Old World Wine Meets New at Bernardo Winery
Bernardo Winery in North County
After navigating your way through a suburban sprawl and doubting your GPS that you're headed in the right direction, you find a 127 year old winery emerge in front of you, lined with Olive trees and early California architecture.
The Bernardo Winery is first and foremost, a fully functioning winery, crafting wines from San Diego grapes for three generations. The Rizzo Family has owned and operated the winery since 1927 and produces varietals such as Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Albarino and Muscat of Alexandria. Estate grapes are grown on the grounds, and Winemaker Ross Rizzo sources other grapes from vineyards around San Diego County.
Keeping local with grape sourcing is important to Bernardo, as is knowing the terroir and growing varietals that suit it. Rizzo says of his winemaking "We make our wines in the old traditional ways but also incorporate contemporary wine knowledge and techniques. Knowing what suits our changing and varied San Diego climate is also important. Our San Diego terroir may not suit a Cabernet, but a Sangiovese or Syrah will develop beautifully."
We'll agree with that. Rizzo's latest release, a 2015 Syrah, recently won a Gold medal at the 2017 Toast of the Coast Wine Festival, and you can see why. The Syrah has an elegant nose and a silky finish, with notes of raspberry, vanilla, and toasted oak.
Besides making award-winning wines, the Bernardo Winery is a unique surprise, housing over a dozen specialty shops and galleries within some of the original buildings on the grounds. From handmade jewelry and mosaic art, to locally made chocolate, bath and body products and an onsite coffee roaster, the winery truly has a village feel where visitors can shop, eat and drink local. The onsite cafe and coffee shop serve a variety of fresh breakfast and lunch items and cheese plates to pair with your wine or coffee.
The winery tasting room is open daily 10 to 6pm. Visitors can enjoy a flight of 5 wines for $12 or grab a glass or bottle of their favorite varietal to sip on one of the many patios, shaded by olive trees, throughout the winery courtyard. Some of the regular events at the winery are a Farmer's Market, Fridays from 9am to 1pm, Live Music on the patio, every Sunday from 2pm to 5pm and Artwalk every Friday til 9pm during the Summer. Whether you're looking for a day trip, a wedding venue, a staycation or just a daily trip through time to sip, shop and relax, the Bernardo Winery is calling you home. Visit bernardowinery.com for more information.
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