winery with antique wrap-around bar uses grapes from northern California and Washington state to make its award-winning red and white wines.

Gloriosa Vineyards (Pine Valley) For generations the Thomas Family has produced a full bodied Estate Bottled Cabernet, Zinfandel and Syrah wines from grapes grown in the rich soil of the family vineyard. Winetasting by appointment.

Granite Lion Cellars (Jamul) Located along the Highway 94 wine trail, Granite Lion Cellars has an indoor tasting room as well as a picnic area nearby.  The winery offers reds, whites and roses including a “flirty not sweet” afternoon wine collection.

Harbour Farm and Vineyard (Ramona) has an adopt-a-vine program, a pumpkin patch and corn maze seasonally.   

Hatfield Creek Vineyard and Winery (Ramona) produces award winning petite syrah and zinfandel red wines, which can be savored in a cozy country-style tasting room. You can stroll through vineyards and a labyrinth during your visit; ask about vineyard dinners.On patriotic holidays, the owner will entertain with an antique drum played by his ancestor in the Civil War.

Hawk Watch Winery (Warner Springs) Perched high atop a hill with stunning views in Warner Springs, Hawk Watch has won numerous awards and has wines ranked in the 90s by Wine Enthusiast. You’ll find reds, whites and roses, some with amusing names like “Smoking Gopher” as well as specialties such as sherry and barrel-aged port.

Highland Valley Vineyards (Escondido’s Highland Valley) With a tasting room and patio overlooking the San Pasqual Valley, Highland Valley specializes in red wines including gold  medal winning syrah and barbera made with locally grown grapes, as well as wines using grapes from other locations.

Hill Top Winery (Valley Center) In addition to double gold medal winning wines, Hill Top has a gourmet menu at its spacious tasting room with such delicacies as Cajun shrimp pasta, fig and prosciutto flatbread, a charcuterie board and more; reservations accepted. 

Hungry Hawk Vineyards and Winery (Escondido) A rustic California-style tasting room offers samples of its 15 varietals from Italy, France and Spain. This winery has won dozens of awards in several major competitions and offers reds, whites, roses, sparkling and dessert wines. 

Itaque Vineyards (Ramona) Overlooking the Ramona Valley, Itaque (which means “contemplation”) was founded by a retired police officer and offers a variety of red and white wines.

Kohill Winery (Ramona) You can belly up to a redwood bar or taste wines on a patio including several estate bottled reds and a sauvignon blanc white varietal.

Koi Zen Cellars Craft Winery (San Diego) Voted San Diego’s best local winery in a 2017 San Diego Union-Tribune Reader’s poll, Koi Zen Cellars has won numerous awards. It’s winemaker is the author of a book titled, “The Zen Winemaker” and has created a relaxing ambience complete with koi pond in the tasting room.

La Finquita Winery and VIneyard (Ramona) offers red and white wines at its hilltop setting that includes a tasting room, patio, boutique and wine cave.  

La Serenissima (Warner Springs) The Tiso family produces Old World Italian-style wines at its Venetian estate at a high elevation in Warner Springs. Tastings are by appointment only The winery offers red and white wines, including Arneis, a rare white Italian varietal, pinot grigio, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, claret, and syrah.

Lenora Winery (Ramona) has more than 20 different premium white, rose, red, blended and dessert wines, with a tasting room/veranda overlooking the Santa Maria Valley in Ramona.

LJ Crafted Wines (La Jolla) Located two blocks from the coast in La Jolla, LJ Crafted Wines sources grapes from Napa and elsewhere in California, also offering cheeseboards and gourmet bites. Tasting options include a red or white wines flight, get a growler or “growlette” for wine to take home and consume offsite.

Mahogany Mountain Vineyard and Winery (Ramona) Mahogany Mountain Vineyard and Winery is an award-winning, family-run winery with limited production of handcrafted wines from estate-grown Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvedre, Muscat Canelli, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes. Ask about wine-paring dinners. 

Mermaid Valley Winery (Ramona) produces Rhone-style wines including viognier, mouvedre rose, and Siren’s Song, a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre.

Mia Marie Vineyards (Escondido’s Highland Valley) is brand new, with a tasting room and event venue under development for 2021. 

Milagro Farm Vineyards and Winery (Ramona) has a stunning property with a crush house, wine cave, tasting room and patio, lake, wedding venues and organic farm as well as vineyards.  Milagro, which means “miracle,” offers whites, reds, sweet vermouth style dessert wine and estate-grown olive oils. 

Myrtle Creek Vineyards (Fallbrook) produces red, white, and rosé wines from its own Syrah, Grenache, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier grapes, also procuring grapes from other local vineyards for hand-crafted wines available at their tasting room.

Negociant Winery (San Diego) is an award-winning urban winery in North Park. They offer a variety of red and white wines, as well as events. 

Old Coach Vineyards and Winery (Poway) A family-run operation in the South Coast AVA region, Old Coach offers award-winning wines. Options include some unusual varietals such as anglianico and primitive as well as standards such as cabernet sauvignon. 

Old Julian Vineyards and Winery (Ramona) has recently teamed up with award winning Ramona winemaker, John York, formerly of Hellanback Ranch Winery and past president of the Ramona Valley Vineyards Association. They offer red and white varietals as well as some unusual blends such as a picpoul blanc-viognier blend, and also a brandy-fortified muscat.

Old Survey Vineyards (Escondido) is a small family vineyard and winery overlooking San Pasqual Winery, with mostly red wines and one white offering, 

Orfila Vineyards and Winery (Escondido and Oceanside) has won more than 1,300 awards, offering Italian and French varietals. They offer reds, whites and port-style dessert wine as well as gourmet goodies at the Escondido tasting room with patio and grassy picnic areas outside, overlooking the San Pasqual Valley. Orfila also has a tasting room in Oceanside.

Pali Wine Co (San Diego)  started with Burgundy-inspired wines from California’s central coast and now has five tasting rooms across Southern California.

Pamo Valley Vineyards Ramona) has a tasting room in downtown Ramona that serves up different wines daily. The winery crafts award-winning, small-batch wines including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Barbera, Viognier, Orange Muscat and blends all from the Ramona AVA. The tasting room also has a gallery with locally crafted items 

Poppaea Vineyard (Ramona) was founded by a biotechnician and specializes in Italian red wines. The winery recently won its first awards. Red wines are named after the varietal; blends are named after ancient gods.The winery is named after the Roman empress Poppeaea, wife of Nero, and incorporates vineyard layout elements from Pompeii, her birthplace.

Principe di Tricasi Winery (Ramona) specializes in Italian wines from the aglianico, Nebbiolo and aleatico grapes, including a rose-scented varietal. The property also has an aviary and a Christmas tree farm, so guests are invited to “pine and wine.” 

Ramona Ranch Vineyard and Winery (Ramona) is certified for sustainable wine growing and has nationally certified wildlife habitat on site.  At their outdoor tasting room you can savor award-winning red, white and dessert wines.  

Rashelica Winery and Art Garden (Ramona), formerly the Salerno Winery, features a sculpture garden with works by world-class artists. You can enjoy bocce ball, outdoor chess and pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven while tasting wines including reds, whites and sangria.

Roadrunner Ridge Winery (Fallbrook) offers hand-crafted Rhone-varietal wines made from grapes grown on the estate. The owners formerly ran an herb farm that was destroyed in a wildfire and you can still see surviving lavender plants. They recently planted olive trees and hope to offer olive oil in the future.

Rock Canyon Vineyards (Alpine) offers adventure to reach the winery along a rugged road in Japatul Valley. The site began as a horse ranch and now has rescued donkeys as well as handcrafted red wines and a port-style dessert wine.  

Rose’s Tasting Room (Old Town) in Old Town offers tastes of local wines from several wineries as well as craft beers  in San Diego’s historic district where California began.

San Pasqual Wine Bar and Gallery (La Mesa) is a cozy tasting room and art gallery in the heart of La Mesa’s historic downtown village.  Guests can savor multiple award-winning vintages including reds, whites, sparkling wines and some specialties such as passionfruit and habanera wines, as well as port dessert wines. The tasting room often has live entertainment and a back room hosting other events.

San Pasqual Winery at Seaport Village (San Diego) provides waterfront winetasting overlooking San Diego Bay. Winemaker Linda McWilliams is former president of the San Diego Vintners Association and has won many awards. The winery uses many locally sourced grapes as well as grapes from other winemaking regions including northern California and Oregon. Ask about their wine cruises!

Sblendorio Winery (Fallbrook) is a small boutique, family-owned winery producing only cabernet sauvignon and barbera wines with grapes from their own vineyard in the De Luz area. 

Schwaesdall Winery (Ramona) is the oldest winery in Ramona’s Valley of the Sun, with some vines more than a half-century old.  Guests can enjoy tasting in a straw-bale tasting room or on a shaded lawn overlooking vineyards. Ramona is known for its red wines, though Schwaesdall also produces some whites including Chardonnay and a white table blend, white Zinfandel, and several award-winning ports. 

Shadow Mountain Vineyards and Winery (Warner Springs) is located at Sunshine Summit, where they produce predominantly Italian-style wines. Options range from rich red Nebbiolo to Muscat to Chardonnay, plus award-winning Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.

Sierra Roble Winery and Vineyard (Warner Springs) is a family-owned boutique winery on the east slope of Palomar Mountain. They produce Bordeaux-style wines sourced from local vineyards and their own estate-grown grapes.  

Speckle Rock Vineyard (Escondido) Born from the ashes of the 2007 Witch Creek Fire on a former avocado grove, Speckle Rock is named for the resilient granite onsite. They produce reds, whites and roses available at their hilltop tasting room, also offering a home winetasting kit. Their motto is “Cheers to new beginnings.”

Stehleon Vineyards (Escondido) offers vineyard tours of its Valley Center winery and tastings in an Escondido tasting room of their red, white and rose wines, all made with locally sourced grapes including estate-grown syrah, sangiovese, carmenere, grenache blanc and malvasia bianca.

Trevi Hills Winery and Vineyard (Lakeside) overlooks Muth Valley in Lakeside. The winery and vineyard is part of an upscale homes community, owned by the homeowners. Their wine club offers private tastings of the winery’s several red wines and a white wine, as well as events featuring artists, musicians and chefs. 

Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard Winery (Ramona) Born out of the ashes of the Cedar fire, Turtle Rock has been named best tasting room in Ramona by readers of the Ramona Sentinel.

Vesper Vineyards (Escondido) sources wines exclusively from the diverse microclimates in San Diego County. They produce reds, whites, roses and dessert wines. On their patio tasting room with mountain views, you can enjoy reds, whites, sangria and their award-winning blend, Hello Gorgeous.

Vineyard Grant James (Ramona) was named second-best tasting room in America by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Taste wines on a stone patio with mountain views and firepits. They offer award-winning white blends and rose, as well as single varietal reds. Cheese plates are available, or they have menus to order in lunch from nearby restaurants offering delivery. Ask about their wine tours and cruises.

Vino Urbano Urban Winery (San Diego) produces wines influenced by both California and Baja, Mexico. A tasting room is under construction. 

Volcan Mountain Winery (Julian) formerly J. Jenkins Winery is nestled at the base of Volcan Mountain in the historic gold rush town of Julian. With an orchard as well as a winery, they produce two apple wines in a repertoire that includes reds, whites, sparkling and dessert wines. 

Westfall Winery (Campo) has a high elevation in sunny Campo suited for varietals primarily found in the warmer climes of southern Europe. These include Anglianico, Mourvedre, Sangiovese, and Primitivo. They also make wines from Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Orange Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc. Many of their wines have won awards.   

Wine Works (La Mesa) is an urban winery offering tastes of award-winning San Pasqual Wines as well as vintages from Wyatt Oaks. The winery produces specialties such as passionfruit and passionfruit habanera wines, as well as critically acclaimed reds, whites, sparkling wines and a port-style dessert wine. They also offer live music and events such as trivia nights.

Witch Creek Winery  (Carlsbad) San Diego’s oldest urban winery, located in North County, sources its grapes from vineyards in Mexico’s Valle De Guadalupe as well as El Dorado, Clarksburg, Paso Robles, and Napa Valley in California. 

Woof ‘n’ Rose Winery (Ramona) has won dozens of awards for their wines. Named for the dogs and roses that the owners love, the winery’s  specialty is Cabernet Franc, but the small vineyards also include other classic Bordeaux varietals--cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, and petit verdot, as well as Grenache Noir and Alicante Bouschet. They sell varieties as well as blends.

Wyatt Oaks Winery (La Mesa) is committed to producing wines only from locally grown grapes You can taste their white, red and rose wines exclusively at Wine Works in La Mesa, which is run by the San Pasqual Winery.

ZXQ Vineyards (Escondido’s Highland Valley) in the San Pasqual Agricultural Preserve aspires to make bold red wines true to their varietals:  Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.

WINERY ASSOCIATIONS

Escondido Wineries and Vineyards

Ramona Valley Vineyards

San Diego County Vintners Association

San Diego Urban Wineries

Wineries of Highway 94

 

MORE RESOURCES

The San Diego Sustainable Living Institute has a website listing dozens of local farms, including locations, that provide curbside service,shipping, and/or delivery during the COVID-19 shutdown.  View their site here: https://www.sdsustainable.org/san-diego-farms 

The San Diego Farm Bureau also has a directory of San Diego County farmers and ranchers that are selling their products directly to consumers. 

To purchase products, please coordinate directly with the farm via the information 

To view the Farm Bureau’s directory of local farms selling directly to the public, click here:  https://www.sdfarmbureau.org/support-san-diego-farms/ To add your Farm to this list, email katie@sdfarmbureau.org.

Many farms, ranches, and farm product outlets are listed here including farms offering meats, camel milk soaps and lotions, lavender products, and more: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/local-ranchers-and-farmers-grow-new-b... 

Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting and creation of resource sections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and https://www.facebook.com/fbjournalismproject/

 


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