New Business: Winemaker plans LJ Crafted Wines as a tasting room in Bird Rock/La Jolla; set to open July 2015


Taking a cue from the San Diego craft beer industry, fourth-generation South African winemaker Lowell Jooste will launch LJ Crafted Wines in Bird Rock, offering wines by the taste and by the glass, and in re-sealable, reusable, refillable glass wine growlers.

Situated next to Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, LJ Crafted Wines is planned to open in July 2015 at 5621 La Jolla Blvd., in the space formerly occupied by Julian Bakery.

Presenting his plans at the May 5 Bird Rock Community Council meeting, Jooste said, “We will be bottling some wine, as well, for those who are not close enough to regularly come in for refills. But we wanted to approach this from an environmentalist point of view. It was always frustrating for us in the wine industry to see all these trucks carrying cases of bottles, knowing that 70 percent of them are going to end up in a landfill.”

Jooste said the wine is made with grapes from Northern California, and he uses established wineries to make it, transporting the wine in barrels to the Bird Rock tasting room.

“There’s something romantic about getting wine right out of a barrel,” he told La Jolla Light, adding the wine tends to taste better that way.

Jooste said LJ Crafted Wines is not licensed as a conventional bar, so children will be allowed in and appetizers and snacks will be served, though there is no kitchen.

“We just want to see what we can make of it and be an asset to the community,” Jooste said. Jooste and his wife, Ann, moved from South Africa two years ago when one of their four children got into the University of San Diego. Having visited La Jolla five years ago, Jooste said they consider the move “an adventure.”

Other Bird Rock business news:

Mimi and Red fashion boutique (formerly situated at 5360 La Jolla Blvd.) moved into the space once home to Schroeder Piano at 5680 La Jolla Blvd., opening May 8. Mimi and Red sells jewelry, home décor and casual, but high-fashion clothing.

Wheat and Water pizzeria will open in July at 5737 La Jolla Blvd., using locally sourced ingredients for its wood-fired pizzas.