By now, most of us have been hiding inside and stress is building up. While some of us are simply "done with" COVID, others are still being cautious. Heather and I fall into that later group but I've found a secret place about 90 minutes outside of downtown San Diego that is exactly what we needed for our mental health. We discovered Volcan Mountain last fall, before all this happened - but now, the winery has an even more special place in our hearts.
While some of you might have suburban yards and neighborhoods where it is safe to walk around, Heather and I don't. In different times, our urban loft with the ability to walk to dozens of restaurants as well as breweries, wineries, distilleries, and even the ballpark was a dream. Today though it is literally a prison. Walking around on the sidewalks downtown simply isn't safe unless you want to throw caution to the wind. The same holds true for simply walking around our building since people refused to wear masks or respect other people's space.
Going to most parks or the beaches in San Diego, likewise presents the same challenges.
A few weeks ago, Heather and I were excited to hear that Volcan Mountain Winery was opening back up again. Not only had we enjoyed their wines last fall but we had become wine club members and now had not ONE but TWO quarterly shipments to pick up.
While they aren't the only San Diego winery to be open now, I've discovered that they are more unique than just their wines. While all wineries open now must conduct business outdoors, at Volcan Mountain they go a step further. You can enjoy sitting in their chairs and tables that they have set up --- or you can bring your own and just relax for a few hours. Other wineries that we've asked do not allow this and so we'd be limited to sitting where pre-designated space was available and generally speaking most picnic tables and outdoor chairs simply aren't great for relaxing in.
Here though, we're able to bring our camp chairs, set up under an apple tree, and enjoy their wine for as long as we want (during their open hours from 11-5pm Fri-Sunday anyhow).
I was a bit nervous initially since I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that the staff here included some of the nicest, most conscientious people you will ever meet ... but what about the guests. I've been here twice in the past three weeks and it felt almost like a private club. People were friendly, all guests were wearing masks in line and respecting others' space, and everyone was friendly.
Volcan Mountain Winery's staff was also diligent about cleaning tables and chairs as well as recovering used glasses and empty wine bottles from the return area. While the bright Southern California sun does a great job at killing anything exposed to direct sunlight, it was extremely impressive how busy the person was as she walked around and making sure that any vacant seat or table was sanitized almost immediately.
So, I encourage you to check them out as well.
I have not had a glass of wine here that I didn't like and the same can be said for their sister property - Hart Winery in Temecula, California. However, my favorite here for enjoying out under the sun is hands down their Grenache Rose. It is absolutely the perfect wine to enjoy in the hot sun and they even provide a chilling cuff to place around it so it stays cool while you enjoy it. Following that is their lightly oaked Chardonnay, followed by Dolcezza their Estate Grown Apple Wine. Their reds are also very good too and I enjoy them at home ... but can be a bit heavy when enjoying outdoors.
It truly can't be overstated how important it is right now for you to find a place like this. Mental health will ultimately what helps keep us strong through this journey. Finding a place that you can go and relax, take your mask off without fear of who might walk by, and being able to enjoy some wine with someone special is our secret to staying mentally stable right now. If you'd like to join me, please do --- but stay at least six feet away!