12 local urban wineries in San Diego have joined together to form the San Diego Urban Wineries alliance (SDUW), and to raise awareness are offering a Passport that includes a tasting at all of the urban winery locations for only $50. While many people may not have heard the term “urban winery” before, if they live in the San Diego area, there is probably one in their neighborhood. An urban winery is a fully producing and functioning winery that opts to house its facilities in a commercial or industrial area instead of a rural one, using grapes grown in the country.
Named by Sunset Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Cultural Trends Shaping the West”, most urban wineries are within a short drive, easy walking distance, or on a public transportation route. Urban wineries have operated in San Diego for over twenty years, and have tripled in number since 2010. Similar trade organizations exist in other areas, such as San Francisco (East Bay Vintners Alliance),
Portland (PDX Urban Wineries) and Seattle (Seattle Urban Wineries).
In the San Diego area, the oldest continually running urban winery was established over twenty years ago (Witch Creek Winery). The industry grew slowly up until the last few years, when the number of urban wineries increased rapidly from five (5) in 2010 to seventeen (17) in 2013. Though urban wineries have experienced significant growth in the last few years, the history of urban wineries is long – a winery owned by Virgil Bruschi operated in the area of India and Market streets in late 1800’s.
Like the local craft beer industry, high-quality and artisanal wine is being made in commercial and industrial locations across San Diego County by skilled and dedicated craftspeople using the best ingredients they can find.
The beginnings of a San Diego urban winery association date back to 2012, when Eric Van Drunen (Vinavanti) opened a conversation with other urban winery owners about joining together to promote and support their growing industry. Informal discussions and meetings followed, until San Diego Urban Wineries was formally founded in March of 2014 as a California Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation.
The twelve founding winery members of the group are 2Plank Vineyards, Fifty Barrels Urban Winery, San Pasqual Winery, Vesper Vineyards, BK Cellars, fre-be fruit wine company, Solterra Winery & Kitchen, Vinavanti, Carruth Cellars, San Diego Cellars, Stehleon Vineyards and Witch Creek Winery (*Stehleon Vineyards and Vesper Vineyards offer a combined tasting).
To raise awareness and give customers a great way to discover the thriving urban winery scene, San Diego Urban Wineries has just released the Passport. The SDUW Passport is good for 11 tastings at San Diego Urban Wineries for only $50 - a 50% savings off the price of the individual tastings. The Passport includes a winery map, information on each winery, and room for tasting notes - a great way to explore the world of San Diego Urban Wineries!
Passports may be purchased in any participating tasting room or online at sdurbanwineries.com. While the Passport is good until May 31, 2015, there are limited quantities for sale.