East County wineries try to bring in business

Granite Lion Cellars entices with outdoor setting
Posted at 8:15 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 15:49:23-04

JAMUL, Calif. (KGTV) - Wineries in the East County call themselves "hidden gems," offering San Diegans a chance to get away without having to travel as far as Temecula and other more well known wine producing areas.

Granite Lion Cellars in Jamul grows 17 varietals. As they shift operations outside their tasting room, they are taking advantage of being in a wilderness area with a waterfall, trails to explore and picnic tables in the shade.

They are family and dog friendly, and have contracted with a number of food trucks to offer food on site, as well as outdoor tastings in a more intimate setting.

Miriam Valdez, Granite Lion Cellars' tasting room manager, said, "We are used to telling people about our wines, now we actually have to limit contact."

While also struggling to sell more wine, Valdez added, "We are right now maybe 60-70 days out from harvest, and our warehouse is full, so the wine has to go somewhere."

Sommelier David Whited said they're offering specials on cases of wine and wine club memberships, in an effort to move inventory.

They're also breaking ground on a brand new barrel cave and tasting room in the hope that one day they'll be able to move back indoors.

Granite Lion has retained and retrained their staff in order to stay in compliance with all of the sanitation and safety rules.

They've also donated wine to the community -- to be turned into hand sanitizer.

At one point, when a batch of wine didn't turn out as expected, Whited says five pallets were donated to the Mike Curfey Distillery to be turned into sanitizer for the San Diego Food Bank and first responders.

You can still find some of it at Granite Lion.