ABOUT OUR WINERY
While the majority of wineries are set among vineyards in the warm inland valleys, Solterra is situated a couple of blocks from the beach in beautiful north county San Diego. The climate is ideal for wine storage as the humidity is higher and the temperatures are a lot cooler which is ideal for aging our wines in barrel. Our goal is to offer an educational and satisfying wine experience to residents who will be able to enjoy the process and our wines locally. We have a demonstration vineyard and will be producing all of our wines on premise.
There are 2 buildings on site, the tasting room that was built in 1957 which is 1600 sq feet and the new 3400 square foot building which is the winery. The concept was to respect the aesthetics of the original building but tie into it with a new and more modern building for winemaking and barrel storage. The new building was engineered to be a winery and has a cool air intake system that consists of 2 fans that draw in the cool air of the early morning hours during the summer months. These fans in the fall will also assist with removing the carbon dioxide that is a bi- product of fermentation. There are also plans to put in Solar panels on the roof of the winery by 2018.
We strive to make the best wine possible utilizing grapes from locally sourced vineyards along with grapes from all over California and Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico. We age all of our red wines in predominately French oak barrels for a minimum of 14-24 months depending on the varietal and style of wine that we are looking to produce. Most of our fermentations are done in small open top fermenters with a variety of hand selected yeasts that bring complexity to the wines. Currently in barrel and bottle we have 14 different red varietals, 3 whites, rose’, port, and late harvest wines.
Solterra Owner and Winemaker Chris Van Alyea grew up in Marin and Sonoma County and has been making wine for the last 16 years from grapes sourced from Sonoma county, Lake County, Paso Robles, San Diego County, and Baja Mexico. The wines have garnered Golds and Best of Class at top competitions in California. Chris, his wife Audrey and the Solterra staff look forward to welcoming you.
CHRIS VAN ALYEA
WINEMAKER / OWNER
Christopher Van Alyea attended the University of Oregon where he received a BA in Geography and Spanish. It was up there where he grew an appreciation for great beer but it was his first glass of Zinfandel from a Dry Creek Winery a few years later that truly altered his life path. He soon thereafter went to work in wine sales with a large distributor, and more importantly it was around this time he started to produce his own small lots of wine from the family vineyard located in Sonoma County.
Since his first vintage in 1999 he has worked at wineries in Sonoma and San Diego counties and has taken both viticulture and winemaking classes at UC Davis and Santa Rosa Junior College. In 2002, he released the first vintage of a Christopher Cameron Vineyards wine and in 2006 developed the Costa Azul brand. His wines were produced in Sonoma County from 2002-2005 and began all of his winemaking in San Diego with the 2006 vintage. These two labels have been sold in many of the top restaurants and wine shops in San Diego County.
In 2004, he received Certification I and II from the International Sommelier Guild which has assisted in the tasting and blending portion of winemaking. He has produced and sold bulk wine to wineries in Napa and Sonoma county, has done consulting for wineries in San Diego County, and has been a judge at local wine competitions. He loves every aspect of the business, especially fermentation, the role oak plays in the wine aging process, and working with single vineyard wines.