When people think of wine tasting in San Diego, most people think of Temecula. Instead of making the long drive, consider visiting LJ Crafted Wines.
Disclosure: As part of a media event, I received a free wine tasting. All opinions are 100% mine.
LJ Crafted Wines
LJ Crafted Wines is one of over 20 San Diego urban wineries. You may not have heard of it because it’s not downtown or in “Beeralani.”
You’ll find LJ Crafted Wines tucked away in Bird Rock, the sleepy residential side of La Jolla. Enjoy fine wines in a vineless setting on La Jolla Avenue, away from the crowds and steps from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.
Founded by South African native Lowell Jooste and his wife, Anne, Jooste brings 20+ years of the winemaking experience to his contemporary urban winery. Jooste earned Klein Constantia’s 2007 Vin de Constance a 97 rating in 2012 from Wine Advocate, the highest rated South African wine.
Jooste has turned over the winemaking reins of LJ Crafted Wines to Alison Green-Doran, one of California’s first female winemakers. Together Jooste and Green-Doran have created a must visit winery.
The wine, made from Napa Valley and Sonoma grapes, is shipped to LJ Crafted Wines in their original barrels. Keeping the wine in their barrels instead of bottling ensures the wine tastes better and is part of Jooste’s focus on sustainability.
Sustainability is an important component of LJ Crafted Wines. From interior design to bottling, no detail is an accident; repurposed wine barrels serve as tables and wall decorations; wine hoops cleverly crafted into light fixtures.
The patent-pending Wine Steward serves wine directly from the barrel. The Wine Steward protects the integrity of the wine, the aging process and reduces waste.
LJ Crafted Wines uses glass growlers and growlettes for Wine Club members and customers who want to buy a bottle. The reusable growlers reduce waste and impact on landfills.
The Surfrider Foundation awarded LJ Crafted Wines the Platinum Level award for their commitment to eco-friendly practices.
LJ Crafted Wines offers a selection of whites and reds that rival any winery. During my visit, I enjoyed several of their award-winning red wine.
Most memorable was the big, bold Gold Award winning 2015 Zinfandel and the full bodied 2014 Pinot Noir Rose with hints of raspberries and strawberries. We finished a perfect evening of wine tasting with a glass of the 2009 Vin de Constane from Klein Constantia. Everything paired exquisitely with the charcuterie board.
LJ Crated Wine is unassuming and refined, much like Jooste. From barrel to glass every drop is pure perfection. It’s an easy drive or Uber from anywhere in San Diego County. I’m looking forward to visiting again. It sure beats driving up to Temecula.
LJ Crafted Wines
5621 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
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