Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this




By Miriam Raftery



November 22,2014 (Ramona) – Fine art, music, wine and gourmet food -- all served up in a castle. What more could one ask to savor for in an event?

The second annual Ramona Art and Wine Festival, held on November 1st, was even bigger and better than the first. Held at the elegant Amy Strong Castle in Ramona to benefit the Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural program, this year's event featured 18 local artists, a dozen local wineries and 10 local chefs.

Outside the castle, booths displayed arts and crafts with the artists and artisans on hand to answer questions.   Johnathan Martinez ( displayed striking and colorful portraits of mostly Chicano subjects, all painted without faces so that “everyone can imagine themselves” in the scene (photo, right). 

Other artists displayed jewelry, sculptures, and an array of unusual crafts such as lacquered palm tree pods.

Guests savored delicacies from restaurants, caterers and even tribal chefs from a local casino, also tasting wine from numerous local wineries in a region fast gaining fame as a wine lovers destination.  

Offerings ranged from a light and refreshing peach chardonnay by Ramona Ranch Winery (photo, left)  to numerous hearty red wines and some creatively named offerings such as Purgatory Pink, a vintage from Hellanback Winery.

A highlight of the event was a live auction of wine barrels hand-painted by local artists (photo, right). 

Not normally open to the public, The Amy Strong Castle at Mt. Woodson, one of only two “castles” in San Diego County, is a multi-level, 27-room 12,000 square foot castle completed in 1921 for dress designer Amy Strong, who had it built as her dream home.

The Ramona  H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project, Inc. celebrates Ramona’s rich cultural heritage through an outdoor visual arts program.

The event was organized by the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association and the Ramona

Valley Wine Region Magazine.

For a complete list of participants, visit

Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.