Big wineries complimented by boutiques with unique styles
Last updated 7/29/2021 at 5:20pm
Special to the Village News
With Fallbrook Winery being for sale (but not closing) and Monserate Winery opening in the next couple of months, those "big players" are complimented by a variety of other area boutique wineries and other unique styles.
One, The Vineyard at 1924 is actually more of an outdoor bar with food trucks. The others – at least eight operating now and several others on the way – are what is called boutique wineries. When people use "boutique" they are referring to a winery that is small, quality centric and makes a personal wine.
In the wine industry, a winery producing less than 5,000 cases annually is considered boutique. Most are family-run, limited-production, hand-crafted and artisan. Several potential wineries are awaiting permits and won't operate for more than a year.
Another went out of business in March due to the economy's slow-down from COVID-19. There are also wineries that are wholesale only, and also vineyards that produce for local wineries.
The boutique winery owners seem to cooperate in supporting one another in their pursuit of the perfect wine. Some have unique concoctions like wine slushes and Lime Cello. Last week the Village News featured a story about Fallbrook Winery and Monserate Winery. Here's a look at the smaller establishments in the area:
Toasted Oak Vineyards & Winery is located at 1090 Red Mountain Lane, Fallbrook. Open weekends, owners Roger Alaux and Marcia Flowers can be contacted at 760-420-3678. The couple entered the wine business after retiring from their previous careers. Alaux has been making wine since the 1960s as a hobby but wanted to stay active in retirement.
"It's big time work," said Flowers. "It's seasonal, but I'd say we're most busy in the spring and summer."
All their wines are produced from grapes grown in Fallbrook, most from their own vineyard. Like the other wineries, they harvest and process the grapes, then bottle and label on site. They make small amounts at a time, she said, so their wine list changes often.
Their first harvest was in 2010 and they have less than two acres planted. They post a world map so visitors can mark where they are from. "It's really astounding," Flowers said. "People come from all over the world. We've had visitors from Japan, Israel, Europe, South America and Alaska."
She said they like to cooperate with other local wineries and that they produced a map for visitors, showing nearby wineries and restaurants.
Myrtle Creek Vineyards is located at 1600 Via Vista in Fallbrook. Owners Matt and Audrey Sherman can be contacted at 442-444-5066.
Matt Sherman noted that Fallbrook is becoming a destination for wine enthusiasts. He noted the cooperation in winery owners being able to help one another. The property was previously farmed as a citrus and avocado farm, but as water became more scarce and too expensive to sustain those crops, he said wine grapes became the ideal solution.
Sherman and his father Bruce planted the first vines in August 2011 on the grounds of the family orchards. The winery opened for business six years later. They have planted about four of their 12 acres and bottle about 1,000 cases a year.
Matt Sherman is the winemaker and his wife handles the business side. Winemaking is hard work, he said, with long hours, getting dirty from pruning, spraying, and walking the rows to check for irregularities and irrigation.
"We're known for our red wines," Matt Sherman said. He also noted that with the warmer weather, their wine slushes are becoming popular.
Eli Madyson Vineyard owners David and Elizabeth Sandberg operate at 2327 Casitas Del Sol, Fallbrook. They can be contacted at 760-731-3308 for a wine-tasting.
The boutique winery was established in 2005 and made its first wine in 2007, labeled Bob Cab in honor of David Sandberg's father. The next year they launched the Eli Madyson Vineyards brand, which Sandberg said is being sold at Major Market.
He said the 2016-2017 wines provided the affirmation and rewards of many years of hard work and persistence.
Beach House Winery at 1534 Sleeping Indian Road, Fallbrook, was started by George and Kim Murray's passion for making wine. That began in the 1990s as a hobby at their Oceanside home, blocks from the beach. In 2010 they moved to four acres in South Morrow Hills on the border of Oceanside to start the boutique.
They have two acres of vines and the property features an ocean view. During the close-down from COVID-19, they worked on remodeling the small venue, adding a pizza oven to bring in caterers.
Kim Murray is president-elect of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce.
Romiglio Ridge Winery is owned by Dennis and Gina Romiglio, who also took the break from COVID-19 to remodel and landscape the property, including a waterfall and pond.
The winery is located on two acres and the family lives on the property. About 1.5 acres are planted. They have a bed and breakfast opening soon, being updated from an adobe home built in 1946 to an Italian style. Call 435-640-3206 for hours.
Estate d'Iacobelli is owned by a dentist and nurse in Michigan who plan to move to Fallbrook when they retire. Meanwhile, Michael and Shasha Micillo manage the boutique winery at 2175 Tecalote Drive, Fallbrook (760-723-0616). Owner Roeni Iacobelli is the son of Italian immigrants and as a youth learned winemaking from
his grandfather in central Italy. The couple purchased the 15-acre estate in Fallbrook in 2013.
Today, they carefully craft their harvest into a collection of unique, small batch wines, under the Estate d'Iacobelli label and have opened a tasting room on the hilltop estate just south of Pala Mesa Resort.
They have 15 acres planted on a former avocado grove that had been destroyed by fire. Their tasting room and patio have room for 50-60 guests. The house is also available as an Airnb, Micillo said.
The Vineyard at 1924 (760-651-2182) has an operation unlike other local wineries. They don't have any wine tasting but instead have an outside wine bar and live music on Friday through Sunday. Wine is sold by the glass or bottle and can only be purchased on site. There are also several food trucks.
Located at 1924 E. Mission Road, the venue has a high-visibility roadside presence. Owned by the Carson family since the 1950s, the former avocado and citrus groves were planted with grape vines in the early 2000s. The first bottling was done in 2010 and it opened to the public with Christmas tree sales and wine tasting in 2015.
Scuncio Winery is still 1 to 1.5 years away according to owner Vince Scuncio, a local contractor. The land is still being cleared and it is just down the street from Monserate Winery, opening in a couple months.
Scuncio Winery is a member of Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce and the owner said he is still working to obtain its Major Use Permit from the county. He plans to initially plant four acres and be able to have weddings on the property. It's located on Beavercreek Lane, Fallbrook.
Sblendorio Winery did not respond to phone inquiries, but from its web page, it describes itself as a family-owned boutique winery. All their wines are "vineyard designated" from their De Luz Vineyard. They are located at 38973 De Luz Road, Fallbrook. Phil and Laura Sblendorio (760-728-8230) established the boutique winery in 2013.
Owner Gordon Merrick of Adobe Hill Farms in Fallbrook said he planted his first grapes in 2017 and this week plans on their first bottling. He is awaiting approval as a boutique winery. He said about 14 of their 90-acre farm is planted with vines.
They are located on Canonita.
Another business in construction to be a vineyard and wedding/event venue is Falcon Vineyard. They are still working with the county for approvals. Owners Marcel and Susie Falcon own a construction company and 6 ½ acres on Calle Telcolotlan.
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Casa Tienne Vista Vineyard, (760-31-2356) 4150 Rock Mountain Road, Fallbrook, also didn't reply to messages. In addition to wine tasting, the winery caters to area restaurants, bars and markets.
Owners Susan and Mick Gallagher have been producing wine for 14 years in the De Luz Canyon area.
Hueftle Farms Vineyard in Bonsall is a wholesale winery with products available at Daniels Market, Village Bonsall Market, Bonsall Fine Wine & Spirits and Pala Mesa Market.
The vineyard is on one acre with 800 vines, said owner Monte Hueftle. "We are the only Bonsall vineyard and winery that sells wine in Bonsall," he said. They are best known for their Bonsall Red label.
Moody Creek Farms in Bonsall is affiliated with a large winery in Nevada. Calls were not returned to determine if they would be classified as a vineyard only or also a winery. The property is located on Via Maria Elena.
Orizaba Winery on Calle Linda in Fallbrook is not open to the public. Their wine can be found at Major Market in Fallbrook.
Sleeping Indian Vineyard on Sleeping Indian Road in Fallbrook is another winemaker closed to the public. Its red wines are sold online only. There are also several vineyards in Fallbrook that produce grapes for local wineries.
Roadrunner Ridge Winery located in the Rainbow area on Rosa Rancho Lane was owned by Jim and Judy Brady. It closed in March.
"We couldn't survive nine months of Covid," said Judy Brady. "It was also a lot of work and needed to close."
The winery owners are a resilient group and seem to enjoy sharing their special creations with others.