I never advocate drinking in sweltering heat. But, on labor day weekend while revisiting Shadow mountain winery in San Diego county there was no way to resist the great wines this small, down home winery serves – even in 100 degree heat. Alex McGeary, winemaker and owner , greets us and is in full harvest mode with just a few volunteers at hand. He tells us that they’ve had to harvest early by a couple weeks due to the heat. This seems to be the case across many wineries for this year. He gives us a tour of his operation and tells us about their process of making wine and lets us witness the destemmer in action. Plastic bins sit outside next to the barrel room and he lifts up the tops to show us the must from merlot that is fermenting. The aroma fills the air and I’m excited to taste what’s inside. In the tasting room, his wife
Pamela pours some great wines, including a San Francisco Chronicle medal-winning blend called 3 Variations. The house standard is the Old Gus, which is a great table red. I’m sad to learn that they are out of their Carignane, which is another one of my favorites, but I’m sure on my next return they’ll have some again. But, this time because of the heat we also opt for some chilled wines including a light and slightly sweet aromatic Viognier and a crisp Grenache Rose. We take the Viognier, Grenache Rose and two bottles of 3 Variations to enjoy outside in their picnic area with family and friends.
Shadow mountain is located on the outskirts of Temecula valley, but only about a half an hour drive. I revisited the winery for the great wines, service, and of course the interesting bath tubs they have sitting underneath trees outside! How could I resist getting back into the tub for another great photograph amongst the vines! The property also has small cottages for overnight stays.
This is a small family owned operation and it’s refreshing to see a small winery thrive without big equipment or waste. I highly suggest a visit if you are in the area. Most wines are priced under $30 and a great bargain for the quality.
Happy Wine Tasting!
Shadow Mountain Vineyards
34680 Hwy 79, Warner Springs, CA 92086
Don’t miss 3 Variations!