As much as I enjoy a glass (or two) of red wine while binge watching a series on Netflix (see: Love Death and Robots), I welcome a change ambiance when the weekend rolls around.
Living in California, I’ve experienced wine directly from the vine at sprawling Napa, Sonoma and Temecula Valley vineyards, so when my sweetie gifted me a tasting at BK Cellars in Escondido, picturesque views of rolling hills definitely didn’t come to mind.
The rise of urban wineries
In the early 2000’s, long before I discovered how red wine could make me feel oh so fine, urban wineries started sprouting all over the U.S. In 2014, it was estimated that there were 200 urban wineries in operation throughout the country.
In 2013, San Diego Urban Wineries was created to raise consumer awareness of local wine crafters in the county. Currently 18 wineries, including BK Cellars, are featured on their website. For $35, a passport can be purchased for tastings at 13 urban wineries.
The bk cellar experience
The tasting room at BK Cellars shares the space with numerous barrels of wine that it produces onsite. Although it was February, the room was colder than I expected. I later learned that as a working winery, the room has to be kept at 67° to ensure quality. While some may not be able to shake the feeling that their boozing it up in a warehouse, I was charmed by the crystal chandelier hanging in the center of the room and the local art lining the walls.
Besides, I was not there to judge the décor; I was there to try the wine! The menu presented 8 wines: 3 whites and 5 reds from grapes grown in Valley Center, Temecula and Paso Robles. As a part of our Groupon deal, we had 5 tastings. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a fan of reds, so I stuck to their Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. With grapes grown at the Ponte Vineyard in Temecula, the 2016 Cabernet Franc, an award winner and the most expensive, was my favorite. I allocated two of my tastings towards it!
We left with a 2016 Tempranillo from Paso Robles because a percentage of the proceeds went to the local humane society. Nothing like buying wine and feeling like you did some good for the world!
the urban winery appeal
From my experience at BK Cellars, I can understand the appeal of an urban winery.
First, and most obvious, is the location. No need to plan a whole day or weekend trip to venture into the countryside; an authentic wine tasting experience is a short Uber ride away.
Second, urban wine makers have the freedom to create wine from grapes produced by various vineyards. Larger wineries often stick to creating wine from grapes harvested on-site.
Lastly, urban wineries connect with their local community and encourage their patrons to follow. BK Cellars showcases locally produced art and features local musicians to perform on Sunday. In their bathroom, they use master soap maker and Escondido local Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap.
Next time I’m in the mood for an alternate wine tasting experience, I may be looking into SD Urban Winery Passport.
In Escondido and want to check out BK Cellars? Learn more here: https://www.bkcellars.com/
Want to check out other North County urban wineries? Get your SD Urban Winery Passport here: http://sdurbanwineries.com/product/passport/