If you follow me on Instagram (@SeldomlyStill), then it comes as no surprise that I love wine and enjoying it with pretty much anyone. When you think about the perfect day in San Diego, there's a very good chance that one of the places listed below would be a part of that. Without further ado, here are my favorite wine spots:
For date night:
Wet Stone (Bankers Hill)
It's intimate, quiet, and the lighting is on point! What else do you need?!? This is the perfect setting for a romantic date. They also have a fantastic dinner and small bite menu.
Boutique Vino (East Village)
You probably have driven by this place a hundred times and never noticed it given its discrete curb appeal. They offer unique wines, have a friendly+knowledgable staff, and have a great cheese and charcuterie board.
For a big group or outdoor experience:
Carruth Cellars Wine Garden (Little Italy)
The back patio is the perfect place to be on a beautiful sunny day. With exposed brick walls, surrounding plants, and ample seating, it's also a great spot to hang-out with a large group. FYI, reservations are not required. The Unicorn Blend is my favorite.
To learn about wine and/or meet people:
Wine Vault & Bistro (Midtown)
This intimate, semi-hidden restaurant offers monthly wine dinners which are a great way to meet people. I attended one of these dinners, and a family member from Daou winery presented each wine as it was paired with the course. If you want to take your wine experiences a step further, the restaurant hosts trips every year to wine regions around the world. Make sure you sign-up on their email list, so you can be kept in loop regarding upcoming dinners and events. Reservations should be made in advance.
For a cozy dinner + great wine selection:
The 3rd Corner Wineshop and Bistro (Ocean Beach and Solana Beach)
These two restaurants and wine shops provide top-notch wines without being pretentious. Join their wine club (it's free!) and get discounts on the wine. Be the first to know about exclusive tastings and their weekly Sunday dinner menu (3-course meal with pairings) when you sign-up on their email list. If you are SERIOUS about wine, check out their walk-in wine refrigerator for bottles priced $200 and up.
For a small group of friends or family:
Cucina Urbana (Bankers Hill)
Nothing pairs better than amazing pasta and red wine! Doubling as a wine shop and a swanky Italian restaurant, you're bound to have a good time with some friends or family in this place. This restaurant is perfect for getting your night started as it's always a lively scene, and located in the heart of the city. A reservation is recommended, but you can always try to snag seats at the community table or bar.
For natural wines:
The Rose Wine Bar (South Park)
This South Park gem offers a robust selection of natural wines. Natural wines are made organically with no extra additives added to the wine (which I've heard is helpful when it comes to hangovers!). The rustic ambiance is charming for a date or a get together with a couple of friends. They also have an event space next door that you can rent for your own shin-dig.
For amazing ambiance:
The Lodge at Torrey Pines (La Jolla)
All I can say is: THE VIEW IS WORTH IT. Head to the lodge, grab a seat on the couch next to the fireplace, and open a bottle while you gaze upon the spectacular view. This place strikes the perfect balance between comfort and elegance.
To taste a variety of quality wines:
Jensen's Wine Tasting Fundraiser (Point Loma)
This is an event held by Jensen's Point Loma once a quarter that donates a percentage of their profit to various non-profit organizations. For a nominal fee you'll be able to taste over 70 wines! Food and other beverage samples are included. When you come across a wine you enjoy, simply put in an order for the bottle(s) and pick it up at the specialty grocery store when it arrives. Wine tastings like this can be a great way to figure out your palate, purchase solid wines, and meet new friends.
Whether you're an avid wine drinker or just beginning your wine journey these San Diego wine hubs are definitely worth a visit!