In 1988 Calabria-born opera singer Herman Salerno started making wine in a Long Island, NY basement. He and his wife Rose, together with her parents, followed their California dream and ten years later planted their Ramona estate with cuttings from older vines. In 2002 they bottled their first Petit Syrah. Today they have the only listed acre of Pinot Noir in San Diego County. Pinot is a difficult grape to cultivate in warm climates, but we loved the result and bought a 2008 bottle. Also noteworthy: 2007 Lagrein and the 2006 “Elegante” Bordeaux-style blend. Barmaster Ben graciously and knowledgeably hosted us in the cordial, Mediterranean-style tasting area, not failing to point out that Herman once won an award at the Orange County Fair for a wine he’d made in his garage. On the patio next to the bar guests can sit at tables and order handmade, wood-fired pizzas. The Salernos are very happy to finally be open to the public, and we’re very happy to have found them.
Joining Salerno's wine club requires a 6-month commitment at two bottles per month. Members get free tastings but are not allowed to open club wines on the premises.