Saturday, August 6, 2011


Today marked the first annual San Diego Wine Country Festival, hosted by Bernardo Winery and the San Diego County Vintners’ Association. The event drew a substantial but comfortable crowd, from wine enthusiasts to novices out to enjoy a pleasant afternoon of sipping in Bernardo’s parklike garden. For $20 guests received a tasting glass and a punchcard good for ten tastes, with additional cards available for $10. Three well-established wineries served as anchors of sorts: Orfila was pouring very generous tastes of Chardonnay, Petit Syrah, and Reserve Merlot; Bernardo opened the best wines on their tasting room list (including 2006 Estate Syrah); Retired Witch Creek winemaker Dave featured a 2007 Paso Robles Cabernet and a 2008 Sonoma Coast Syrah.  The other eleven participants were comparatively small, new, and/or off the beaten wine-tasting paths, making the festival a great opportunity to get acquainted with people and wines we hadn't encountered yet. Each winery could pour three wines and offer bottles of the same for sale in a “store” erected for the occasion, allowing potential buyers to taste a wide variety of offerings – pressure-free – before deciding what to bring home.

Tasting in Bernardo Winery's Garden

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