For relaxation, valley views, and some delightful wines, Hill Top Winery in Valley Center is a dreamy setting—literally, because it represents a family’s dream of turning a 30-acre ranch into a “grape escape.”
With 15 varieties of reds and whites, Hill Top has options for any palate to savor. Try their graciously presented red wine sampler flight (the glasses actually seem to take flight), noting especially their Ranch House red—smooth and sweet and best enjoyed on the back patio overlooking the vineyards, rolling hills, and valley below. Take a quick walk around the gorgeous grounds and enjoy the fruit trees, resident horses, and the charming red barn. Come for the wines but stay for the sunset to truly appreciate the hilltop setting.
BONUS WINERY: Pauma Valley actually boasts two wineries. The other, Triple B Ranches, is 2 miles away—walkable, though the roads can get busy. You’ll pass palm and lavender growers and a sprawling orchard along the way. Bring a picnic and enjoy their wine, seasonal fruit, and veggies on a patio in the comforting shade of a mammoth oak tree.
To get to Hill Top Winery, take I-15 to Gopher Canyon Rd. and exit toward Old Castle Rd., heading east for 5.5 miles. Continue to the right onto Lilac Rd. for 3.3 miles and turn left onto Valley Center Rd. Follow this for 3.6 miles, turning right at the winery sign. Hilltop is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Triple B is open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patios are dog-friendly!