An Event Celebrating the History and the Future of San Diego County Wine

By | April 16, 2018
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The annual San Diego County Vintners Association Wine and Food Festival is the only wine festival to exclusively feature San Diego County wineries, and it is an opportunity for county vintners to share the award-winning wines that mark a rebirth of a historic local industry.

San Diego County wines seem to live perpetually in the shadow of the vineyards of Northern California, so it may come as a surprise to learn that winemaking in California actually started right here a couple hundred years ago.


It began with a Franciscan missionary, Father Junipero Serra, who brought settlers from Mexico to San Diego in 1769. Along with other missionaries, he helped to establish the famous missions of the El Camino Real, and with them, vineyards to produce wine for the sacrament. California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was well known for the quality of its wine, made with the aptly named Mission grapes, and later, immigrants from Europe brought new varietals with them, further enhancing San Diego wine production.

Then, the flood of 1916 brought hard times to the wine country of San Diego, and prohibition was the final nail in the coffin. The heritage vineyards lay largely dormant until the 1990s, when our county saw a revitalization of wine production. There were further set backs with devastating fires in the early 2000s, but the industry has continued to grow.

There are currently more than 60 varieties of grapes grown commercially throughout San Diego County. The region has more distinct microclimates than any other single county in the United States with its coastlines, canyons, mesas, mountains, deserts and waterways.  This allows San Diego winemakers to grow a wide variety of grapes, from Albariño to Viognier.

Bernardo Winery

The San Diego County Vintners Association (SDCVA) is a non-profit member association founded to help support the San Diego viticulture and winemaking community, educate local wine enthusiasts, and promote sustainable agricultural practices in the county. The SDCVA is committed to helping San Diego County return to its roots as a world-class wine producing region, and with 115 wineries, many of which are producing award-winning wines, this goal is within sight.

On April 29th, the association is hosting the 23rd Annual San Diego County Vintners Association Wine and Food Festival, the only wine festival to exclusively feature San Diego County wineries. 

“Our annual festival gives the San Diego County wine community a chance to showcase the award-winning wines being produced throughout our region,” says Izaac Villalobos, SDCVA president and Fallbrook Winery general manager. 

The event, held at Southern California's oldest operating winery, the Bernardo Winery, will include tastings of the county's award-winning wines paired with local delicacies from area chefs, a silent auction, live music, and the opportunity for attendees to purchase their favorite wines. Funds raised will support association education and marketing programs for SDCVA member wineries and vineyards. 

San Diego County Vitners Association

23rd Annual San Diego County Vintners Association Wine and Food Festival

Bernardo Winery, 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte, San Diego

Sunday, April 29, 1pm – 4pm

Tickets: $55 for unlimited wine tasting and a selection of gourmet bites; $25 designated driver tickets include food tasting and bottled water

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