By Miriam Raftery
August 9, 2019 (Jamul) -- Over 200 guests turned out at the Jamul Winetasting Festival July 27th at D&S Farms in Jamul, home to Granite Lion Cellars Winery. A golf cart ferried guests to the festivities in a shady oak grove complete with waterfall, twinkle lights and a stage area carved into a rocky mountainside—all to benefit the St. Pius X Catholic Church building fund.
Attendees relished tastes of wines from numerous local wineries as well as beer, hard cider, and an array of foods that included Crafted Greens salads, a slab of barbecued beef, Cajun pasta, plus an array of fruits, cheeses and desserts.
Guests bid on silent auction prizes including a Vatican Cook Book, wine baskets, a cooking appliance, and more. There were also raffle prizes (I went home with an Italian dinner basket complete with Giardino’s gift certificate, wine, olive oil, pasta, sauce, decorative tray and serving spoons). Plus one lucky winner went home with an entire tableful of wines – enough to start off a well-stocked wine cellar.
DJ Brandon Watts provided musical entertainment as the stars came out. Visitors also posed for souvenir pictures at a photo booth stocked with fun accessories such as glittery tophats and more.
Richard Westfall (left), owner of Westfall Vineyard in Campo, spoke on the “Days of Wine and Roses.” Ever wonder why vineyards often have roses planted at the ends of rows? Besides attracting pollinators such as bees, those beautiful blooms also provide early warning signs of troubles such as mildew and mold, before it decimates grapevines.
David Whited, a sommelier for Trader Joe’s and Granite Lions Cellars, regaled the audience with entertaining tales of his career, including a stint at a posh hotel where he once delivered room service to a starlet who disrobed. Becoming a master sommelier is an arduous effort that few achieve, with strict standards for categorizing wines. None-the-less, wine preferences are highly individualized and there are many affordable wines of high quality, according to Whited.
Linda McWilliams, winemaker at San Pasqual Winery and viticulture instructor, talked about a vineyard apprenticeship program at City College, formerly at Cuyamaca College. These are paid apprenticeship program providing training, with opportunities to work into careers in viticulture to fill the labor needs of local vintners at San Diego County’s many wineries and vineyards. If you love wines and want some truly hands-on experience, this could be a career for you.
The Jamul Winetasting Festival started out at St Piux X Catholic Church (photo, right: a priest from the church), but quickly outgrew the venue.
D&S farms has surely one of the most desirable outdoor locations for hosting a festive event in East County. In fact,
we liked it so much that East County Magazine will be hosting a “Fall Fiesta” here on October 5th. Sign up here for our free weekly updates via our newsletter to receive your invitation!