In my Sunday Seven this past week I featured this article on the top Wine Travel Destinations of 2019, and Temecula was on the list.
While Napa and Paso Robles steal the spotlight as California’s go-to hot spots, there’s a lesser-known SoCal wine scene. Temecula Valley is located 90 miles southeast of L.A. and 60 miles north of San Diego. It’s filled with more than 40 wineries, great food and beautiful resorts. It has a locals, leisurely feel to it with live music, friendly staff, flowing wine and lots of patios to enjoy the perfect weather.
Mike and I recently spent time in Temecula when we traveled around California for the holidays. Here are some of my recommendations:
Temecula Winery Recommendations
Mount Palomar is a great stop with hundreds of acres of gorgeous vines! It was of Temecula’s first wineries and helped set the sage for the Mediterranean-style grapes that have become a staple here. They specialize in Italian varietals and Port and Sherry style wines. Fun fact – Mount Palomar claims to have the oldest Sherry solera in the US. They have a great tasting room and a nice patio, too!
Europa Village, true to its name, is inspired by and specializes in Italian, French and Spanish wines under three different labels. This ambitious, still-unfolding project includes a luxury, Spanish-style inn, and will ultimately have three wineries in the styles of France, Italy and Spain. Over 30 wines are bottled here, ranging from big reds to sparklings to dessert wines, with heritages that hearken back to all three countries and a few more. Sit outside next to the vines or on the charming patio for a taste!
Callaway’s 25,000 cases make it one of the larger operations in Temecula. It bottles many different wines, including Zinfandels and Syrahs. It has a huge tasting room and a variety of drop-in tasting and tour options, including a $25 cellar tour with barrel and tank samples. Outside, the views of the vineyards can’t be beat and there are lots of places to lounge.
Miramonte describes itself as a Rhône specialist, with a notable Syrah, but there are Spanish wines as well, with Tempranillo and even Sangria. Walk-in tastings don’t require reservations, but the winery offers a slate of tours for those who book ahead. This is a really delightful spot to go to on a sunny day, with sweeping views of wine country and plenty of outdoor seating!
This is more of a locals spot off the beaten path. The views are some of the best its set on a countryside with vineyards below. The architecture here is beautiful and they have a patio that dreams are made of with fireplaces and lots of seating. Leonesse offers three tiers of wine with their Vineyard Select Wines being notable for sourcing grapes from a single vineyard and receiving significant maturation in new French Oak (typically 18 -24 months).
Located on 300 acres their tasting room is a chic barn-like structure. Ponte produces only 1,500 cases of wine per year, but offers 23 varieties, from whites (Pinot Grigio, Vernaccia) to reds (Barbera, Petite Sirah, Merlot) to Sparklings. Depending on what time of the week you visit, you can book a guided tour of the grounds or stick to a tasting. They also have a really good gift shop!
Temecula Food Recommendations
Temecula Resort Recommendations
We stayed at the Ponte Vineyard Inn. It is a 90-room boutique hotel with elegant interiors, nice amenities, and a relaxing ambiance which starts with champagne when you check in – you have to love that! They have several different restaurants on property with beautiful vineyard views and firepits that you can cozy up to outside. We enjoyed our stay here and it made a very comfortable home base for wine country visits!
Other Temecula Recommendations
Some additional recommendations, not pictured…
1 The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars
2 Mama Rosa’s at Robert Renzoni’s Tuscan winery
3 Meritage at Callaway winery
3 Early dinner/sunset dining at Lorimar winery
South Coast Inn and Spa