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Dave Wiegel and Dustin Cano are taking Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas to new heights of total customer service. Photo courtesy Meritage Wine Company
Community Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Meritage — A premium wine shop for every customer

Dave Wiegel and Dustin Cano are juicing up what was already the most productive wine shop in San Diego County for the last few years. At Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas, the duo are now presenting new products and services that wine buyers could seemingly only just dream about.

A look at the busy monthly newsletter details premium wine tastings every Friday night from 6 to 8 p.m. for just $30.  Meritage adds sponsorships and its talent to major wine and food benefit events.

Recently, the team added critical help to the Make a Wish San Diego nonprofit to grant wishes to children in San Diego, and helped to raise $240,000 in one beautiful event at the Omni La Costa Resort.

Their connections with premium wineries in Napa Valley also aided the most recent Stars of Cabernet benefit night at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. Meritage supplied the wines there and at the Wishes events.

When asked about what motivates Meritage to this level of community service, Cano answered, “Our mission is to be San Diego County’s premier wine shop.  We sell wines at all price points, as long as they show great value for the customer.  Making quality wine can be difficult, but buying wine shouldn’t be.  Our hope is to always get the right bottle of wine to the right customer. We have relationships with excellent wineries all over the world.  We go where the wine is made.”

Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas has the choicest names in California wines, with many other selections from the rest of the wine world. Photo courtesy Meritage Wine Company
Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas has the choicest names in California wines, with many other selections from the rest of the wine world. Photo courtesy Meritage Wine Company


Wiegel, who spent time as a wine distributor, knows and respects many of these hard working people. They supply the wine names that make this wine shop a must-stop.

“We work hard to educate the wine buyer of the quality built in to wines that are respected and loved by our customers.  We’ll bring winemakers in for tasting events and arrange with our major event producer-partners to showcase these wines.  Anytime a customer walks in there’s a menu of wines to taste.”

Meritage recently renewed its partnership with Michele Graber of “M” Wine, considered one of the finest educators and consulting experts on wine education.  It has allowed her a beautiful new cellar tasting room to present her classes, which have sold out well in advance of the dates.

The next date is one you shouldn’t miss, Dec. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m.  Its cute headline is “The Killler B’s of Wine — Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello and Burgundy.” Cost is $69. This final seminar of 2016 includes nine wines that best represent the varietals, with a selection of regional cheeses, meats and other light appetizers.  Class size is limited to 16 guests.  Contact M Wines at (858) 442-2749.

Contacts for Meritage Wine Market are (760) 479-2500 and

Wine Bytes

North County Wine Company in San Marcos hosts owner/winemaker Rich Hartenberger of Midnight Cellars of Paso Robles Nov. 18 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.; cost is $10 to taste five Midnight Cellars’ wines from a Chardonnay to a Zinfandel.  Price includes snacks.  For this night only, the price of each will be reduced 25 percent. Call (760) 653-9032.

The WineSellar and Brasserie in Sorrento Valley San Diego has the winemaker and wines from Alma Rosa with winemaker Richard Sanford, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.  Seven wines to taste with a five-course dinner. Wines range from Pinot Gris to three kinds of Pinot Noir — all are from Sta. Rita Hills.  $109. Make contact at (858) 450-9557.

La Gran Terraza, the elegant restaurant on the hill on the University of San Diego campus, has its annual Beajolais Nouveau Wine dinner, Nov. 22 at 6 p.m. for the reception, 6:30 p.m. for the dinner.  Celebrate French style with these new releases.  Cost is $65 per person.  Reserve at (619) 849-8205.


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web. View his columns at and reach him at [email protected].  Follow him on Facebook.