A Trip Through California’s Original Wine Country!
There are many reasons to feel lucky living in California. The one big reason that comes to my mind first is that within an hour, you can hop in your car and be at the beach, the mountains, theme parks, or the desert. I have lived in California all of my life, and because of that, I am very spoiled; so much so that I don’t think about the importance of being so centrally located to all of these wonderful locations.
But if you are a wine lover as I am, we Californian’s are also extremely lucky to live so close to many great wine regions.
One of the regions in Southern California that is often overlooked, and shouldn’t be, is the Cucamonga Valley Wine Region AKA Cucamonga Valley AVA.
The Cucamonga Valley Wine Region, prior to prohibition, was the hub for most of the wine making that occurred in California during that era.
But as we all know, thanks to prohibition, most of the winemaking that took place in the 1930’s ceased, except for wine production for local churches. Even though prohibition was lifted many years later, the damage had been done and many wineries were forced to close their door.
Luckily for us, there are some wineries in Cucamonga Valley that remained open after all these years and are producing some fine wines.
When I think of which varietal that the Cucamonga Valley is famous for, the one that immediately comes to mind are the Old Vine Zinfandels. The region is so well-known for its Old Vine Zinfandels, that many wineries from other parts of California source their grapes from the Cucamonga Valley.
Currently, there are 6 wineries that are within the Cucamonga Valley AVA region. Here is a list of the wineries that are part of the Cucamonga Valley:
I have been to all of the wineries, except for Rancho De Philo, which is open for only a few weeks in late November. I can honestly say that all have their unique strengths.
For example, Galleano Winery, located within 5 minutes from Highway 15, has a small but quaint tasting room. Across from the tasting room, is a park area with picnic benches as well as some exotic peacocks. It’s a nice place to hang out for a while with a picnic lunch and some wine.
The selection of wines is vast, with many whites, reds, and sweet ports and sherry to choose from. They have at least 3 Zinfandels on the tasting list which I consider to be their goto wines. I also love their Chianti which I purchase on almost every visit to Galleano. When you go wine tasting at Galleano, be sure to ask for Jorge.
San Antonio Winery is located within 10 minutes from Galleano Winery on the west side of the 15 Freeway. San Antonio actually has 3 wineries which are all located in Southern California. Their main tasting facility, located in downtown Los Angeles, has a cozy tasting room as well as a very nice restaurant. In Paso Robles, San Antonio has a tasting room and also happens to be the area where a large portion of their grapes are grown (Monterey is the other area where their vineyards are located).
In Ontario, San Antonio has a large tasting room that includes many wines and other items for sale. They also have a nice medium-sized room for group tastings.
But their wines are what will keep you coming back. Like Galleano, there are many varietals of wine that you can choose from. Probably their most popular wine is the line of Stella Rosa wines. The wines appeals to their younger followers since they are so sweet. For us older wine lovers, they also have many great choices.
Traveling north on the 15 Freeway about 15 minutes or so, you will find the Joseph Filippi Winery. Filippi Winery is one of the older wineries in the area, and has a nice facility located in Rancho Cucamonga.
Filippi grows most of their fruit locally, but there are some varietals that they get from other California vineyards. Filippi also has a nice large tasting room with other wine-related items for sale. Because of their size, they are able to accommodate other activities, such as their ever popular Taco Tuesday. Every time I visit for Taco Tuesday, the tasting room and banquet room are packed. And it’s for good reason because the Mexican food and wines produced by Filippi are a great pairing. I especially like pairing my Carnitas Burritos with a bottle or two of their Mourvedre. I also on other occasions enjoy tasting their other reds, such as their Big Joe Red and old vine Zin.
Mountain Vista Winery is the newest winery in the Cucamonga Valley. You wouldn’t think that though if you drove up to the winery and saw the building they are in. That’s because the winery is located in one of the oldest winery facilities located in Southern California. The Biane Family Winery Complex, located on 8th Street in Rancho Cucamonga, was built in 1904 which was once considered part of California’s original wine making capital.
Their experienced wine team and ownership are passionate about their wines and that energy shows in the wines that are produced and their hospitality. They also have put on many events at the winery in a short time and have a large group of followers.
As far as the wine is concerned, I gravitate towards their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It doesn’t have that harsh tannic structure found in other Cabs and is very easy to drink.
Mountain Vista is currently doing their tasting in their large production facility on the Biane grounds, but are putting the final touches on a large tasting room right across from their production room. It is sure to be a great place to hang out and enjoy some fine Cucamonga Wine!
The Wine Tailor has been a fixture in the Cucamonga Valley for the past 15 years or so. And you won’t be surprised to hear their tasting room is also located at the end of another building that was once one of the oldest wine production facilities in California. One of the fun things about The Wine Tailor is that they allow it’s customers to purchase a small batch of wine and conduct bottling parties with their guests. We did this once with a large group of our friends and we had a great time!
The tasting room is not large, but is large enough to taste some of their fine wines. Their tasting list changes quite frequently, but my all-time favorite is their “Cab-A-Licious”. It was the wine we made for our bottling party and is still my favorite when I taste at the Wine Tailor.
Rancho De Philo, as mentioned earlier, is only open for a few weeks at the end of November, so I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting their wines yet. But I do know they have quite a following as each year they sell out of their Cream Sherry, which is the one varietal they produce.
So there you have it! That’s the rundown of what to expect from the wineries in the historic Cucamonga Valley AVA (American Viticulture Area). Since there isn’t a large number of wineries to visit, you can easily visit all of the wineries over a weekend. If you consider spending a weekend in the Cucamonga Valley, there are some beautiful hotels and resorts in the area, as well as spas and other fun things to do while on your Cucamonga Wine Tour.
If you don’t wish to drive to all of the wineries over the weekend, a Cucamonga Wine Tour Bus is also available.
When you are ready to make the trip to the Cucamonga Valley for your memorable wine tasting weekend, or just wish to take the Cucamonga Valley Winery Tour Bus, contact World and Wine Getaways, and a custom tailored trip can be created for you and your group. You can visit the website, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us toll-free at 888 673-5806.
We look forward to helping you put together your memorable trip to Cucamonga Wine Country!
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