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What Makes San Diego a Prime Winemaking Region?

San Diego is quickly becoming one of California’s notable wine regions. There are as many wineries in San Diego County as there are breweries and the wine business is flourishing.

What makes San Diego a prime target for winemaking, you may ask? Let’s take a look at the key factors.

San Diego’s Microclimates Are Ideal for Growing Many Varietals

If you’ve spent any time in San Diego, you probably know about our weather conditions, known as microclimates. Within an hour’s drive, you can be in one of the four microclimates: Coastal (beaches!), Inland Valleys, Mountains, and Desert. Because Southern California has a wide range of microclimates, we are able to grow pretty much all grape varieties, whereas in other winemaking countries, the climates are only suited for a select number of varieties.

Experts say it has to do with the high elevations, wind roaring in from the ocean and its granite soil.

Winemakers use a system called the Winkler Scale as a way of seeing how suitable locations are for growing grapes. The system determines the number of hours when temperatures are higher than 50 degrees and which varieties are suitable to be grown in that location.

Wine Grapes Love San Diego’s Arid Climate

San Diego grapes for winemaking

You might be asking, “what about watering the grapes?” And although Southern California doesn’t get much rain, grapes withstand a low-water diet.

Winemakers often stop watering the grapes altogether a couple months after they’re planted so they don’t get too large. Medium-sized grapes tend to create the best wine.

Knowing When to Harvest

Whether or not the grapes are ready to harvest depends on the results from a refractometer – an instrument that determines the sugar ratio in grapes. Most grapes are ready only a few months after being planted as grapes develop from spring until late summer or early fall.

Once the refractometer determines the grapes have a perfect ratio for harvest, the winemaking begins.

San Diego Has All the Ingredients Needed for a Sensational Bottle of Wine

It seems as though San Diego has all the necessities for perfect winemaking conditions – even better than countries notable for their wine.

…and it’s been that way for a long time!

According to the San Diego County Vintners Association, “San Diego County’s legacy of viticulture and viniculture reaches back into the 18th and 19th centuries when the Franciscans tilled the San Diego Mission lands, as the favorable climate and soil conditions allowed the vines to flourish. After the Civil War, San Diego saw an influx of German, French and Italian immigrants from Eastern states who brought vines clippings of European origin. The wine industry flourished here until the destructive flood of 1916 and, eventually, Prohibition and World War II devastated the industry.”

Today, the winery businesses in San Diego are booming and San Diego vintners are winning awards that were once reserved for regions in France and Italy. It’s our pleasure to share the unparalleled wines of San Diego with our guests. Won’t you join us?