New: Sip of Julian

Become acquainted, via a self-guided tour, with several of the mountain town's winemakers.

APPLE TOWN, GRAPE TOWN, TOO: There are so many toothsome tastes and ridiculously flavorful recipes that possess, at the center of their identity, two fruits that work very well together in concert. We speak of the apple, any kind of apple, really, and we refer to the grape. Think of the last delicious chicken salad sandwich you downed, or the summer-fresh fruit salad at the block party in June. Both dishes likely contained juicy chunks of both globe-shaped goodies, with the apple's pearly white flesh providing a crunchy counterpoint to the grape's soft give. It isn't any surprise, then, that a town can do both fruits very well, and by "do" we mean present them in the town's best-known products and meals and festivals. Julian, the Gold Rush burg that's still one of the sparkly jewels of the Cuyamuca Mountains, is rather known for its apple goodies. "Rather known," of course, is an understatement. Fall is fully given over to apple adorations around the town, and pie shops stuff the core-centered fruit under seemingly countless crusts. But grapes give Julian's apples a friendly run for their money, in the form of area wineries. Both fruits fit the region well, and if you've been wanting to get to know the graper side of things, your chance is ahead: Sip of Julian, on Saturday, Aug. 8, is all about vinos made in the area.

WELL, AND HARD CIDER, TOO... so apples may not be all that far out of the equation. Menghini Winery, Witch Creek Winery, and Julian Hard Cider are just three stops on the self-guided tour. Tickets are twenty five dollars each, and whether you have a sip or not at the spots you land, it is a fine way to see their locations, their spreads, and what they're making. For "making" is an important concept in the mountain town, and whether an apple or a grape or both is in the final product is up to the talented maker. It's a pleasure to drive up the hill and appreciate both.

GRAPE FANS... take note: Another fruit-forward fest is coming down the Julian pike, on Sept. 5, in the form of the Julian Grape Stomp Festa.

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