Successful Second Act: Female Winemaker/Owner – San Pasqual Winery

I was curious to spend some time with  Linda McWilliams from the San Pasqual Winery. I had met her briefly while attending one of my wine classes at San Diego State. I was wondering how she made the transition from a speech pathologist in the school system to a burgeoning wine maker! Linda is one of the 10% of female lead winemakers in California!

Linda and her husband Mike had a dream of opening a champagne bar similar to ‘Pops for Champagne’ in Chicago. When the San Pasqual winery came up for sale, they decided to buy it. With an amazing leap of faith and hard work, San Pasqual winery now has 4 locations and award winning wine. This is an urban winery with their flagship location in an industrial area in La Mesa with tasting rooms in historic La Mesa and Seaport Village. A friend and I enjoyed a great night of jazz on a Saturday night at the historic La Mesa location. Check out their events calendar.

One of these tasting rooms, La Mesa Wine Works is a cooperative venture between San Pasqual Winery and Wyatt Oaks Winery. All of the wine offered here is produced by either winery, and includes six to eight offerings from each winery.  This tasting room is located in the industrial La Mesa area. This location also has events, so you may want to check out their event calendar too. 

Linda McWilliams became the winemaker and had to learn everything from scratch to create wine, and took some intense chemistry courses from UCDavis. Linda also mastered her craft with Jim Hart, previous winemaker at Milagro Farm Vineyards, now owner/winemaker at Volcan Mountain Winery in Julian, and the Hart family winery in Temecula. Adam Carruth, of Carruth Cellars also provided mentorship. This to me is a testament of when you have enough passion, interest, and courage you can make it happen! Linda has paid it forward by serving as President of the San Diego County Vintners Association, and is involved with the San Diego Viticulture Technician Apprenticeship Program. 

I love Linda’s quote of “We are not making wine by numbers!”. She makes her wine from a balance of science and creativity.

Mike and Linda inherited the Passionfruit wines from the previous owner. One of their Summer Vine Gold Medal winners and top sellers has a hint of Habanero in it. It’s a sweet wine with a nice peppery bite on the finish. This is their top seller. This is a great summer sipper, and I also think a great gift wine as it’s a unique flavour combination.

 When you go to visit San Pasqual, you can also ask for a ‘Classy but Sassy’ craft wine cocktail that is made with this wine and topped off with some sparkling wine. What a tasty creative fusion!

San Pasqual Winery offers a wide selection of wines for tasting and purchase. Their wines are created in small batches from grapes located within prominent California vineyards. The wine list offers traditional and unique varietals and blends. They are known for their award winning Malbec!

For the wine tasting, I really liked the opportunity of being able to choose which 5 wines I wanted to taste. I tasted mainly whites, with the Chenin Blanc being my favourite, I also enjoyed the Chardonnay, and my friend enjoyed the Malbec and GSM blend. Their extensive wine list will provide the opportunity for all wine tastes and preferences. 

Let me know what you enjoy when you visit or when you purchase something from them!