Settled in the coastal mountains of Southern California, Escondido offers both an urban and natural atmosphere with easy access to San Diego. There are many boutique wine tasting rooms and vineyards to visit, along with a variety of culinary experiences and farmer’s markets.
If you’re looking for a unique foodie vacation or a lesser-known California wine region to explore, Escondido is a good choice – quieter and more removed from the typical wine regions that are packed with visitors.
The Escondido Wine Region is significant in California‘s wine history. Some of California’s first wine grapes were grown and pressed there, launching the state’s wine tradition as far back as the late 1700s.
Today there are over 20 wine tasting rooms both in town and in the hills. You’ll find quaint shops to pop into in town, and you’ll find beautiful hilltop terraces with great views where you can go to spend an afternoon with a glass of wine in hand.
Wineries to Visit in Escondido, California
You’ll want to visit some of the top Escondido wineries, like Orfila Vineyards. They offer wine tasting and live music at the winery, and you can relax in the tasting room that overlooks the 70-acre estate. There is a picnic area, as well. Since opening in 1994, Orfila Vineyards has won over 1,000 awards, making it a “must visit” on your tour of Escondido wineries.
Hungry Hawk Vineyards
Another acclaimed vineyard in Escondido is the Hungry Hawk Vineyards and Winery. With 15 varietals, an air-conditioned tasting room, and an outdoor patio with views of the San Pasqual Valley, this winery is a real treat to experience.
You can take a tour with the winemaker that includes a five-wine tastings, or you can sign up for a thirty-minute tour of the vineyard and winery (tastings including). Be sure to taste their unique blueberry wine.
Forgotten Barrel Winery
Forgotten Barrel is housed in one of the truly unique buildings in the area. The winery building has been completed renovated after its first life as the historic 1920s Ferrara winery. Some of the old equipment from the first winery is still found on the property.
The fruit for their wine is sourced from Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast and San Diego County, as they start to build back the vineyard and return it to its old glory. You can stop by for a tasting and tour, see the old Barrel Room and some of that old equipment too.
They are open Friday to Sunday. Call for a reservation.
Imagine buying a property for the purpose of housing your champion show horses and inheriting a winery too! That’s the story behind Cheval, which means horse in French.
Their Tipsy Barrel Tasting Room is a welcoming place to stop by for a drink and it’s dog friendly, and there’s a nice outdoor seating area. They also have animals on the property you can visit (horses, goats, and alpacas).
They are open Thursday to Sunday.
BK Cellars Urban Winery
At BK Cellars, you get a sort of all-in-one kind of experience. The tasting room is also the barrel room, and you can really just hang out and enjoy yourself. There’s happy hour, there’s live music and dancing, and of course there’s also a great selection of wine.
The urban tasting lounge is located in the industrial part of Escondido, the historic Vineyard District. It’s a working winery/tasting room, so you’ll really feel like you’ve been immersed in the experience.
They are open from Wednesday to Sunday and there are no reservations needed.
Belle Marie Winery
Belle Marie Winery is a family-owned and operated boutique winery in Escondido, California. The winery and tasting room are situated on 3 1/2 acres, with lush citrus groves and plenty of sunny and shaded areas throughout the grounds that are perfect to sit and relax with a glass of wine or enjoy a picnic or snack.
They produce more than 20 different wines each year in a wide range of styles, specializing in red blends but also making single varietal reds, white blends and varietals, rose wines, and a number of different dessert wines.
Once you’ve spent some time in Escondido, you’ll see why this lesser-known west coast destination has everything a wine enthusiast could want, with its stunning vineyards and award-winning wineries. While the crowds flock to Napa Valley wineries, you’ll have the insider track the hidden gem that is Escondido.
Be Prepared For Travel
Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:
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- Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
- Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner)
- Book a tour (we always use Viator to find the best tours)
- Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries.
One thought on “Escondido Wine Tasting: Where to Sip & Swirl”
We have lived in Temecula for 2.0 years and have been members of up to 9 wine clubs. we pick and choose, and one of our favorites has won Calif State Fair Winery of the year 3 out of the last five years (South Coast/ Carter Estates). They also have a variety of casitas and other overnight rooms + restaurant and spa. But we have variety preferences there and elsewhere.