If you’ve been following my blog and YouTube channel, you know by now how strongly I feel about the importance of buying your wine from independent wine retailers. In case you need a refresher as to why, the main reasons are to support local businesses, they carry more family-owned wineries, and they taste every wine in their shop. Plus the wine buyers are trained professionals who can help you find what you are looking for.
San Diego has been going through a culinary renaissance and it’s an exciting time to live here, or even visit and hit the hot spots. San Diego is of course known as the beer capital of the world, but the wine scene here has been emerging and the best really has yet to come.
The following are some of the top independent wine retailers you should check out and what they specialize in (in no particular order):
4095 Adams Ave.
Village Vino is located in the quaint neighborhood of Kensington. This shop, which is also a wine bar, focuses on worldly selections. Mostly French and Italian, however you can find some of the highly sought after California producers. Village Vino hosts a lot of tasting events, so be sure to check out their calendar.
2219 30th St.
The Rose, which also operates as a wine bar, is nestled in South Park. The Rose is the only retailer in San Diego who strictly focuses on wines that are considered, “natural.” Essentially wines that are produced with zero chemicals, indigenous yeasts, and with as little human intervention as possible. Looking to host an event? Check out the large private room available for your function.
2161 India St.
Want to know what the hipsters are drinking wine wise in San Diego? Head to Vino Carta in Little Italy. You can grab a glass at the bar and chat up the “winetender” about what wines have them excited. Hipsters aside, Vino Carta does carry a lot of the serious worldly producers, and get their hands on some of the rarest selections in town. For a small retailer, Vino Carta has quite an amount of white wines chilled for you to take home and are ready to drink.
Bird Rock Fine Wines
5687 La Jolla Blvd.
Located in the charming neighborhood of Birdrock, Birdrock Fine Wines specializes in worldly wines with anything from the everyday value up to the collector’s hard to find wines.
San Diego Wine Company
7080 Miramar Rd. #100
San Diego Wine Company definitely has the lowest wine prices in town, and that doesn’t mean at all that they sell junk wine. They simply run on thin margins in order to extend their prices to the consumer. Located in Miramar, San Diego Wine Company is centrally located for all of the county. Focusing on worldly wines from the basic, easy drinkers all the way up to wines for the collector.
The Wine Connection
2650 Via De La Valle #C130
Located in the posh neighborhood of Del Mar, The Wine Connection carries worldly selections, but with a large emphasis on high-end California wines. You can also expect to find unique wines from Lebanon and even Kosher wines. Don’t feel like driving? The Wine Connection has a large offering with their on-line store.
Meritage Wine Market
162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd. #A10
Nestled on the edge of Rancho Santa Fe, Meritage Wine Market is where you go to find exclusive California selections. They also carry a small variety of wines from around the world and will find you the best quality for your budget. Walking into Meritage is like walking into a wine cellar, their store is always at a pristine temperature.
Cardiff Seaside Market
2087 San Elijo Ave.
Inside this gourmet grocer in Cardiff is one of the best wine departments in a small, local grocer. Expect to find some familiar labels, but also plenty of boutique wineries to select from. Worldly selections, but with an emphasis on California. Don’t forget to head to the meat department and ask for the “Cardiff Crack.” On weekends there’s a line like you wouldn’t believe for it!
The 3rd Corner
Ocean Beach: 2265 Bacon St. 619-223-2700
Encinitas: 897 S. Coast Highway 760-942-2104
Two locations, OB and Encinitas, The 3rd Corner mostly focuses on California wine. Carrying familiar labels alongside some wonderful value priced imports. You’ll easily find something at either location. Stick around for a glass and nosh at the bar.
2975 Roosevelt St.
Located in adorable downtown Carlsbad, Paon is the fine wine shop in the area. Paon has transformed from carrying mostly California Pinot and Chardonnay to worldly selections and some of the greatest French and Italian wines around. Sign up for one of their focused tasting events to learn more!
The Miller’s Table
514 S. Coast Highway
Whoever would have thought fine wine in Oceanside?! If you haven’t noticed, Oceanside is catching up in the scene. The Miller’s Table is mostly a tasting bar, however they do have a very small retail offering. Focused mostly on Italian selections, you can however find worldly wines and even some crafty California at stellar prices.