Ramona Valley wines were a big hit at the held Oct. 2 at the Bernardo Winery.
“I thought the event exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said Carolyn Harris, co-owner of Chuparosa Vineyards. “It was a wonderful experience for us, and all the [Rancho Bernardo Historical Society] staff were really great.”
Harris, who’s also Legal Counsel for the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA), poured wines from her vineyard and several others at the festival.
The event, co-sponsored by Bernardo Winery, Belmont Village Senior Living and a number of other local businesses, benefitted the historical society, which operates a museum at the winery.
Along with San Diego county wines, the event included beer tasting, food, music and art.
I was there multi-tasking. As members of the historical society, my wife, Peggy, and I staffed the museum from noon to 2 p.m. Then we went to enjoy the event. At the same time, I covered the Ramona wine community’s participation for my column.
There was a good crowd. At one point we encountered Gary Powers, the historical society’s festival chair, who was beaming.
“We had 100 people on a waiting list this morning!” he exclaimed, referring to people purchasing tickets online the morning of the festival.
A week later, Powers gave the official crowd count as 900, “based upon the number of pre-tickets sold, online tickets, and day-of-the-event tickets.”
“We were busy pouring most of the time,” said Mike Kopp, co-owner of Kohill Winery. “From the time we got there, we poured continuously.”
The festival officially ran from noon to 4 p.m. Kopp said that two hours in, he ran out of wine. He had to go back up the hill to his winery to pick up some more.
A number of other Ramona wineries had the same experience. Carolyn Harris said she ran out of her own wine and that of several other wineries due to strong demand. Andy Harris made a run back up the hill. The Harrises coordinated the trip with other wineries. and served as drop-off points for any wineries bringing additional wine to send back down to the festival.
Besides Chuparosa, Kohill, Edwards and Pyramid, other Ramona area wineries pouring at the festival included and Cordiano Winery. In the course of my wanderings around the festival, I heard compliments about all the varietals being poured. I enjoyed a few myself. Way to go, Ramona vintners!
The festival also marked the unveiling of the Ramona wine community’s first official brochure. The cover features a glass of wine against the backdrop of a ripe bunch of grapes and rows of vines. It unfolds into a four-paneled map of the valley, pinpointing wineries as well as other Ramona attractions. There’s also a list of eight wineries with open tasting rooms, with addresses, hours of operation, contact information and featured varietals for each.
The brochure was designed by Beth Edwards, graphic artist and co-owner of Edwards Vineyard & Cellars, for the Ramona Valley Winery Association, which is affiliated with the RVVA.
Harris is excited about the brochure, calling it “a major milestone for the launch of a wine tour in the Ramona Valley”
Edwards said brochures are now available at the office, 960 Main St. They're also available at all winery association member wineries. The association is also working on distributing them at local hotels, motels and other businesses attracting out-of-town visitors.