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Katya and Rod Skorik, owners of Wine Birds in Carlsbad, flank Jeremy Riddle, owner/winemaker of Riddle Wines. Photo by Rico Cassoni
Arts & EntertainmentColumnsTaste of Wine

Wine Birds, new Carlsbad wine shop, hosts Riddle Wines tasting

Frank and I had the opportunity to check out Carlsbad’s newest wine shop, Wine Birds, owned by Rod and Katya Skorik. It is located near Prager Brothers bakery off Faraday Drive. Our visit was timed with a Riddle Wines wine tasting with owner/winemaker Jeremy Riddle.

I suspect that some might be thinking, huh, another wine store in North County, or at least this was a question I had. Specifically, I asked Rod about his strategy for differentiating Wine Birds from other wine stores in the area, including big box stores such as Costco, Total Wine, and BevMo.

Rod said, “We focus on organic and biodynamic wines from France, Italy and Spain. We also plan to open our store to a courtyard where guests can buy a bottle of wine to enjoy.” I would add, perhaps, a loaf of Prager’s bread and some charcuterie that Rod is looking into offering customers once the store opens to the courtyard.

Rod added, “Our plan is to serve both customers and other businesses with business-to-consumer and business-to-business models.”

Jeremy Riddle, owner/winemaker of Riddle Wines, pours his 2020 Sparkling Grenache at the Wine Birds wine tasting. Photo by Rico Cassoni.

Customers can come in with a menu and Rod, a sommelier, and his team are happy to come up with pairings for dinner parties. He also looks forward to working with restaurants that are seeking great value, organic and biodynamic wines to add to their menus.

I really enjoyed the modern-looking entryway, with wines on cabinet shelves reaching 12 feet from the floor. I also appreciated the diverse number of varietals, countries and price ranges that Wine Birds offered and Rod’s requirement that wholesalers ship wine to Wine Birds in temperature-controlled containers.

Riddle Wines was established out of Jeremy Riddle’s desire to craft wines that authentically reflect the essence of the vineyard, the season’s harvest and the unique climate.

Eschewing additives and heavy-handed techniques, Jeremy’s approach is grounded in a commitment to purity. He immerses himself in the intricacies of winemaking, often spending nights near the aging barrels. Collaborating with vineyard owners who share his dedication to organic practices, he selects grapes cultivated without herbicides or pesticides.

Embracing holistic methods and considering the entire vineyard ecosystem, Jeremy values the interplay of roots, birds, flora and microbes. Continually seeking growth and collaboration, he embodies the spirit of an old-school, wine-loving enthusiast on a quest for vinicultural perfection.  His favorite wines to produce are sparkling and Rhone varietals.

Jeremy, in collaboration with Rod and Katya, poured seven wines for the tasting. Charcuterie was also available to enhance the wines’ flavors.

The first wine poured was a 2022 Chardonnay exclusive to Wine Birds. The fruit was sourced from Carneros and aged for one year in neutral oak sur lees (with the lees), with native fermentation. It was a crisp chardonnay with ripening tropical fruit on the nose and lemon zest on the palate.

Next, a 2020 Sparkling Grenache was poured. I loved the creamy mouthfeel with subtle bubbles that tasted like a creamsicle with pomegranate notes. This bubbly wine was naturally aged without sugar or yeast for 22 months in neutral oak and would be a perfect mimosa replacement.

A 2020 Grenache sourced from the El Dorado AVA was the third wine poured, with Bing cherry, anise and hints of herbs on the nose and palate. The grenache was unfiltered and aged for 10 months in neutral French oak.

Wine Birds offers great value world wines that include organic and biodynamic bottles. Photo by Rico Cassoni

Fourth was a 2020 Vermentino fermented with macerated skins for 14 days. It was a lively wine with peach, lemon, orange rind, and hibiscus notes on the nose. The palate also had fruit flavors, with lemon zest and apricot and a tea leaf on the finish.

Next was the 2021 counoise sourced from Mendocino, specifically Eagle Point Ranch. The small cluster of counoise mountain grapes had perfumed notes of lavender and pomegranate and bright fruit on the palate with a cracked pepper finish. The counoise is aged for 13 months in neutral French oak, sur lees and without sulfur.

The last two wines were my favorites. The 2020 Syrah had a full nose of violet and a variety of red fruit on the palate, along with a nice long finish. The most intriguing wine of the lineup was the 2020 GSM blend sourced from David Girard’s vineyard in the El Dorado AVA. Jeremy co-ferments the 41% grenache, 39% syrah and 20% mourvèdre blend simultaneously, and all three varietals are picked on the same day!

This is impressive, considering three different varietals. The GSM blend is one of Riddle Wines’ most produced wines, along with the syrah. Get more information on Riddle Wines at

Great event, Rod, Katya and Jeremy. I look forward to seeing how Wine Birds evolves. At three months old, it is already impressive. See everyone in the courtyard this summer. More information on Wine Birds is at

— Story by Rico Cassoni


Wine Bytes

Del Mar’s West End is hosting a Markham Winemaker Dinner with winemaker Kimberlee Nichols on Thursday, March 28, at 6 p.m. The five-course dinner features espresso-rubbed New York Strip steak with crispy Brussels sprouts and carrot puree, paired with Markham Cab Sauv for the main course. The cost is $120 per person and includes tax/gratuity. RSVP at

Rico Cassoni is executive producer of Taste of Wine and Food.  He and founder/advisor Frank Mangio, a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator, are two of the leading reviewers on the web. Reach them at [email protected].

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