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Domaine Artefact Vineyard & Winery

15406 Highland Valley Rd, Escondido, CA 92025

33.067583027, -117.001542174

Dog-Friendly: Yes    Kid-Friendly: Yes

Hours: Friday- 2-7pm// Sat. & Sun- 12-7pm

About Domaine Artefact

I recently headed out to Escondido’s back-country (yes, that is a thing) in Highland Valley to explore Domaine Artefact and sample their tasty wines. San Diego County has its fair share of beautiful wineries, each carrying its own charm. We are so lucky to have a climate the can help produce such tasty wines!

Domaine Artefact really exceeded my expectations when we visited.  Located on 30 acres, their wine selection is inspired by the wines grown in the Rhône Valley, France. The husband and wife duo, Mark Robinson and Lynn LaChapelle, alongside their team are not only busting out 95% of the wines they sell on their property, they have also created a wildlife refuge for so many animals.

We came out in springtime when the winery was just BURSTING with life and beauty.  The gazanias were in full bloom giving a spread of reds and oranges across the property, and the abundance of rain we received this year helped to restore an old-forgotten pond overlooking the tasting room.

Featured on left, co-owner Lynn

What was most special to me was that this delicate restoration of the ecosystem brought so many new creatures back into the area.  The one that stood out to me the most were the swallows!  I watched them hastily gathering mud from the outskirts of the pond to make their mud nests along the rooftop of the tasting room.

I was really moved to learn that instead of having the mud nests removed (as advised to do), they are allowing them to stay. The names of their wines, including the labels, are inspired by the region’s birds after-all, and being such huge animal lovers it only makes sense to welcome the swallows.

Domaine Artefact uses sustainable farming practices with the belief that ‘good wine begins at the vine’. They are dedicated to leaving a zero carbon footprint.  By being good stewards of the land they are able to produce truly phenomenal wines and a healthy ecosystem.

About their wine

Domaine Artefact specializes in growing Rhône grape varietals that are famous in the South of France. Their wine varieties include Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and more!

I asked one of their sommeliers, Stevie Himmelright, what she felt the three standout wines are and she had this to say:

The 2020 “Fly a Kite”

Is a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) blend with a small percent of Petite Sirah, which boasts complex aromas of stewed strawberries and plums. Espresso, cocoa, and leather combine on the palate highlighting lovely notes of vanilla, baking spice, ripe cherries, and raspberries.

The finish is long and complex with silky tannins.

Food Pairings: GSM blends is a versatile food pairing wine that works particularly well with dishes featuring Mediterranean spices including red pepper, sage, rosemary, and olives. Cheese Pairings: a combination of soft and hard cheeses including Camembert, Parmigiano Reggiano, aged Gouda, aged-hard Cheddar, and Havarti.

2022 “Les Printemps” – which means Spring in French.

Is a delightful Grenache Rosé with a complex and pronounced nose. Aromatics of ripe strawberries, red plum, raspberries, Rainier cherries, orange marmalade, fresh earth, and dried herbs and sage greet the senses. The palate is dry and medium-bodied, bursting with bright ripe berries such as strawberry, plums, and pomegranate, with a hint of herbs and pink peppercorns.

This Grenache Rosé is a perfect choice for a warm summer day, pairing well with light and fresh meals. Including grilled seafood, seafood paella, tapas-charcuterie, grilled/herb roasted chicken, roasted pork with chutney glaze, tarragon chicken salad and much more!  As Julia Child said: “Rosé can be served with everything.”

Pizza featured on left is during special events only

2022 “Caroline” – This Viognier is named after  the owner’s Mother Carol, who you can find working most days at the tasting room.

Viognier is known for its complex and pronounced aromatics, and this wine is no exception.  This Viognier has an abundance of floral and honeysuckle aromas and tropical fruit flavors. Notes of jasmine,  lychee, guava, passionfruit, pineapple, and lemon peel add further complexity, with a hint of white pepper adding a subtle spice. This Viognier is dry and is medium – bodied.

While you’re in the area, make sure to check out Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead nearby!

Pair this Viognier with creamy curries like kormas, chicken salads with apricot/peach, dishes with coconut, ginger, and saffron, rich shellfish dishes (seared scallops, grilled lobster), roast pork/chicken, tagines with apricot, and filet mignon with citrus hollandaise sauce (a rare white wine/red meat pairing!)

The 2022 “Caroline” – Viognier just took home a gold medal at the Winemaker Challenge -International Wine Competition.

Another venture they’ve embarked on is making olive oil from the trees growing on their property.  I was told that they planted 250 rare Mission Olive Trees  which were first planted by Spanish missions along El Camino Real in the late 18th century.

We got to sample their olive oil which had a mild and smooth flavor.  I highly recommend picking up a bottle.

Lynn in front of their olive trees 

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Amis d’ Artefact (Friends of Artefact) receive a 20% discount on twice-yearly club purchases of 6 bottles and a 15% discount on all additional wine purchases.

Wine club members receive an annual Club Card providing 12 complimentary wine tastings per annum. Club “pick up” parties are in April and October, where members are invited to join the festivities and pick-up their wine orders!


What’s even more exciting is that they have lodging options!  Imagine getting to sleep on such a beautiful property and then wake up and go wine-tasting! Such a dream! They currently have a few lodging options which include an airstream (which they call winestream) with beautiful views of the pond.  Learn more about it here.

They also have a communal lodging option on the second story of their tasting room known as L’auberge.  Talk about being up-close and personal to all the action!  There are 3 different rooms available with a shared kitchen and living room.  It has a nice, upscale hostel vibe where you can make friends with other like-minded individuals! Learn more about it here.

Here are some shots of L’auberge.  The rooms have gorgeous views of the countryside property:

I loved the swallows decoration.  Couldn’t be more fitting!

And some shots of the winestream: 

And here are some miscellaneous shots I took while walking around the property!

They have the most adorable animals!

I love that Domaine Artefact is family-friendly.  Another memory made!

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