Crushing It: Carruth Cellars 13

Urban wineries have been popping up rapidly in recent times and San Diego is certainly seeing a piece of the action, but we have quite a few options right here in our neighborhoods, and one that has made its mark over the past few years is Carruth Cellars.

Nestled among other local businesses in Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District, Carruth Cellars is owned by local Adam Carruth. He opened the flagship location in 2006, and all their wines are served here. There is also a satellite urban winery and tasting room in Carlsbad Village with a limited selection of pours. And the latest venture is Carruth Cellars Wine Garden in Little Italy, serving wine and cheese pairings. All locations are open daily and are great venues for events and holiday gathering or larger group celebrations.

As an urban winery, Carruth Cellars source grapes from the countryside and then make the wines in the city. While reds comprise the bulk of the offerings here, there are whites, rosés and dessert wines as well, many of which have won accolades at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition over the past few years.

After all this time in the winemaking business, what’s Carruth’s everyday motivation? “Just the passion for winemaking!” he says. “I love wine, making wine, and learning to make wine…what soils are affecting what grapes, what weather climates will do to a vintage…it’s an ongoing quest to understand wine – it’s infinite.” The past two years has been non-stop expansion for Carruth with the addition of the new locations. For the next few years, the focus is on expanding the wine production to accommodate all of the new locations.

Winemaker Ryan Scott shares, “Not many people know that we make our wine in three different facilities. Most of our wines are made in our flagship location in Solana Beach, but we also make our Sauvignon Blanc in our Carlsbad location as well as some Rosé in our original cellar in Solana Beach that is no longer open to the public but used for private events.”

Scott has been making wine professionally since 2011, having studied Wine Technology at the local college and receiving numerous awards, including Best Teroldego and Best Blended Italian Red. At the time of this edition heading to press, Scott was knee deep into crush season – the one time of year they make all their wines, working 12-15 hours a day on average. This includes unloading 10-20 tons of grapes off temperature controlled trucks, de-stemming the grapes and overseeing the fermentation as well as organizing teams of people to “punch down” the grapes and keep the fermentations happy, pressing the juice out of the grape.

“This is the coolest part of the process because you can finally see the wine, not just the grapes,” Scott shares. Another hectic time is the month or two leading up to bottling, which they do twice a year. As for the best part of working at Carruth Cellars, “It’s the philosophy behind the winemaking! It’s all about love and gratitude – respect for the grapes, the growers, and for the people who drink our wine.”