Today was a great day. The Ramona Chamber of Commerce hosted a special ribbon cutting ceremony today at our NEW Tasting Room. We had about 30 people in attendance. San Diego’s Supervisor Dianne Jacob was there to help cut the ribbon and be our “first sale”. Dianne purchased a bottle of our 2008 Indian Princess.
We also had a few other political office representatives there. Many Ambassadors and Directors from the Chamber were there as well as local business owners and our local media, friends and family. We shared some of our wines and welcomed all to our tasting room and gift shop for a sneak peek prior to cutting the ribbon.
By Steve Dryden
(Mission Valley News, San Diego, CA) – You might suspect I’m talking about Mother Nature, but I’m actually featuring a dynamic woman, Jennifer June Jenkin from Ramona. She is the owner of a “garage winery” and is the proprietor winemaker of Pamo Valley Winery in eastern San Diego County. Her artisan project in crafting handmade wines is a family operation that includes her mother, stepfather, dad and grandmother. In fact, her grandmother is the source of Granny’s vineyard with about one acre of Tempranillo and Syrah vines. Serendipity Ranch is home to this small family winery in Pamo Valley, just one mile east of Ramona. Granny’s Syrah vines were burned to the ground in the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, but have made a miraculous recovery and are happily planted alongside Tempranillo vines.
Pamo Valley Winery limits production to about 350 cases annually, with 70% of grapes being outsourced from grape growers in San Diego county. Jenn takes great pleasure in purchasing as many Pamo Valley grapes from her neighbors as available, and will be crafting wines from her own estate vineyards in the near future. She’s planted about two acres on her own homestead with varietals of Sangiovese, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier.
Her current portfolio of wine includes: 2010 Ramona Blush, 2008 Estate Viognier (Lotus) from Orfila winery, 2008 Merlot, 2008 Indian Princess blend, and 2007 Cab on Fire. Her upcoming releases will include either 100% varietal or blends of: 2009 Sangiovese, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Tempranillo, 2010 Zinfandel, 2010 Petite Sirah, 2010 Syrah and 2010 Merlot. Barrel samples tasted from the 2009 and 2010 vintages indicate that Jenn could possibly have more award-winning wines to feature in the near future.
My favorite Pamo Valley Winery “bottled treasure of delight” is the artwork of Jenn Jenkin and winemaker John R. York. Their 2007 Cab on Fire is a dynamic and delicious wine, “a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot.”
Garage wineries are a phenomenal new trend in the artisan winemaking culture. Pamo Valley Winery is actually located in a double-car garage on Serendipity Ranch at 20997 Black Canyon Road. Beginning June 1, Jenn will be hosting the first wine-tasting room in downtown Ramona at Sixth and Main Street. In the meantime, I enthusiastically suggest you visit this amazing, small-family operated winery in San Diego’s beautiful East County. More details are available at www.pamovalleywinery.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (760) 271-3090.
Stay tuned to learn more about the World of Wine and wineries located within easy driving distance of Mission Valley. Steve Dryden is a popular wine, culinary and travel writer. Visit his blog: www.winefoodguide.com.
This was another fun day! Arent FUN days great! My dad was visiting Ramona from San Dimas and we all piled in the car and met some good friends at Pyramid Winery’s tasting room for a nice Sunday afternoon. I liked how they did their tasting by breaking them into two options. One tasting option was for the white’s only fans and the second option was both red’s and white’s. My favorite was the 2010 Orange Muscat, way to go Don! Pyramid Winery is open for tastings every weekend from 12pm – 5pm, check it out if you havent already! They are on the corner of Hwy 78 and Magnolia, Ramona. It’s a nice place to relax outside and a lovely day.
Soon after our Pyramid Winery stop we headed on to Edwards Vineyards & Cellars also located on Hwy 78. Beth and Victor have the most amazing view of the valley. It’s a “not to miss”! They have great, big red wines here. My favorite was the 2006 Cab and the 2005 Syrah. They also serve local individually wrapped rolls from Dudley’s Bakery! A nice change from crackers. They are open on the weekends, weather permitting. Check them out!
Dawna is focused on providing tasting notes and recommendations for optimal enjoyment of Pamo Valley wines, for all wine lovers from novice to expert. A longtime wine enthusiast, Dawna has developed her palate through her studies and pursuit of a Wine Technology certification. In addition to tasting and reviewing, Dawna also assists with winery operations where an extra hand is needed, from crush to bottling. Dawna lives in Cardiff by the Sea, and plans to open a wine bar in Encinitas with her husband Adam. As strong supporters of local business, they will feature a section focused on Ramona wineries.
Born and raised in Sonoma County, Dawna was destined to love and appreciate viniculture. Her career history ranges outside the wine industry: she has worked for major specialty retailers in merchandising and planning roles, and is currently co-owner of a sales and marketing organization that partners with select manufacturers to drive business in retail stores nationwide.
Here we are, back again! We did stop into Schwaesdall Winery prior to coming back to Salerno’s. Sadly we didn’t get any pictures at Schwaesdall’s. But we did enjoy John and Shirley’s company and catching up on all the local gossip! Had lots of laughs and may have even gotten John a small roofing job (yes, he’s also a roofer) John has a nice Harvest Red and we also purchased the Port and the Orange Muscat…yum! Conveniently located literally across the street and down a ways, we wound back up at Salerno’s. What a beautiful day. Of course it began to rain around 3pm, note the green umbrella’s. Loved the wood fireplaces to keep us all warm. Especially those of us wearing flip flops. I think one of their dogs was looking for some attention. We weren’t sure what was going on with him until he started sliding across the concrete in this sitting position! We dog owners know what that means. This was a great day! Pizza, music, dancing, wine tasting, socializing, weather changes, views, etc. Rose announced that they had just gotten word of two new medals.. one for their Red Blend Perfection and one for their 2007 Legrein Vintners Reserve Special. It was an exciting moment. All of their wines are quite good but my favorite of them all was the Ramona 2008 Pinot Noir. Herman is the King of hospitality. He took us in the winery and showed us some behind the scenes things that only friends of friends get to see. You have to love his authenticity, so cool!
Ok, so this was one of the highlights of the day. Did we just double cork that bottle? That’s a first! When you go to cork a bottle and wine starts oozing out the top, one of two things has happened. 1) the Bottler or the QA person wasn’t paying attention and the wine level of the bottle prior to corking was too full, 2) the Corker corked a bottle that had already been corked!
We had all kinds of silly banter about how to treat this bottle like, will it explode on the way home, should we take one of the corks out, how should we store it if we want to keep it like this, and on and on. Luckily our local cork supplier was in town and readily available to answer our corky questions. Whew.
Third stop of the day was Salerno’s. Here are Herman and Rose Salerno in their outdoor tasting room, happily sharing samples of their award winning wines. Not only do they have amazing wines, they have a great atmosphere, probably the best yet in Ramona. Outdoor seating, great views of the mountains and the vineyards. There is so much excitement in the air and lots and lots of friendly people. You will always meet someone new at this winery, guaranteed. Herman has a big screen TV outside that always seems to have soccer on..guess he’s a soccer fanatic! Here he was discussing how he keeps his dried oregano and the importance of not breaking the dried oregano until it is ready for use. You just roll it between your fingers and sprinkle it on whatever your choice of food is, say garlic bread, pizza, spaghetti sauce, you name it. I’m bummed because I left my little freebie baggie of oregano that he gave me behind. 🙁 Herman has always been a good guy for the wine community. Very generous in sharing his wine making secrets and giving great tips. I hear they do a great “Sunday @ Salerno’s”. So we are going to wrap it up on this day and come back tomorrow to have our “down the hill” friends experience the famous Sunday @ Salerno’s.
Second stop of the Ramona Wine Trail of this day. Mahogany Mountain Winery, named after the location of their street Mahogany Mountain Road. This winery is a little further out but worth the drive. To get there you drive through Mussey Grade Road which is a very scenic drive. Lots of huge, old oak trees line both sides of this road and go on forever. Mahogany is located amongst a bunch of mountains which can be admired with the great view outdoors on their patio. One would wonder how a vineyard and winery could be located in all the mountains and big rocks! But they’ve done it. Mike and Kim Hargett are the owners here, along with their son Geoff. They’ve had their tasting room opened almost 3 months now. Kim says they all take turns and rotate the wine tasting room responsibilities. This is my second time here and Kim has been a great hostess. They have a stunning wine tasting room. They really did go all out in their efforts with this project. We all admired the oil painting that adorns the back wall that was painted for the winery by a family friend. The bottles are actually painted with the Mahogany label. Very classy. Kim gave us the tasting tour of all the wines on hand. Our favorites were the 2008 Syrah and the 2003 Port. In fact, I think we bought the last bottle of the port and we wanted two! Kim said she is going to get Mike quickly back to work on making more port! For more information about Mahogany, visit www.mahoganymountain.com.
First stop of the Ramona Wine Trail of this day. Woof n’ Rose..can you guess? Well, they LOVE dogs (woof) and have lovely roses planted everywhere on their property. I’ll start with the dogs first. We had the great pleasure of meeting recently adopted Syrah (sheppard mix) and their new puppy Tawny (short for tawny port, a white lab, i believe). These are winery dogs, through and through. If you visit www.woofnrose.com, the’ve made a tribute to all the dogs in their families past which is a reflection of their true love for dogs. Next, owners Steve and Marilyn Kahle (who I understand to be married 40+ years!) and their oldest son Travis and his long time girlfriend Susan. This family is a hoot, lots of energy and excitement here! We called and made an appointment to take our friends Adam and Dawna wine tasting. I’ve always admired Woof n’ Rose’s wines, they truly make great wine. It was neat to pull up to their establishment as they rounded up the family and dogs to meet us at their winery. They have a similar setup to us, only they have us beat by a few hundred sq.ft. It’s a decent size garage, full of barrels and wine making eqpt. Off to the left is a wall of pictures, licenses and awards. And a nice mosaic round table where they do their wine tastings. It was so fun to share in a part of the joyous, family, wine sharing festivities. Steve and Marilyn talked about the wines and showed us around their vineyard. Our favorites where the 2008 Cab Franc and the 2008 Red Blend named Eglantine (Cab Franc and Merlot). They were also pouring their Estate Reserve 2007 Cab Franc, 2008 Merlot and a 2009 (?) Blush Grenache. We had fun. Good people, lots of laughs. Check out their website for more information www.woofnrose.com.
OUR CURRENT HOURS:
Our current normal hours are:
Mon – Thur 2-6pm
Fri – Sat 2-8pm
636 Main Street, Ramona, CA, 92065