The Wine Harvest Season Has Arrived in California!

Post Date: August 25th, 2015

grapes (1 of 1)-3

We're coming up on the end of August, the slow and heavy days where nothing seems to happen and the bustle of early summer has been replaced by sleepy, sultry afternoons.  These are the Dog Days, so called because Sirius, the Dog Star, rises with the sun this time of year, at least in our hemisphere.  

It's also the quiet interlude before Wine Country's biggest time of year: the harvest!  This is a great time to travel to California if you don't live here, or explore the region around you if you do, because there are all kinds of events that take place around harvest season.  

Harvest time lasts a couple of months, because some grapes take a little longer to ripen than others or are left a little longer on the vine.  It starts around September (although some grapes are picked in June or July!) and continues through November or so, at least in this hemisphere (in the southern hemisphere, this time of year stretches roughly from February through April.)  Most of the early part of the harvest is given over to white wine grapes, such as your chardonnays and sauvignon blancs, and, incidentally, pinot noirs, which are picked early in the season. 

The grapes that are left to ripen longer aren't necessarily for sweeter wines: they're also for the bigger bodied and higher-alcohol ones, like merlots and syrahs.  Some wines, in fact, have to be watered down because they're so high in alcohol.  Talk about overachievers.

But regardless of what grapes are getting picked, harvest time is a time of celebration and fun for everybody.  The events range from high-end dinners with wine pairings, to hayrides and tractor rides for people of all ages, to the biggest and best known part of the harvest, the Blessing of the Grapes, and our favorites – the Wine Stomps, where everyone rolls up their sleeves and their pants legs to become part of the fun!

The grape harvest has such a profound effect on California, both economically and socially, that for the 11th year running, the state's governor has declared September California Wine Month.  This means the entire state is studded with more festivities and winery parties than you could shake a trellis at!

So enjoy, salud, and go explore the wine options around here.  You'll find what you're looking for, and then some.  Don't forget to toast us!

Brooke B., Wine Worshiper 

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Spend Your Dog Days with the Coolest Summer Sips… and San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: July 4th, 2015

Photo Courtesy: Flickr user anoldent 

The dog days of summer are upon us. Hammock Day, July 22, 2015, is a way to celebrate the warmest days of the year by embracing the sunshine, grabbing a drink, and – you guessed it – basking in a hammock. San Diego Beer and Wine Tours invites you to enjoy the rest of your dog days by partaking in one of their various excursions which allows you to sit back and enjoy the best brews and wines of San Diego, car-free!

Their all-inclusive tours offer a VIP experience for you and your party to indulge in a "vine to glass" or "hop to table" experience with local food and wine or beer appreciated at the production facilities. The best part being that there is no need to drink and drive. Their guided tours provide transportation between the vineyards, winery, and brewery locations to reduce gas and parking expenses, and to keep you safe.

Winery Chauffeured Tours

With the most wine and food of all the tours, this tour is the whole experience. This tour features pick up and drop off from most locations within San Diego, about 18 wine pours, and an early dinner overlooking vineyard grounds.

Winery Train Tours

Drink in the coastal scenery as you hop on and off the coaster train. No need to drive. This popular tour features about 15 wines and a wine pairing light luncheon.

Beer Train Trolley Tour

Travel by rail and enjoy four breweries for flights of beer and luncheon. This tour features about 16 different beers and a brewery light lunch.

All Tours include wine or beer appreciation presentations by expert guides, behind-the-scenes tours, sightseeing, wine or beer tastings, farm-to-table food, games and prizes!

Tours run daily, year round, by appointment.

For more information, go to or contact: 858.551.5115.

-Traci V., Intern

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Happy Fourth of July from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: June 30th, 2015

Image Courtesy: Flickr user Golf Resort Achental

Image Courtesy: Flickr user Golf Resort Achental


Oh, hey! It's nearly July 4th already?  How did this happen so fast?  It feels like just yesterday that we were waiting up to see in the new year, and here it is Independence Day.  

We love the Fourth of July.  It's nice and warm, the day is long and punctuated by food and cold drinks, and at the end of it we get fireworks!  Usually, we put up a guide to pairing wines and beers with your barbecue foods, but this time, we've scoured the web to find ways for you to work your favorite drinks into your favorite summer recipes. 

If you're grilling beef, accompany it with a porter or stout reduction sauce to simultaneously tenderize it and bring out the smoky tanginess of the beer.  Reductions are super easy and really delicious – all it means is that you boil out some of the water, thereby reducing overall volume and concentrating flavors to make, yes, the perfect sauce.  When you use beer or wine as a reduction base, you also boil out the alcohol, so it can't get you (too) drunk – it'll just make you really, really happy. 

You can use equal parts water and beer or broth and beer, and whisk in your flavors (garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, whatever you like) to taste, then boil everything down until you have an incredible sauce.  Try out this amazing stout pan sauce or an incredible porter reduction recipe to start and just go from there! 

If you're trying sauces and reductions on for size for your chicken or fish dishes, you might want to go lighter. Try a honey-IPA combo for chicken, and go for citrusy with lighter-tasting fish, like a solid Hefeweizen. If you're a vegetarian, use darker beers with mushroom dishes, and lighter ones for other vegetables – or just experiment until you find something you love.  Experimenting with food and drink is the best kind of science!

If these beer reduction recipes whet your appetite, come sate it with us. We'll be offering beer, wine, and food tours to give you even more pairing and reduction ideas. Give us a call and book a tour with us at (858) 551-5115 and we'll talk food and drink all day long.

Happy eating and drinking, bottoms up, and happy Fourth of July!  Let freedom ring and your belly growl.

Brooke B., Freedom Fighter

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San Diego Beer & Wine Tours Loves IPAs!

Post Date: June 24th, 2015

Image Source: Flickr user Bernt Rostad

We officially entered summer in the northern hemisphere this week!

So far it's looking like a wonderfully mild summer – the stuff dreams of people who aren't lucky enough to live here are made of.  It also is looking more and more likely that we're entering an El Nino season, which means we might not have to worry so much about drought in the near future.  Hooray!

So now that we've finished talking about the weather, let's talk about what makes the summer so special in southern California – specifically, San Diego. If you think it's because of the beer, give yourself a gold star.  It's definitely the beer! Summer is when all the best local IPAs start to really shine, and they really are the best local IPAs.  West Coast IPAs were born and perfected right here in San Diego.

IPAs, in case you're wondering, are possessed of a wonderful citrusy astringence that goes beautifully with warm weather food and fun. San Diego pioneered the double and the triple IPA beer.  In fact, the term “West Coast IPA” was developed and then trademarked by our very own Green Flash Brewing Co.  

And people just looooove IPAs.  In fact, for the seventh year running, Russian River Brewing Co.'s Pliny the Elder was voted “Best Beer in America” by Zymurgy magazine.  Russian River is in Santa Rosa, not San Diego, but there's still a San Diego connection: Pliny the Elder's a double IPA, or a beer that, without San Diego, simply wouldn't exist!

And why are San Diego IPAs (and beers in general) so delicious?  As any beer fan will tell you around here – it's all in the water.  Not to mention the committed efforts of all the craft beer lovers who love it here and work hard together to make our city one of the best places to live on earth.

So drink up. It's getting hot out!

Brooke B., Summer Fling

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Summertime is Comic-Con Time for San Diego Beer & Wine Tours!

Post Date: June 19th, 2015
Image Source: Flickr user PatLoika

Image Source: Flickr user PatLoika

San Diego is famous for many things – the sun, the surf, the craft beer (of course), and in the past few years, Comic-Con has made headlines all over the word.  The convention started out in 1970 as a tiny group of comic book aficionados, and since then it’s not only become a model for conventions worldwide, but also blossomed into a huge annual event that brings hundreds of thousands of people to San Diego.

Comic-Con is great, not only because it’s a lot of fun even if you don’t attend the main event there’s still a ton of fun stuff going on all over downtown.  And luckily, you’re not the only person who’s noticed that Comic-Con and beer are a perfect combination. It looks like beer events with a proudly nerdy flavor are here to stay.

So how’s your July 8th looking?  That’s Comic-Con’s infamous Preview Night, but it’s also the third iteration of Stone Brewery’s HopCon: The w00tstout Festival.  $75 buys you beer tasters, gourmet food, and a whole bunch of celebrity hosts!   Just head on out to Liberty Station that Wednesday, and enjoy the company of geeky luminaries like Wil Wheaton and Drew Curtis.  You’ll love it!

July 10th is video game night.  Check out Super Video Game Land at Mission Brewery Plaza. Check out classic video games from the 1980s and 1990s, plus music and works of art they inspired. Oh, and of course there will be local beer. It’s free!

On July 11th, a collision of brews and comics takes place at the Loma Club at Liberty Station, in the form of Heroes Brew Craft Beer Festival!  Don your favorite superhero costume and come on out! Admission starts at $44, and proceeds go to benefit the Warrior Foundation.

There are plenty more events going on both on and off the main Comic-Con site, so come on out and enjoy!  It’s yet another reason San Diego is the place to be.


Brooke B., Geekologist

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San Diego Beer & Wine Tours Wishes You a Happy Father’s Day!

Post Date: May 21st, 2015

Image Source: Flickr user Caroline Granycome

Happy Father’s Day!

We love our dads! But we think that when it comes to holidays, they don’t get a fair shake. After all, we just had Mother’s Day and all the stress that goes into trying to find the perfect gift for the moms in our life, and now here comes Father’s Day, less than two months later!

What’s an offspring to do?

Well, around here, we’re all about gender equality. We thought that you should bring the moms in your life on our tours for Mother’s Day, and now, we think that the best thing to do with the dads in your life this Father’s Day is, of course, bring them on one of our tours.

You could just take them to dinner. But that’s so low key! Why not do something different and bring them on our beer or wine pairing events? Our hand-picked wineries and craft breweries are sure to be a big hit with them, and sharing the fun of our tours is sure to be a great experience for all the dads you know.

Studies show that the best way to improve your bonds with loved ones is by sharing novel and fun experiences with them. So share the great experience of one of our tours with the fathers in your life, and we’ll be happy to be there with you!

We love you, dads, even if you do tell Dad Jokes.

Brooke B.,

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours LOVES American Craft Beer Week!

Post Date: May 11th, 2015

beer (1 of 1)

It's one of the best weeks of the year!

American Craft Beer Week starts today, and it's gonna be a good one. American craft beer has only gotten better and better every year. This week starts today, and runs all the way through Sunday, May 17th, so you have plenty of time to get your tastings on!

This week exists to honor the thousands of American brewers who have made the United States one of the world's premiere beer destinations. The epicenter of this movement is California, and the absolute heart of the American craft brewing community is right here in San Diego.

That's why we feel particularly blessed to live right here! Not only is the weather fabulous and the scenery unbeatable, it's also one of the best places on earth to be a fan of excellent beer.

That's also why we support American Craft Beer Week. When you're drinking a beer, you're not just quenching your thirst – you're also taking in its geography, its history, and the spirit and innovation that goes into making every carefully brewed barrel.

Drink up! After all, the independence and creativity that characterize craft beer are what makes America (and its drinks!) great.

Cheers to great beers!

Brooke B., Cerveza Fanatic

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Wishes You a Happy Mother’s Day!

Post Date: May 8th, 2015
Photo Courtesy: Flickr user ynskjen

Photo Courtesy: Flickr user ynskjen

Happy Mother’s Day!

This is the weekend people acknowledge and celebrate motherhood, whether you have one, are one, want to be one, or just appreciate moms.

There are days to honor women and mothers all over the world, but the one in the United States has a fascinating history.

Mother’s Day, in its original incarnation in the US, actually started as a way to stop wars.  In the late 1800s, Julia Ward Howe was so horrified by the Civil War’s effects on individuals and families that she wrote a poem exhorting women to keep their husbands from fighting, and pushed for a Mother’s Day of Peace.

This was ultimately unsuccessful, but a generation later, Anna Jarvis successfully petitioned the American government to dedicate one day a year to mothers.  It was signed into law in 1914. Today, we just want to show our moms we love and appreciate them!  That’s why you should take yours (or someone else’s!) on one of our tasting tours.

Wine and motherhood go together like peanut butter and jelly, and we’ll be proud to help you honor your mother in the best, and tastiest, way possible. And let’s tip back a glass together to the committed individuals who realized that this day should exist to begin with.

Cheers to moms!
Brooke B., Vinista

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Happy Cinco de Mayo from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: May 1st, 2015

Photo Courtesy: Flickr user PaulSteinJC

It’s almost time for that most beloved of beery holidays, Cinco de Mayo. Whether it’s a reason to go party, or just to throw a backyard fiesta, we’re in your corner!

But we also wanted to share a little-known fact about Cinco de Mayo.

You probably are already aware that it’s not Mexican Independence Day, which a lot of people in the United States thought for years.  In fact, it’s barely acknowledged in most of Mexico.  It’s actually the day that the Mexican army beat back French forces, then thought to be the best in the world, during 1862’s Battle of Puebla.

This victory was a source of enormous pride for people in Mexico, but even more so for people outside Mexico – especially the many living in California. Californios began to celebrate May 5th starting the next year, even though in Mexico the day went almost completely ignored. Cinco de Mayo caught on throughout the rest of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, and is now even spreading back into Mexico.

In other words, like so many other good things in life, Cinco de Mayo is almost purely a Californian creation. That’s why a California craft beer (with tacos, of course) is the best way to celebrate this wonderful day.

We’ll be right there with you.

So, toma una cerveza and drink up.  Salud!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Brooke B., Californista

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Loves Friday the 13th!

Post Date: March 13th, 2015

Photo Courtesy: Flickr user Identity Photogr@phy

It’s Friday the 13th. The name of the day alone can inspire a superstitious shiver. There’s even a name for fear of it: paraskevidekatriaphobia. It causes all kinds of issues, because so many people won’t travel, get married, or even leave the house on this date!

But really, it’s nothing to be afraid of. First of all, it’s Friday. That in and of itself is a wonderful thing! Second, what’s wrong with poor number 13? It didn’t do anything to anybody.

When you dig a little deeper into the origin of just why Friday the 13th is considered unlucky, it becomes extremely interesting. First of all, thirteen has been considered a strange number in many different cultures for centuries, although not necessarily an unlucky one. Historians think this might be because of simple mathematics: the number twelve is seen as a “perfect” number, readily divisible by 2, 3, and 4, and 13, the number immediately following it, is a prime number and something of an outlier.

The number 13 was considered unlucky in the Norse pantheon, which may have been where paraskevidekatriaphobia originated. According to the story, twelve gods showed up for a dinner, and Loki the trickster showed up uninvited, bringing the total number to thirteen just before he shot Baldur the Beautiful with an arrow and killed him. (Of course, when you look at it that way, it seems like twelve is the unlucky number, not thirteen!)

The fear of Friday, on the other hand, seems to come partly from Christianity. Adam and Eve apparently died on a Friday, the Temple of Solomon was destroyed, and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Fear of Friday, like fear of the number 13, also seems to have come from Scandinavian mythology: Freya, after whom Friday is named, was the goddess of love, beauty, wisdom… and death.

Since there seem to be so many ties between Norse mythology and Friday the 13th, we recommend trying out something very Nordic this evening: Mead, or honey wine.

Meads, when done right, taste like flowers and honey, and are just as delightful iced as they are heated with spices.

While there are a number of meads to choose from, but only one full-time meadery in San Diego that we know of. Golden Coast Meads, in Oceanside and Julian, would be one of our favorites even if it wasn’t local, not just for their drinks but because of their message of sustainability.

So go out and try some mead and remember, Friday the 13th can be a honey of a day! It’s all in how you look at it.


Brooke B., Honey Bear

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