Images of rolling hills filled with succulent vines, rustic tasting rooms, and open land come to mind when imagining a traditional vineyard.
That's a shot I took myself on a visit to Ponte Winery in Temecula Valley. While I do enjoy making the trip up to Temecula, I was stoked to find out that there is a modern take on wine making and it's #trending.
Here I am at Daou Winery and Tasting Room in Paso Robles after completing a 4-night 5-day, 38-mile backpacking journey in King's Canyon National Park. It was an incredibly beautiful tasting room, enveloped in marble counter tops and set high on a peak that overlooks all of Paso Robles. We loved the wines we tasted there (as you can see on my face).
Urban wineries, in contrast to traditional wineries, are very hip and modernized, located in the city rather than the country. In my neighborhood (Adams Avenue / North Park area) there are two that have popped up and being a wino, I've always wondered what Urban Wineries are all about.
There is a lot of freedom in urban wine making. Depending on what varietal they want to work with in a given year, urban wine makers have the option to transport that specific grape from the succulent region they were grown to their urban facility for the wine making process. Urban wineries allow winemakers to essentially go grocery shopping for the ideal grape.
I looked up Negociant Winery in North Park and was amazed by the varietals they made wines with, some of which I hadn't heard of and others like Zinfandel, which I know and love.
Ripe fruit is taken from vineyards and then carted off to an urban setting for the crushing, fermentation, and aging processes, making it easier for wine lovers like me to taste wines without the commute. Where do the grapes come from you ask?
Urban Winemakers do not grow their own grapes--rather, they are sourced from established vineyards, larger ones that grow for mass production, and grow enough to sell their fruit by the ton to other winemakers. Even grape farmers who grow the fruit but don't make wine will sell to urban wine makers.
In San Diego, there are 12 urban wineries. You can scope the details about all of them here: http://sdurbanwineries.com/sduw-map/
This approach to tasting wine is a nice middle ground between making the trip to Temecula to get the whole vineyard/tasting experience and shuffling to the grocery store in sweats to buy a nice bottle of vino for a night in.
Written by: Sara Cortez