Milagro Farm Vineyards & Winery in Ramona
Ramona is graced with golden rolling hills, oak trees, horse country and a wine heritage that dates back to the Mission San Diego de Alcala era of the 1750’s. Father Juniperro Serra planted vineyards at each of his eight missions and winemaking was born in Southern California. Today, San Diego is experiencing a resurgence of grape growing, vineyards and wine making. Travel east about 10 miles on Highway 78, past the camels at the Oasis Camel Dairy, to the Old Julian Highway. Tucked away in an idyllic hillside, you will find the charming Milagro Farm Vineyards and Winery.
Enter through the gates and you are greeted with a sign made from twigs saying “Milagro Winery.” Travel along the dirt path guided by wine barrels used as markers, past ponds laden with cattails and you will come to the yellow Tuscan lab building where great wine is produced. Beside the lab is an underground cave built by Mexican artisans complete with arches and sconces to light the way to where wine barrels are aging nicely in a cool climate.
Milagro Farm's Winery, Spanish for “miracle” was purchased by Kit and Karen Sickels in 2001. This fall represents the culmination of years of hard work when Milagro Farm's Winery opens a tasting room for the public. The final phase of building the tasting room is happening now and is currently being used for the harvest.
The Sickels hired Jim Hart, from Hart Family Winery in Temecula as their winemaker. Jim has overseen the planting of 10,000 grape vines on the rolling hills with varietals such as Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and Aleatico. Hart grew up around wine and vineyards and it was only natural that he would follow in his father’s footsteps. The Hart family started growing grapes in Temecula in the late 1970’s and opened their winery in the early 1980’s which has since become a thriving business with many award winning wines. Jim has brought these years of experience to Milagro Farm's Winery to ensure their success.
Along the way there have been setbacks. Most notably San Diego’s countywide fire in 2003 when Ramona was hit hard and hundreds of acres burned. The fire ripped through Milagro’s two-year old vineyards which fortunately had just been harvested. They replanted in 2004 and 2006 marked the first year of wine production. Then in 2009, they lost all of their Sauvignon Blanc due to mold. 2010 was a testament to hard work and stick-to-it-ness.
Through it all the Milagro team has persevered and their hard work has begun to pay off. Their wines are now winning awards throughout California. Their 2010 Sauvignon Blanc won three awards including silver at the L.A. International Wine Competition, bronze at the San Francisco International Wine Competition (the largest and most influential wine competition in the United States) and Silver at the Long Beach Gran Cru Wine Competition. Jim’s 2007 Cabernet won a silver medal at the Riverside International Wine Competition.
His 2008 Cabernet was recently bottled and is rich & fruity with hints of blackberry and cassis. This wine has some high, possibly gold medal hopes riding on it.
Currently Milagro Farm's Winery is featuring their 2010 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Estate Chardonnay, 2008 South Coast Merlot and 2007 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. They also offer a 2009 Aleatico dessert wine.
This fall Milagro Winery will be opening a tasting room for the public. In the meantime you can check their website for updates www.milagrovineyards.com. Make a point to visit this winery and taste their remarkable wines. Their wines represent the exciting potential of this historic and emerging wine region.