Many local wine shops have wine tastings on evenings and weekends. As mentioned elsewhere in these pages, the San Diego Wine Company has informal, inexpensive, serve-yourself tastings every Saturday and some Sundays. For a host of other options check Wednesday's Food Section in the San Diego Union-Tribune for announcements. What's Happening lists wine dinners sponsored by restaurants, wine store tastings, some classes, and wine festivals.
The Trib also carries Whitley's Wine Finds and On Wine columns, which are always worthwhile if not as scholarly and clever as Prial's articles in the New York Times.
Locally, we have the quaint Orfila Winery out in the Escondido countryside on the way to the San Diego Wild Animal Park. They have pretty grounds, a nice tasting area, and they've had some killer wines in the last couple of years, including a yummy Sangiovese. SoCal wine makers have finally figured out that they should be growing grapes that thrive in hot climates. Lucky for us!
If you are feeling a little adventurous, head up to Temecula, which has a full-blown wine industry, including the well-known Calloway winery and a host of other smaller, quainter vintners. It's just an hour away and you can make a day of it. If you just can't get enough, lovely Santa Barbara lies on just the other side of Los Angeles and has a host of well-known and up-and-coming wineries. Make a weekend of it!
Finally, the San Diego National Wine Competition, held every April, followed by a charity tasting in June, are supposed to be quite the events.