It’s Earth Day! Help Save the Planet with San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: April 16th, 2014

We're not gonna lie – Earth Day is one of our favorite days of the year around here. Since our inception, we've been all about saving the planet.  Just check out some of the information on our carbon-footprint-reducing train tours and our emphasis on buying local!

By the way, if you're a beer and wine nut, one of the best things you can do is buy locally.  It's not just that you'll get better beer and wine, even though you will, or feel more connected to the local environment while you sip, even though you are

No, the best reasons to drink locally is twofold: first, you're supporting our vibrant Californian wine and beer culture and keeping local jobs coming, and second – and this is a biggie –  by directly supporting all the local brews, you're reducing the enormous, gigantic fuel consumption that comes when global mass producers of beer and wine ship it to your neighborhood.  

Plus, there are all the benefits that come from getting out and getting to know your beers and wines and the communities and neighborhoods around you that passionately love and support them.

So remember: Think globally, drink, locally!

To your health and the health of the planet,

Brooke B., Recyclist

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Posted in Beer, Breweries, Food and Vine, Health, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Tours, Travel, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Winemaking, Wineries |


San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Loves Our Mother, and Yours Too!

Post Date: April 3rd, 2014

There's no such thing as a perfect child. Admit it – you were a brat growing up just like all the rest of us. Do you see those grey hairs on your mom? Those are your fault, every single last one of them. That time you came home three hours late without calling? The time you got under the sink and tried to eat Drano? How about the time you brought home that really inappropriate “friend” in high school? Oh, we know. We've all been there.

At this point, the only appropriate question is, “How can I make this up to my mom?” The answer is simple: with wine. That's why we at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours have put together a wonderful Mother's Day gift to help you apologize for all those months as a kid you spent refusing to eat anything but Oreos and mayonnaise sandwiches. We offer special packages for this time of year that include a wine (or beer) and food tour, plus a deep discount on a spa day for her!  We're offering it now through the end of May.

Trust us on this one: your mom will love it. And if you're a mom, you know what we're talking about.

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms out there. We salute you!

 

Brooke B., Mamacita

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Happy Vernal Equinox from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: March 21st, 2014

Happy Spring! 

The vernal equinox is the first day of spring. That's when the day and night are roughly equal in length. Now nighttime is just going to keep getting shorter, until we're at summer's glorious peak! 

Not that springtime in San Diego is anything to sneeze at, unless you're allergic to pollen, of course. In fact, it's one of the most gloriously beautiful times of the year here, with rare flowers popping out of the desert and cherry blossoms adorning Balboa Park. 

It's also a great time of year to sit outside and sip some light springtime wines. We recommend light-bodied wines. Here are a few to try: 

Prosecco is a light and sparkly wine, and at its best it's fruity without being oversweet.  It's also quite wallet-friendly, running about $10 a bottle. Perfect for sipping with or without peach juice as you sit on the porch in the springtime sun. Try something from Nino Franco to start.  

California has a serious rosé issue — it's serious about rosés.  And so are we! Dry, balanced rosés make life worth living, and Napa Valley produces some of the best you'll find anywhere. Trefethen Family Vineyards produces a wonderful fruity rosé that's made with Pinot Noir grapes and has hints of cherries and strawberries. Perfect. 

Red wine that carries just a touch of sweetness will be welcome on any sunny day, too. Modesto's Tisdale Vineyard carries a wine called Sweet Red of California that's a springtime favorite. It's great for summer, too! Pair it with your favorite barbecued food. 

Enjoy the sparkling days and clear nights of springtime in San Diego. Here's to the equinox! 

Cheers, 

Brooke B., Spring Blossom

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Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler with San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: February 28th, 2014

It's almost that wild and wonderful day, Fat Tuesday, where you're expected – no, commanded – to wear feathery hats, colorful clothes, and beads. It's also the last hurrah before the start of Lent, which is a time of fasting and repentance for those who observe the Catholic faith. 

The origins of Mardi Gras as it's known today are traced back to medieval Europe, where farmers would slaughter and eat a fatted calf and drink enormous quantities of red wine.  In fact, Carnival or Carnaval, as the week leading up to Mardi Gras is called in some regions, comes from "carna vale": farewell to the flesh.  

However, the story of these traditions go back even further than that, to ancient Roman or possibly pre-Roman pastoral times, to Lupercalia, the festival of Lupercus, the god of shepherds, and Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus.  According to Plutarch, during this festival young people would guzzle red wine and run up and down the streets naked and smacking people they met with "shaggy thongs."  It was supposed to ensure fertility in the new year. They also wore fine clothes and feathered masks as they do today, presumably when they weren't running around in their altogethers. 

If any of this sounds familiar, it's because this festival also serves as a basis for what is now known as Valentine's Day.  (Our Valentine's Day was a little more subdued than that this year, but at least we had red wine!) 

If you're looking for something to drink to get into the true spirit of Fat Tuesday and don't feel like slaughtering a fatted calf, here are a few suggestions: 

If you're doing it up New Orleans style and eating spicy gumbo, consider a low-tannin pinot noir like Point Concepcion's Salsipuedes Pinot Noir.  Its fruitiness plays well off the spicy richness of a gumbo.  If you've decided on an oyster po-boy or a shrimp etouffe, pair it with a light, sweet white like ZD Chardonnay.  And if you're having King Cake (and why wouldn't you?) any sweet sparkling wine is a must!

There are plenty of beers to pair with your Mardi Gras celebration, but our favorite one comes from San Diego's Modern Times Brewery.  It's called Neverwhere.  Why do we love it for this celebration? Because its pineappley, mangoey flavor is perfect for the subtropical party atmospheres of Carnaval and Fat Tuesday.  It's a perfect pairing with your purple and green beads.

We're off to start baking our King Cake. After all, Fat Tuesday only comes round once a year.

Laissez les bon temps continuer a rouler toujours!

Brooke B., Bead-Tosser

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Posted in Beer, Breweries, Food and Vine, holiday, Local Business, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Travel, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Wineries |


San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Wants You to be Our Valentine!

Post Date: February 1st, 2014

It's almost Valentine's Day! It's the most wonderful day in the world if you're happily in love, but not so much if you aren't. But it could be! If you're looking for something to do this February 14th, or any day in February, we have an idea for you.

Here's our idea: Love yourselves! Life is wonderful, especially with fine wine or beer paired with wonderful food and like-minded people. One of the best ways we know of to pamper yourself and make yourself happy is by indulging in the tastiest of food and drink. And we have the perfect time to do it – on one of our Valentine's tours.

Whether you're coupled up or a singleton, we don't mind. We love bringing people along for our Romantic Tours to show you the best of what San Diego has to offer.

Everybody loves a lover, so love yourself! We love you.

<3,

Brooke B., Valentine Clementine 

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It’s Here! Happy 2014 from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: January 1st, 2014

 

 ]"The Triumphal Procession," by Maerten van Heemskerck  

As we've said before, we don't really believe in New Year's resolutions. However, we do believe in constantly working toward lifelong goals and making ourselves and everyone around us happier.

This is nothing new.  The New Year's celebration is as old as humanity itself, although many cultures wait until spring to throw their parties. The Romans were the ones who fused Christmas with the New Year, which was in and of itself an offshoot of Saturnalia.

 

We're particular fans of that holiday, because Saturn, as the god of agricultural bounty, and his consort Ops, the goddess of resources and wealth, were both celebrated with toasts and consumption of a lot of beer and of wine (which in those times was occasionally mixed with seawater; we don't recommend it!) Both were also associated with the notorious Bacchus, also known as Dionysus, the god of the grape.

 

Ever since those times, people have been making resolutions – probably never to drink again – and breaking them just as quickly. That's why we're simply continuing our work to make the world around us just a tiny bit better. We think, like the ancient Romans, that beer and wine and great food is a wonderful way to start. So, we resolve to bring more of that to you in 2014. Now, that's an easy one to keep!

 

Evviva, skaal, and to your health in the next year!

 

Brooke B., Epicure

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Happy New Year from San Diego Beer and Wine Tours!

Post Date: December 30th, 2013

We can't believe it, but 2013 is nearly over and another year is about to begin!

This was a great year. They all are, but 2013 was particularly fun. We met great people, we tasted wonderful food and local wines, and the beer – well, let's just say that the craft beer in San Diego gets better and more plentiful by the year.  New Year's traditions around the world involve spiked punch and champagne, but we really think that the only real way to celebrate the arrival of 2014 is with a California wine or a San Diego brew. After all, what you do on New Year's will set the tone for the next twelve months!

Do you have guests in from out of town? Are you a group looking for a wine or beer pairing luncheon or dinner party. We have the perfect event for your celebration. Call us and we’ll give you a Happy New Year gift of $5 off this wonderful party. Go here for more details.

It’s a busy holiday week for us, here’s some of our popular tours with spots open this week:

TOP SELLER! Winery Train Tour (Mon. – Fri.  Start times: 1:40pm and 12pm) Easy-to-get-to start location via walk/trolley/train-usually no need to drive. Available Mon. 12/30; Thurs 1/2 and Friday 1/3

“FUN TIME ON THE WINE TOUR! We had a great time on the winery train tour, the time went by quickly, the lunch was AMAZING and it was great that you could drink on the train so we bought a bottle and enjoyed it with the other guests on the tour.” One of over 180 Trip Advisor 5-Star Reviews.

Drink on the train! Optional brewery stop for our beer lovers at no additional cost!

These GREEN tours are about 5 hrs in duration. You'll enjoy ample tastes of fabulous, local wines – about 18 tastes! We start the tour with wine and food pairings (light lunch) at our partner restaurant (delicious fine dining Italian). We enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery as we travel by rail (wine tasting on the train is highly recommended!). We have delightful guided historic walks (about 2 miles total, about 15 minute walks at a time) into the villages for tastings at the boutique wineries (fully operational urban wineries, this is not our vineyard tour) for wine and cheese and wine and chocolate pairings. Optional stop at our brewery for our beer lovers! You can join us on this Coaster train tour easily from most locations by using public transportation (bus, trolley, train, coaster etc.). These popular tours are only $88 per person which includes all your food, wine/beer and fun guided tours. (Does not include Regional Plus Day Pass train ticket which is an additional $12 per person.) Click here to book now!

TOP SELLER! San Diego Wine Country Chauffeured Tour (Wed.- Sun. Start time: approx. 11am) Available Friday 1/3 and Sunday 1/5
"SUPER SPECIAL AND RELAXED DAY FILLED WITH TERRIFIC WINE AND FOOD! What a perfect way to celebrate! The wine was spectacular. The wineries were beautiful and very welcoming. What took this tour over the top is the food! Cheeses, chocolates, breadsticks and brick oven pizza with breathtaking views. Completely worth every moment and dollar. Don’t miss! Cheers!” One of over 180 Trip Advisor 5-Star Reviews.

On these popular tours we pick you up from your residence/hotel (from most San Diego locations) and take you to the vineyards of San Diego Wine Country. These fabulous tours are about 6 hrs. and include ample tastings at three wineries (about 18 tastes!). Your guide will entertain you with local history and a wine appreciation presentation. At our first winery we'll savor delicious fruits and cheeses with superb fine wine tastings. During this adventure you’ll get to stroll the vineyards and see how our local wines are made. We'll conclude this amazing day with decadent, local wines paired with a gourmet wood-fired brick-oven pizza dinner overlooking spectacular wineries grounds. Beer options available for purchase. Wine Country tour is all inclusive with door-to-door transportation, cheese platter, dinner, tasting fees, guided tour, bottled water, wine tote gift bag at only $149 per person.  Click here to book now!  

Wine & Food Walking Tour (Daily. Start time: 2pm) Available Tues 12/31

"YOU EARN YOUR MONEY BACK IN THE FIRST STOP! We had a great time. Excellent food; excellent wine and excellent company. Will do this trip again soon!” One of over 180 Trip Advisor 5-Star Reviews.

This fabulous 3 to 3.5 hr guided walking tour has tantalizingly tasty tour stops in the beautiful village of La Jolla. You'll be delighted as you taste fine wines and savor delicious, gourmet food. Your expert local guide will educate you in the fine art of wine tasting and food pairing. You'll even be treated with scrumptious wine paired with chocolate! Enjoy a leisurely walk of about 1.5 miles near the ocean, while being entertained with the history and culture of quaint La Jolla by-the-sea. Join us as we partake in the very best of La Jolla’s restaurants and wine bars. These tours are priced all inclusive at only $72 per person which includes all your food and wine, and guided walking tours. Click here to book now!

Salud, cheers, prosit, and here's to a wonderful 2014!

Brooke B., Auld Acquaintance

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Posted in Food and Vine, holiday, San Diego Wine Country, San Diego Winery Tour, Theme Tours, Tours, Travel, Uncategorized, Walking Tours, Wine, Wine Train, Wineries |


San Diego Beer & Wine Tours Loves Fresco Trattoria!

Post Date: December 9th, 2013

We don't just take our wines and beers seriously around here. We also take our food seriously. After all, a delicious meal is at least half the equation when it comes to some serious pairings! We don't make restaurant recommendations lightly for that very reason – we eat so much food that it takes quite a lot to impress us.

That's why it's incumbent on us to let you know about one of our very favorite restaurants in San Diego, Fresco Trattoria & Bar. This little gem (actually, there are two: one in Carlsbad and one in Bonsall) is everything you would want in Italian food.

Its owner, Leone D'Arcangelo, was born and bred in Sperlonga, Italy, and knows his cuisine like the back of his hand. He also insists on nothing but the freshest of ingredients to make his meals, from the Mozzarella Caprese starter all the way to the Ravioli al Formaggio di Capra, ravioli stuffed with parmesan and goat cheese and topped with tomato cream sauce and spinach. 

The wines are, thankfully, not fresh; instead, they are aged to perfection and selected to coax out and accompany the best aromas and delicate tastes of every dish. From chiantis to cabernets, Leone has you covered!

We hope you enjoy Fresco Trattoria as much as we do. It's one of San Diego's best. We would know – finding the best for you is our bread and butter!

Brooke B., Chiantieuse

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Gets in the Holiday Spirit!

Post Date: November 25th, 2013

It's officially time for the holidays!  Unfortunately, that means that the day after sitting around with our favorite people and counting our blessings, we're trampling each other in the name of Black Friday sales.

We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours have the antidote to crass consumerism. We firmly believe that the gift of knowledge is the best gift of all. That's why we're offering $10 off our Chauffeured Winery Tour and $5 off our Wine (and Beer) Train Tour*, so you can bring your loved ones out to learn all about wine, beer, and food pairings. 

It's a welcome change from kneeing each other in the face over limited-edition plastic dolls. And it's the gift that keeps on giving! We'd rather spend low-key, fun days eating and drinking and making great memories with the people we love, wouldn't you? And isn't that what the holidays are really all about?

Plus, when you're with us, you get to avoid the Black Friday crowds. We're still up in the air about Cyber Monday…

Catch you on the flip side!

Brooke B., Sales Turkey

 
*not to be combined with any other offer or past purchase, good through Dec. 31, 2013.

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San Diego Beer and Wine Tours Thanks You for Being You! (Again!)

Post Date: November 22nd, 2013

Thanksgiving is either a day of relaxing and epic feasting, or a nightmare of cooking and making hasty last-minute decisions for a group of ravenous friends and family members. It all depends what side of the cutting board you're on.

While we can't help you with the cooking, we can suggest a few wines and beers to pair with your meal to make everything go a little easier for you. We consulted with Stephen Ansley, our resident wine specialist, and did some "independent research" during San Diego Beer Week to find the best brews to sip with your deep-fried turducken!

The traditional Thanksgiving meal is especially wonderful, because turkey can be paired with just about everything. If you want a pinot noir, try Cycles Gladiator or an Au Bon Climat from Santa Barbara. The tartness of the pinot cuts through the richness of gravy and brings out the flavor of turkey.  The fruitiness of merlots also works well, especially with dark meats or hearty stuffings. Try one of Flora Springs' or a merlot from McManis Family Vineyards.

White wine lovers, take heart! There's plenty of room for you at the table. The butteriness and oaky notes of a good chardonnay is an ideal complement to the sweet and savory combinations you get with turkey, stuffing, and cranberries. Try something from Columbia Crest Grant Estates or White Oak.

If you're in the mood for a brew but still want something to pair with the richness of the meal, try a hoppy (but not too hoppy!) brew or one that's complex enough to balance the stuffing and gravy. Our pick is either an Alpine Captain Stout for chocolaty malty goodness, or a Monkey Paw Patas Pale Ale, which has hops that shine through just enough to offset the richness of the food.  We have also encountered some excellent saisons that we think would enrich your eating and drinking experience. Green Flash Brewery's Saison Diego has a clever name and a nice complex palate that won't overpower your meal.  And last, but certainly not least, porters and their chocolate and coffee notes are a wonderfully rich way to end a meal. Our hands-down and bottoms-up favorite is, and has been, Alesmith Robust Porter. Try it with a tasty tender piece of turkey, dripping with gravy and juices, and you'll know we're right! 

We hope these will make your Thanksgiving Day just a little tastier. We want the best for you, because, as always… we couldn't do this without you!

Thankfully,

Brooke B., Thanks Giver

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