Who says you can’t drink wine while wearing flip-flops? A brand new winery has opened in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood – just steps away from the sand.
Gianni Buonomo Vintners, located at 4836 Newport Ave. near the OB Pier, will celebrate its grand opening Friday night as San Diego’s first-ever beach winery and tasting room.
Winemaker and managing partner, Keith Rolle, a longtime resident of Ocean Beach says his winery has that laid-back OB vibe, meaning patrons can certainly sip on some fine wine while wearing flip-flops and board shorts.
According to Rolle, Gianni Buonomo Vintners doesn’t grow grapes at the beach. The majority of the grapes used to create the wines are brought to OB from top vineyards in Washington State. Other grapes used to balance out the wines are sourced from two vineyards in El Dorado County, Calif.
For now, the winery produces around 1,500 cases of wine each year. Though small business real estate in high-density Ocean Beach is rather limited, Rolle said his Newport Avenue tasting room has “just enough room” for his small wine operation.
The tasting room is open Wednesday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. It’s closed on Monday and Tuesday. Gianni Buoncomo Vintners wines are available for purchase online, too, and range from $29 to $49 per bottle.
Friday’s opening reception will include select wines from the Gianni Buonomo lineup paired with small bites from some local OB restaurants. The event is sold out – which is certainly worth a toast.
Rolle, who lived in Minneapolis before moving to San Diego and then Ensenada in Baja California, learned to make wine through a program in Walla Walla, Washington. After four years honing his winemaking skills in the Pacific Northwest, he moved back to San Diego – bringing those wine grapes from Washington with him.
The winery opened last fall, but Friday's party is the grand opening of the beachside business.
The beach winery plans to host more events soon, including a barrel tasting for its “Fedora Club” members in April and the Barbera Fest, also in April, when the winery will introduce a couple of new wines.