Charlie & Echo

By / Photography By Sam Wells | August 31, 2017
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On June 3, 2017, in conjunction with the kickoff of San Diego’s third annual Urban Wine Week (“Sip the City”), we sat down with event organizer and veteran urban winemaker Eric Van Drunen at his newest venture—Charlie & Echo—to discuss the pluses and perils of making wine in an urban setting.


Q: Weren’t you originally at Vinavanti in Hillcrest, which has since closedits doors?

A: My wife, Clara, and I started Vinavanti in San Marcos in 2007. I had only just started the wine venture right before I met her. As a retired US Air Force Master Sergeant, she was able to become increasingly more involved in the business. After a brief stint in Sorrento Valley, Vinavanti eventually found its way to Hillcrest in 2015.

Q: What prompted you to change the name of your winery and move it to an industrial area in Miramar?

A: The name Charlie & Echo is simply the international phonetic alphabet version of our initials, C & E—as in alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.  As for the move, it was a question of cost per square foot versus output. We have better bottom-line potential here in Miramar. Plus, we’re more accessible, with plenty of free parking and a tasting room that accommodates up to 40 visitors. But the method of making wine stays the same. We simply bring the grapes in from the country and make it here in the city.

Q: I am guessing that, because of your new location, you don’t get a lot of tourist business.

A: We may get some added tourist business during San Diego Urban Wine Week, but we mostly cater to the local community—people who like to drop by and chill out with their friends and neighbors.

Q: How did Urban Wine Week get started?

A: San Diego Urban Wineries, our local guild, started “Sip the City” in 2015 as a way of bringing together the best of San Diego’s urban wineries to toast the local wine movement. This year we had over a dozen urban wineries giving participants an opportunity to taste local wines and meet local winemakers, while enjoying delicious food and live entertainment.  

Charlie & Echo

8680 Miralani Dr., #113

San Diego


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