Bernardo Winery on the 4th of July. Would the place be mobbed like the last time we stopped by, a few years ago on a Sunday? Or might we start to appreciate why this winery has survived since 1889? To our pleasant surprise, the scene was mellow. Not dead, but more like a weekday. Two shared tastings overseen by Linda allowed us to cover nearly the entire menu. We liked the 2008 Chardonnay –citrusy with just a hint of oak, but the reds – all quite respectable – vastly overshadow the whites. Our favorites: 2008 Meritage Private Reserve (fantastic nose, complex flavors, nice body), and 2006 Estate Syrah (luxury in a glass). Both grapes are grown on the adjacent Bernardo Estate, which the Rizzo family has owned since 1927. Originally they had 350 acres, i.e., a large chunk of Rancho Bernardo! Over time the family sold off some land but retained and continued to manage the core properties, including the vineyards and winery. The funky Bernardo complex of shops, a restaurant, and a plethora of interesting old tools and machines is a welcome respite from the suburban sameness that surrounds it.