Marti Kilby, CRS

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San Diego County Wineries…Bet You Didn’t Know…

San Diego County Wineries…Bet You Didn’t Know…

Fun Facts about San Diego County Wineries


  • California wines, now world renowned, got their start over 200 years ago right here in San Diego when the Franciscan priests cultivated grapes at the first California mission, San Diego de Alcala. 
  • Vineyards flourished in the area until devastated by flooding in 1916, followed by WWII and prohibition which collectively wiped out the industry.
  • Wineries didn’t begin a comeback in San Diego County until the early 1990s. From that point forward, there was a steady growth in the number of acres planted with grapes and wine production.
  • Growers were again thwarted when the massive fires of 2003 and 2007 swept through the county destroying thousands of acres of agriculture. Interestingly, when growers began to replant, many opted for grape vines which use only 3% as much water as thirsty avocados.


  • According to the San Diego County Vintner’s Association sales dropped during the Pandemic, but the number of wineries actually increased to 150.
  • Surprisingly, there are 203 active winegrower licenses in San Diego County, compared to only 108 in Riverside County, home to the Temecula Valley wine region.
  • The influence of ocean, mountains and desert creates a wide variety of microclimates allowing for successful cultivation of over 60 grape varieties.
  • Unlike some regions, our wineries are spread throughout the county and are not huge commercial operations. In many of our wineries, the person pouring for you in the tasting room might be the winemaker, creating a unique and personal experience.

For an interactive map showing the location of wineries throughout the county, click here. And don’t miss the annual San Diego County Vintners Wine Festival, Sunday, May 15 at Bernardo Winery. Sample wines from 20 local wineries while enjoying a charcuterie plate and live music! More info here.

Looking for a property to start your own vineyard? Please give me a call and I’ll be happy to share my experience buying and selling rural and agricultural properties.


Photos courtesy of Altipiano and SDVCA


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