Wine making in the back country of San Diego, Eagles Nest Winery, Ramona AVA

Aug 20, 13 Wine making in the back country of San Diego, Eagles Nest Winery, Ramona AVA

Posted by in All, California, N. America, Travel

I try to visit the States in the summertime to keep a finger on the pulse of the American wine world and of course, to visit family and friends. This year, one of my first stops in the US was San Diego, Ca. I went to university in San Diego so I have a bit of a soft spot for the region but back in the day, there weren’t many wineries in the back country of San Diego around. Or, maybe there were but back then I was more interested in tequila then wine ūüėČ Anyway, I attended the first American wine bloggers conference back in 2008 and it was there that I met the owners of Eagles Nest Winery, Dennis and Julie Grimes. They were very friendly and invited me to visit them the next time I was in the area. Forward to 2013 and we’re tweeting each other, arranging my visit to their vineyard. Dennis and Julie started Eagles Nest about 10 years ago, clearing and planting the hillsides on land they bought in the Ramona Valley. Ramona Valley is in the foothills of San Diego but the beach can seem a million miles away, driving along the dry and dusty hills. That’s what I’ve always like about my home state – the variety of climate and landscapes all encapsulated in one place. Be it rivers, mountains, deserts, lakes or the sea, it’s all here and within easy driving distance. The Ramona AVA is a relatively new designation but the vineyards there are cranking out award winning wines. The AVA has over 20 wineries, which grow both red and white varieties. As the valley is nestled in the foothills of ¬†the coastal mountains, it benefits from the coastal marine layer and fog that rolls in most nights. This being California, the days are hot and the nights are cool, all of which are great for the maturation of ¬†the grapes. At Eagles Nest, Dennis and Julie grow both red and white grapes...

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California Dreamin’, the US Winebloggers Conference ’08

Just back from the US Winebloggers conference in Sonoma, CA¬†and what a fabulous weekend. It was so nice to be in the California sunshine. Having attended both the European Winebloggers Conference and the US conference, I couldn’t say which was better. It’s like asking a mother to pick her favourite child, impossible. They were both fantastic in their own way. First off, both were in beautiful country but then again wine country just has to be beautiful. The US conf. started out with a hilltop lunch and tasting at Kick Ranch vineyards, where we had the opportunity to try wines made by various producers using both their own grapes and Kick Ranch grapes. There were quite a few events on the first day, not only did we have the hilltop tasting and lunch, immediately after we had a live blogging event, then a blind tasting challenge which I didn’t get a chance to attend because I had palate fatigue by then and I wanted to be ready for the NZ winetasting. I should have gone to the¬†tasting challenge because I was disappointed by the NZ¬†wines, especially since I know how good their wines can be (Vidal Wines post). We had two keynote speakers, Gary Vaynerchuck from Wine Library and Alice Feiring. Gary was an amazing keynote speaker, very motivational. After his talk, I wanted to go out and kick some ass!! Unfortunately, I wasn’t familiar with Alice’s work (but no one knew who Jancis Robinson ¬†was so I didn’t feel too bad, not knowing my American cousins, so to speak) apparently she called out California on their big reds, something I totally agree with,¬†but she was funny and gave a good speech. Dinner at Sebastiani Winery was good but really it was all about the social interaction. Before dinner we had a Sonoma wine tasting with some great stuff on offer. The last day was¬† the unconference, an opportunity for us to have roundtable discussions about whatever caught our fancy. I thought this was...

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