San Diego Cellars – a downtown urban winery

Jan 11, 14 San Diego Cellars – a downtown urban winery
Rudolph the Rednosed sailor

Maritime Christmas decorations (San Diego Marina)

I spent the majority of my holiday break in San Diego, Ca., which was nice and sunny, of course. But besides the sun and sea, San Diego also has their very own urban winery. The concept of urban wineries more or less started in California but has since spread to many other parts of the States – Washington and Oregon in particular having large urban winery communities in their major cities. We here in London also have our own urban winery, London Cru.

Bar/Tasting Room

Bar/Tasting Room (tinsel was a concession to the Christmas season)

Anyway, I spotted San Diego Cellars as we were driving down the street and decided to stop in for a quick look around. Their winery is quite rustic, shall we say,  it mostly consists of barrels and plastic tanks in the back lot of their small bar/tasting room with a small crusher/destemmer hidden under a tarp. I was a bit surprised to see all the barrels out in the open but then I remembered, it never rains in Southern California and winters are mild.

barrels and crusher out round the back

barrels and crusher out round the back

What they lack in state of the equipment, they certainly make up for with laid back California charm. The wine maker is Todd Hipper (what a name!) and he was busy working away in the back lot when we arrived. The inspiration to have an urban winery in Downtown San Diego was similar to us in that San Diego has a thriving craft beer scene and they thought why couldn’t they make great wine as well.

view from the barrels, the back patio

view from the barrels, the back patio

They bring in their grapes from various wine regions in California and they also make all their wines on the premises. They currently make three Syrahs, a Chardonnay, a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Pinot Noir, an Old Vine Zinfandel, a Viognier, and a Viognier/Chardonnay Blend, all on tap. The wines were very much in the California style but well made and are available to take away in their 1000ml ‘Cruzer’ refillable bottles. Apparently this is their version of a ‘Growler’ which is a 2 liter refillable glass jug that American craft breweries sell to customers.

sidewalk A-board

sidewalk A-board

It was great to see an urban winery in San Diego and I’m looking forward to visiting them the next time I’m in San Diego.

Seaport Village, 15 min walk away

Seaport Village, 15 min walk away from the winery



  1. sonia nunez /

    I am so surprised they can create so much wine in such a tiny space! Great pictures!

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