The last winery I’d like to share with you from my NBC segment about San Diego County wines is Bernardo Winery. It’s the only winery I’ve ever been to where I did not drink any wine. Why, you ask? It’s not just a winery. People of all ages have something fun to do in this mini community. It was also 10a.m., I had La Jolla Girl with me, and I had a feeling I’d wind up taking some wine home. I truly could not believe that it had taken me so long to visit, because we had such a great time.


Bernardo Winery is located just east of the Bernardo Center Drive exit from the I-15. Plenty of signage guides visitors through some residential neighborhoods and then, voila, you’ve arrived. It took me 35 minutes to get there from La Jolla.


Bernardo Winery, founded in 1889, is San Diego County’s oldest winery. They are also the oldest continuously operating winery in Southern California. Many wineries did not survive prohibition or the strict regulations that followed. Bernardo Winery survived by growing olive trees (there are still many on the property today) and by selling olive oil to tuna fisherman at the docks in downtown San Diego. They also manufactured grape juice. The winery is family owned an operated and has been since 1927.

A Destination

Aside from the tasting room, there are many other reasons to visit Bernardo Winery. For example, there’s 12 shops! Ladies, The Bag Cellar carries authentic name brand designer handbags at a discount. When your favorite department store has overstock, some of the bags wind up here. La Jolla Girl was not allowing me to shop much, but I did see a to-die-for Marc Jacobs bag through the window.

The Gardeners Cottage had these amazing bonsai trees along with other stunning arrangements.

We also shared a delicious smoothie at the Sweet Pea Coffee Cottage, pictured below. This darling cafe was full of people (and one of the winery cats) who seemed like they’ve been coming here for years to chat and have a cup of joe. Some were even sitting outside with their dogs. Yes, the winery is pet friendly.

Friday Fun

We chose to visit on a Friday morning, because of the Farmer’s Market from 9a.m. to noon and the kids show in the outdoor theater. La Jolla Girl bought a princess t-shirt she still loves. We had a few other stops to make before returning home, otherwise I would have loaded up on vegetables and fruit too.

And, Of Course, The Wine

Most of the wines in the tasting room (open from 9a.m. – 5p.m. on weekdays and 9a.m. – 6p.m. on Saturday and Sunday) retail for a reasonable $20 or less. You’ll pay $8 for 5 tastes.

I took home two excellent wines, but my favorite is the one I featured in the NBC segment. It’s the 2009 Private Reserve Primitivo. I had the opportunity to share it with some social media friends who write about or work in the wine industry. I took my first sip and then began feeling happy warm fuzzies about the holiday season. I couldn’t figure out why, but my friends confirmed the wine has a very pleasant pine tree/spa-like aroma that mellows out the fruit. The wine was smooth and just got better after spending time in my glass. Unfortunately, it didn’t spend too much time in my glass, if you get my drift. We all truly enjoyed it. The Primitivo was in limited production so if you’re lucky enough to find it, buy it. Bernardo Winery grows grapes in various spots all over San Diego.

The holidays are coming so head over to Bernardo Winery with your gift list. Plan to eat and have a few sips of wine, while you’re at it! And, thanks to @SoCalWineDiva for being our tour guide and providing the wine for my segment. Have you been to Bernardo Winery?

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Love this place. It’s right near my home and my boys and I go on Friday mornings for the Farmers Market. Even if it’s just to wander around, it’s a fun place to do that!

    1. I know! I think it’s great – maybe we should tweetup there sometime. @sandiegomomma lives right there too and I told her she would definitely love it.