Wine down, urban style

By Ronda Savel

Mention wineries and a picture of lush grapes growing on farms and along the countryside takes the stage. Locals and visitors alike are partaking in a new type of winery—urban wineries—where grapes are sourced from country vineyards and unique blends are crafted within San Diego County. Each urban winery strives to be an integral part of its community by inviting people to the crush and to participate in the winemaking process. Here, we feature a few of San Diego’s best urban wineries.


Charlie & Echo Recommended: The Kraken

8680 Miralani Drive #113, San Diego 877.592.9095  charlieandecho.com

Venture to Charlie & Echo, where uniquely flavored sparkling and original wines are bottled in a small intimate space nestled within the Miralani Makers’ District. Arouse the curiosity of your taste buds with each wine created to reflect the true origin of its locally sourced grapes. Enjoy a glass, a flight or a bottle of creativity while chilling out. The perfect spot to kick off or wind down after a night out.

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Carruth Cellars Recommended: The Unicorn Blend It’s magical!

2215 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego 858.847.9463 curruthcellars.com

Carruth Cellars, the largest urban winery in San Diego, sources quality grapes from premium vineyards in California and Oregon, transports them in temperature-controlled trucks and produces award-winning wines. Stroll into Carruth’s Little Italy Wine Garden and feast your eyes on a long copper bar and an intimate lounge. A massive garden with trees and lights awaits outside furnished with various wood and marble communal tables. Awaken your palate with a red or white wine flight paired with a savory charcuterie board in a very chic locale.


Gianni Buonomo Vintners Recommended: Blaufrankisch (that’s “blao-fran-quiche”)

4836 Newport Avenue, San Diego 619.991.9911 gbvintner.com

Gianni Bunomo Vintners, the only fully-functioning beach winery, sources super-premium grapes from vineyards predominately in Washington State and California. The fruit is transported in temperature-controlled trucks, then brought to the beach to vinify, barrel, blend, bottle and serve in a line-up of truly exceptional, award-winning wines. This is the only winery in the US that produces both Charbono and Blaufrankisch. Gianni’s reds are aged two years in French Oak plus an additional year in the bottle and are winning awards on the international wine stage. Sojourn where the beach meets elegance.

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Koi Zen Cellars Recommended: Yin Red Wine Blend

12225 World Trade Drive P, San Diego 858.381.2675 koizencellars.com

Koi Zen Cellars, a craft winery and winemaking facility, produces local and international award-winning wines using quality fruit sourced from Central and Northern California which is crushed, fermented, barreled and aged on site. This hidden gem, tucked away in Carmel Mountain Ranch, was voted San Diego’s BEST Local Winery in 2017 & 2018. The winery features a tasting room complete with a Koi Zen pond, couches and padded chairs. Uncork, “sip” back and relax while enjoying a delightful glass of red, white or dessert wine.

For an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of other San Diego urban wineries, visit sdurbanwineries.com for information on the Passport Program.