Travels With Robin: Rock Canyon Vineyards

Rock Canyon Vineyards

It’s not just winetasting. It’s an adventure.



Rock Canyon Tasting Room is in the rocks.

Driving east through the back roads of San Diego County, through Alpine, hang a right, keep going south and east, then on to a dirt road, way to the end of the road, that’s where you’ll find Tim Petersen and Rock Canyon Vineyards.

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Alpine countryside

There’s a reason it has the name it has. There are rocks everywhere. Miles and miles of rocks. Even the winery is built into a large rock.You can tell that creative people live here.  Mona Petersen is an artist. She specializes in animals and designed the winery labels.

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There is nature and beauty and animals and art everywhere you turn.


Many vignettes. Beautiful aesthetics. Art is everywhere


Art in the tasting room/cellar

“Many wineries have horses or dogs on their labels. I wanted to set ourselves apart, so I said, ‘How about putting Roxy, the rescue burro on our labels?’” Mona designed a few labels but couldn’t get them from looking sad. “So, she put a clump of grapes in her mouth” and Voila!


Roxy comes to visit- and man does she bray!


I’m just a city girl, but they DO actually bray. What a crazy sound.

Tim began making wine as a garagiste- out of his garage. In 2000 he planted his first grapes, Zinfandel. Then came the Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tempranillo. Now in 2014 Rock Canyon Vineyards is a fully bonded, operating winery. Today they have 2500 plants, just under two acres.



Tim produces between 700-1000 cases per year.Taking advantage of the profuse Southern California sunlight, the ranch is fully solar with a rooftop solar system.  The cellar room stays at an average temperature of 60 degrees.


Today’s line up

Rock Canyon Vineyards wines:

Typically a Merlot is a bit lighter than other reds, but in our little paradise of southern Cal, they are bold and intense and extremely flavorful. Many flavors cherry, and leather come to mind. It is definitely how I like a Merlot.The estate Zinfandel is also stellar. Rich and fruity. It is not like Paso Robles Zinfandels. Not peppery but very fruit forward. The Roxy’s Red Suave Syrah is just that – suave.

Tim has made some interesting blends, at first I thought he was saying it wrong. Typically you hear GSM Grenache, Syrah Mouvedre, but Tim said GMS. Grenache, Mouvedre, Syrah. He calls it his Triple Donkey GMS blend. “You list the grapes in order of volume,” he explains.


Locally in San Diego you can find his wines at:

  • Whole Foods- Hillcrest and Encinitas
  • Windmill Farms – College Area
  • Costco- Santee
  • Stumps Market- Pt Loma
  • Albertsons- Alpine, Ramona and Rancho San DiegoT



Tim Petersen

Tim is a likeable man, very passionate about his wines. Wears a cowboy hat like no other.

Make sure you make an appointment to visit him. You can find him at


via Travels With Robin: Rock Canyon Vineyards.

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