Not all of Julio and I’s adventures are international ones. On our days off we like to explore the area around San Diego and one of our favorite things to do is go wine tasting. Since I had to go pick up my wine selections for the month (I’m a wine club member), we drove up to Escondido to Orfila Winery. Orfila was established in 1994 although grapes were grown in the area since the early 1970s. The 70 acre estate is also a popular venue for celebrations, including birthdays, bridal showers and weddings. Since they opened, Orfila has received over 1,300 awards in both national and international competitions.
We joined the wine club at Orfila last year, after visiting their Julian, CA location two years in a row at Christmas time. We like to go into the mountains, get an apple pie, wine taste, and get our Christmas tree, and last year our sommelier asked if we wanted to join their wine club. It’s free to join, but you buy 3 bottles of wine every 3 months. They choose the wines (based on your selection of “reds,” “whites,” or “mixed” on the form) that cost no more than $90 total, and you pick them up at the Julian location or at the winery in Escondido. The winery is a lot closer to us, plus we hadn’t been there for tastings before, so I selected that location for our pick up. If you don’t pick up your wines within the first month, they ship them to you. Also, you get unlimited wine tastings for up to 4 people at any time at either location. Hypothetically, I could go wine taste for free EVERY DAY. The idea is almost too exciting to think about. Plus you get discounted club prices on the wine, and they have happy hour at the winery, so the bottles are further discounted and you can enjoy them on their patio outside overlooking the vineyard.
We like to time our visits to the vineyard at about 3pm, because happy hour starts at 4, but the winery is open for tastings daily from 11am-7pm. You get to taste 6 wines of your choice (they have about 15) during your tasting, with reds, whites, a few sparkling wines and a few ports to choose from. If you aren’t a wine club member, you pay $12 for your 6 tastings and get to take home the wine glass with the Orfila logo. Glasses of wine are $10 each. They also offer free daily walking tours of the property at noon, where you can see the process that goes into making the wine before you enjoy the finished product. On weekends the winery provides food trucks and live music on their patio area, but during the week you can bring your own snacks or purchase some cheese, crackers, or chocolates from their store.
Since we discovered how amazing their Escondido estate is, we’ve driven up almost every week. We have brought friends and family to introduce them to this fantastic winery, and they’ve all had a wonderful time. We will be hard pressed to find another in Southern California that can beat Orfila! To plan your own vineyard visit, click here.