A San Bernadino Wine Picnic

Some family friends invited me and my parents out for a wine picnic last weekend. Napa and Sonoma are known as wine kings today, but in the past, the Southland (and San Bernadino in particular) boasted acres of vineyards and a number of well known vintners.

As you can see by the bottle sagging with the weight of its medals, some products like Rancho de Philo’s Triple Cream Sherry can still hold their own.

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Our first stop was at Rancho de Philo in Alta Loma. Each year, the winery opens up for just one week for sales to the public. We munched on snacks and tasted the different vintages, while other from our party stood in line to pick up their year’s supply.  The wine’s made from mission grapes brought over way-back-when by the Spanish missionaries. The founder, Philo Blaine learned his sherry-making techniques back in Spain and then passed them on to his daughter Janine who runs the place now with her husband, Alan.

Janine was standing outside and handed me this sample as she talked about her childhood, growing up and learning the grapes.

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Later, we headed over to Galleano winery in Mira Loma, not too far away. We drove down the freeway, through some suburbs and a couple of car dealerships and ended up at a driveway turn-in that looked a little like the entrance to a corporate park.

Instead of manicured lawns and tortured palms, we were greeted by a beautiful oasis of rural calm. We pulled out our picnic gear, and went to coo over the donkeys and guinea pigs before settling down to our meal.

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I brought buttermilk lavash crackers and rosemary-meyer lemon bean dip.

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And arugula and cherry tomato pasta salad with fresh herb sauce (everything from the garden!)

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It was a seriously impressive spread — just the kind of thing to fill your stomach before wine tasting!

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Mini pickles, quiche, black beans, corn & red pepper salad, wild rice salad, crudites, and fresh mozzarella & tomatoes on lettuce.

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Another wonderful place to add to the Good Food Map:

Other articles about Rancho de Philo, Galleano, and San Bernadino Wine Country

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