The Ideal Environment


The vineyards at Shadow Mountain are planted around 3,500 feet above sea level. The vines grow in rocky soil that has been infused with a balance of minerals and pH levels that need constant monitoring. The location and direction of each row has been carefully selected for optimal growth and protection from the elements. The environment is harsh and unforgiving; but in the right hands, it becomes ideal for growing the grapes that make award-winning wine.



The Ideal Environment


The vineyards at Shadow Mountain are planted around 3,500 feet above sea level. The vines grow in rocky soil that has been infused with a balance of minerals and pH levels that need constant monitoring. The location and direction of each row has been carefully selected for optimal growth and protection from the elements. The environment is harsh and unforgiving; but in the right hands, it becomes ideal for growing the grapes that make award-winning wine.


Our Story begins in 1945


Our oldest vineyard was planted in 1945 by Italian immigrants, Agusto Mase and his wife Helen. It was the climate, much like the area of Italy that they originally came from, that convinced them to settle down on sunshine summit. The warm, dry climate and the sunny hillsides were the perfect place to plant their roots. And those roots still run deep.

The second generation of Mase's continued in this family tradition. They expanded significantly in 1960's and 1970's by planting more vineyards and laying the groundwork to open a commercial winery in the future. Though it wouldn't be until the current owners—Alex and Pam McGeary—purchased the estate in 1990 that this vision would be realized.

Many years have passed since the original owners, yet even after all this time, Gus and Helen's fingerprints can still be seen everywhere at Shadow Mountain Vineyards. Their original vineyard still produces the wine that bears Gus's name. The spirit they brought from the old world carries on in the low yield, high quality production of the vineyards. Even the garlic leaves that they planted in the garden still sprout year after year.

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The Lay of the Land


Today, we have 9 vineyards that produce 12 different varieties of wine. Each vineyard needs to be carefully planned and managed, as each is planted at a slightly different altitude.



High Altitude Viticulture


Growing grapes at 3,500 feet keeps the fruit fresh and limits over-ripening. This results in wine with delicate aromas and more nuanced expressions.

However, it also comes with its unique challenges. Heat spikes can dramatically increase the sugar content in the fruit and force us to harvest early. Frost is also a very real danger this high up.

Constantly monitoring the vineyards is the price we pay for exceptional wine.

Quality beats quantity


Typically, the lifespan of a vineyard is 25-30 years. A vine is most productive between 8-15 years old. After this, and up to 30 years, the quantity of fruit produced drops significantly, while the quality of the fruit rises.

We have 73 year-old vineyards planted at high altitude, so there's no competition—the highest quality wine grapes in San Diego are grown right here.



A master's touch


Like the Italian immigrants that planted the first vineyard, Alex and his wife Pam were veterans of the wine industry before they made Shadow Mountain Vineyards their home. It's that lifetime of experience that they bring to the entire winemaking process—from planting the vineyard, to pouring the wine—every day.

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Our Story begins in 1945


Our oldest vineyard was planted in 1945 by Italian immigrants, Agusto Mase and his wife Helen. It was the climate, much like the area of Italy that they originally came from, that convinced them to settle down on sunshine summit. The warm, dry climate and the sunny hillsides were the perfect place to plant their roots. And those roots still run deep.

The second generation of Mase's continued in this family tradition. They expanded significantly in 1960's and 1970's by planting more vineyards and laying the groundwork to open a commercial winery in the future. Though it wouldn't be until the current owners—Alex and Pam McGeary—purchased the estate in 1990 that this vision would be realized.

Many years have passed since the original owners, yet even after all this time, Gus and Helen's fingerprints can still be seen everywhere at Shadow Mountain Vineyards. Their original vineyard still produces the wine that bears Gus's name. The spirit they brought from the old world carries on in the low yield, high quality production of the vineyards. Even the garlic leaves that they planted in the garden still sprout year after year.

Read More

The Lay of the Land


Today, we have 9 vineyards that produce 12 different varieties of wine. Each vineyard needs to be carefully planned and managed, as each is planted at a slightly different altitude.


High Altitude Viticulture


Growing grapes at 3,500 feet keeps the fruit fresh and limits over-ripening. This results in wine with delicate aromas and more nuanced expressions.

However, it also comes with its unique challenges. Heat spikes can dramatically increase the sugar content in the fruit and force us to harvest early. Frost is also a very real danger this high up.

Constantly monitoring the vineyards is the price we pay for exceptional wine.


Quality beats quantity


Typically, the lifespan of a vineyard is 25-30 years. A vine is most productive between 8-15 years old. After this, and up to 30 years, the quantity of fruit produced drops significantly, while the quality of the fruit rises.

We have 73 year-old vineyards planted at high altitude, so there's no competition—the highest quality wine grapes in San Diego are grown right here.


A master's touch


Like the Italian immigrants that planted the first vineyard, Alex and his wife Pam were veterans of the wine industry before they made Shadow Mountain Vineyards their home. It's that lifetime of experience that they bring to the entire winemaking process—from planting the vineyard, to pouring the wine—every day.

Visit Us