Archive for October, 2011

November Winery Events

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

There’s always fun and festive events going on in Temecula wine country, and November events include wine night, special sales, and Thanksgiving dinners. The only hard part is deciding which one of these to attend!


Briar Rose Winery

November 11th-13th

Teacher Appreciation Weekend: In honor of teachers, we’re including a special cupcake pairing just for you at a price of $15.  Enjoy a special wine and cupcake pairing off our Premium Library Collection menu (regularly priced at $25).  Reservations are required by calling 951.308.1098.


Cougar Vineyard & Winery

November 26th

4th Annual Temecula Turkey Trot: 5k run- 8:45am / 10k run 8:30a m– Free wine tasting after the race for participants 21 and older.  100% of the money raised will provide funds to sustainable energy projects in east Africa.  Contact 619.537.9185 or TemeculaTurkeyTrot.com for more information.

NFL Football on the big screen every Sunday afternoon
Keyways Winery

Wednesdays, 7-9:30pm

Wine Down Fridays: Includes dinner and a glass of wine and cover charge for live entertainment. $15 Members; $25 non-Members. To make reservations, click here.

Saturday evenings; November 26th – December 17th 4-6pm

Horse Drawn Wagon Rides: You’ll be ushered through more than 100,000 twinkling led lights, which transform the vineyards into a Winter Wonderland! Tickets $5; 3 & under free on parents lap

Starting November 26th until Sold Out- 11a-8p

Christmas Tree Lot: These 6-8’ tall trees are being offered at $65-$75 for Keyways Wine Club Members and $75-$100 for the public.

Leoness Cellars

Sunday, November 20, 2-5pm

3rd Sunday Concert SeriesHosted by the Vineyard Troubadour


Oak Mountain Winery

Thursday, November 10th – 6-9pm

Cooking Class with Temecula CateringJoin Temecula Catering as they teach you to make a four course gourmet meal. Each course is paired with an Oak Mountain wine. Reservations required, call 951-699-9102 or email Valerie at vandrews@oakmountainwinery.com.

Saturday, November 19th- 6-9pm

Secret Ingredient Chef Cook-Off

Friday, November 25th– 6:00p-9:00p

Black Friday Sale


Ponte Family Estate Winery

Friday, November 25th– 9:00a-5:00p

Black Friday Shopping Event: Public is welcome from 9am (we are opening an hour early) and Members only from 5:30pm to 7:30pm (like our normal shopping event only for members). Mimosas will be a tasting option from 9a-12p


Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Friday, November 25th- 11am-8pm

Black Friday: Extended hours for wine tasting and holiday shopping!


South Coast Resort Spa & Winery
Sundays, 12-3pm

Divas In D’Vines: Escape NFL Sundays and enjoy specially priced Diva Pedis, Massages and Facials at our GrapeSeed Spa.  Or enjoy happy hour on the Vineyard Rose Restaurant’s Grand Veranda with live entertainment, plus ½ off sangrias and mimosas with the purchase of a wide assortment of entrees.

Saturday, November 12th- 6pm: cocktails, 7-10pm dinner

Gold Winemakers Dinner: Experience gourmet bliss at an EXCUSIVE dinner celebrating five-star cuisine, coupled with a flavorsome showcase of South Coast Winery’s 2011 Gold Medal award-winning wines. $200 per couple. Ask for overnight Villa specials Reservations required; Call: 951-587-9463 x7210

Thursday, November 24th

Gourmet Family Thanksgiving Dinner: Let the South Coast Winery master chefs and winemakers treat you and your family to a special gourmet feast in the Vineyard Rose Restaurant, featuring scrumptious presentations of traditional Thanksgiving fare.  For menu and more information, visit SouthCoastWinery.com.




Thornton Winery

Saturday, November 12th– 7:00p

Winemaker Dinner: Executive Chef Steve Pickell and Winemaker David Vergari present an evening of food & wine perfection.$95 per person (plus tax & gratuity). Purchase tickets here.

Thursday, November 24th

Thanksgiving Dinner

Saturday, November 19th– 2:30pm

Harvest Cooking Class with Executive Chef Steve Pickell: Appropriate for all levels of talent and interests, this interactive class features cooking demonstrations, take-home recipes and samples of each course. $70 (inclusive)


Wilson Creek Winery

Sundays in November- 10a-3p

Sunday Bubble Brunch: This scrumptious bubble brunch includes an amazing spread of seafood, freshly made waffles, omelets and a carving station.  Best of all, the Bubble Brunch includes delicious cocktails and desserts. $29.95 per person; wine club $26.95 per person; $37.95 per person; wine club $34.15 per person for unlimited sparkling wine. For reservations call: 951.693.9463

Beginning Black Friday, November 25th and every Thursday evening through December 22nd

Sip Savor & Shop ~ Extended Shopping Hours: Wilson Creek Winery’s tasting room will remain open until 9:00pm!

Thursday, November 24- 11a-4p

Thanksgiving Buffet at the Creekside Grille

Nov 1- Dec 24

Holiday Toy Drive

Bring joy to those less fortunate this holiday season.  Bring in a brand new, unwrapped toy valued at $10 or more and receive an extra taste with your tasting ticket and a complimentary appetizer with any purchase at Creekside Grille!


Winemaker’s Roundtable: Five Facts About Tempranillo

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

As we head toward cooler temperatures and heartier fare, we’re partial to bold reds to warm us up and stand up to big flavors. Tempranillo is a great choice if you’re in the mood for a more intense red wine with hints of berries and plums.



  1. Tempranillo is a thick-skinned, black grape also known as the “noble grape” in its native Spain. The grape was brought to America, possibly as seeds, with the Spanish Conquistadors in the 17th century.
  2. Tempranillo came to California bearing the name Valdepenas.
  3. The Tempranillo grape is the main ingredient in Spanish Rioja and is often used in other blends due to its low acidity.
  4. Beef, lamb and sheep’s milk cheese such as manchego are all ideal to pair with Tempranillo. Of course, traditonal Spanish tapas are always a great choice to serve this wine.
  5. Many of our wineries produce this beautiful, powerful red which is the perfect wine for rich, holiday dishes. If you’re a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon but have never tried Tempranillo, here are a few to get you started: Masia de Yabar, Danza del Sol, Europa Village, and Frangipani Winery.

Values And Splurges: Wines For Every Thanksgiving Table

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

We’re officially past the halfway mark in October, which means Halloween will be here and gone in a flash. Before you can say “turkey,” you’ll find yourself staring face to face with the biggest food holiday of the year- Thanksgiving! There’s no need to panic- we’ve got the perfect wine pairings to go with each dish on your Thanksgiving table so you’ll be way ahead of the curve. Just follow this simple guide and your friends and family will be thanking YOU for making their holiday meal extra special no matter what your budget.

Light appetizers:

Value: Stuart Cellars 2008 Pinot Grigio– $16.00

Splurge: Briar Rose Winery 2010 Estate Viognier- $25.00

These bright yet mellow whites pair well with light dishes to kick off your Thanksgiving meal. A salad of pears, blue cheese and walnuts or a lemony crab salad in endive leaves would be complimented by the white peach and floral notes of both wines.

Herbacious side dishes:

Value: Mount Palomar 2006 Sangiovese– $26.00

Splurge: Doffo Vineyards 2009 Syrah– $46.00

The bold, black fruit flavors of these reds pair especially well with stuffings and gravies featuring herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary. Having an all-vegetarian Thanksgiving? Both wines are perfect for earthy mushroom and winter squash dishes as well.

Poultry, meats and heat

Value: Hart Family Winery 2007 Driveway Red– $20.00

Mid-range: Monte De Oro Winery 2007 Merlot- $28.00

Splurge: Weins 2008 Reserve Tempranillo-Petite Sirah- $49.00

Putting a Southwestern spin on your turkey this year? The dark fruit-spice in these big reds will enhance similar flavors in your chile rubbed turkey or peppered roasts. Whether you’re serving poultry, lamb or beef- all three are bold enough to stand up to richer meat courses.


Value: Keyways Vineyard Winery 2010 Muscat Canelli– $19.00

Splurge: Oak Mountain Winery 2005 Vintners Reserve Port– $28.00

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert, and no dessert is complete without wine -at least we feel that way! Apple pies and pear tarts are practically made to pair with Keyways’ Muscat Canelli, in which red delicious apples, kiwi , pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones. Oak Mountain’s port has a nutty honeyed flavor to perfectly compliment the nutmeg and allspice flavors of pumpkin pie.

One Meal, One Wine:

Maurice Car’rie 2010 Chenin Blanc– $12.95

Palumbo Family Vineywards & Winery 2009 Rosato Secco Rose– $18.00

Falkner Winery 2009 Sauvignon Blanc– $18.95

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvee– $22.00

You’ve spent the better part of Thanksgiving cooking, setting the table and cleaning the house for guests, so perhaps you’re looking to simplify and serve one wine from start to finish.  Any of these four, well-priced wines fit the bill. Each is lighter on the palate, with only subtle hints of sweetness making them suitable to drink with appetizers all the way to dessert.




Wine Country Recipe: Vindemia Turkey Chili

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Few things are as warm and comforting as a bowl of chili, and this recipe from Vindemia Estate Winery uses lean turkey instead of beef for a healthier alternative that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Another benefit of this hearty dish is that it’s generally better eaten the next day…or the next day after that! This turkey chili is the ideal, one-pot meal to make ahead for busy weeknights. All you have to do is reheat, and you’ve got a healthy, satisfying and delicious homemade meal in minutes. Enjoy!

Vindemia Turkey Chili


Extra virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped red onion

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

2.5 lbs lean ground turkey

2 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. white pepper

4 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1.5 tsp. cayenne pepper

Sea salt

1 roasted Poblano chili (peeled & diced)

2, 15-ounce cans whole tomatoes (cubed)

3 tbsp. Ibarra Mexican Chocolate with cinnamon

1, 15-ounce can kidney beans

2 , 15-ounce cans black beans

Thinly sliced smoked Gouda

Vindemia Grenache Rosé


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and sauté until light brown and tender; approximately 8-10 minutes.  Add garlic (be careful not to burn) and turkey and brown on medium to medium-low heat.  Add black pepper, white pepper, chili powder, ground cumin, cayenne pepper and sea salt.  Peel, slice and roast Poblano chili and add to pot.  Add cubed tomatoes, Ibarra Mexican Chocolate, a bit more olive oil and ½ glass of Vindemia Grenache Rosé.  Bring the chili to a slow boil for 4 minutes; then reduce heat.  Add kidney beans and black beans.

Simmer uncovered for 1 hour.  At 45 minutes, add thin sliced smoked Gouda.  After cooking, garnish with 3 olives, or olive leaves with red table grapes sliced in half.

Serve with Vindemia Grenache Rosé or Vindemia More Cowbell.


There’s Music in the Air in Temecula Wine Country…

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Temecula wine country offers beautiful vineyards, a never-ending selection of wines in addition to well-appointed tasting rooms, gift shops and restaurants, but what are those delightful sounds that always seem to fill air? It’s music! With many wineries showcasing both local and national talent, there’s something for the music lover in everyone. If the only tunes you’re hearing these days comes out of a pair of headphones, maybe it’s time to inject some much-needed energy into your repertoire by going to see a live performance! After all, what could be better than spending an evening sipping wine, watching the sun go down and relaxing while listening to talented and creative artists make music? Here are marvelously musical ways for you to get out there and see some incredible musicians:

Do the cool, Autumn breezes make you long for the warm air of summer? Be instantly transported to the tropics by steel drummer Shaula Walko, whose rhythms of the Caribbean will make you feel like breaking out your flip flops and dancing the night away. Cougar Vineyards will feature Walko as well as other performers during the month of October, and you can see these concerts free of charge with the purchase of a wine tasting. Go here for dates, times and other details.

Thornton Winery’s annual Champagne Jazz Series continues to provide a stellar lineup of nationally renowned contemporary jazz artists. Catch sexy sax sensation Candy Dulfer October 15. Dulfer made a splash on the international music scene in 1989 with her #1 hit, “Lily Was Here,” a collaboration with Eurythmics Dave Stewart, and has toured the world stage with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Prince, Marcus Miller, Beyonce, David Sanborn and countless others.  Don’t miss this very special evening- tickets are available here.

Need something a bit heavier? Shoot 4 Tuezday’s set list of classic and contemporary rock may be just what the doctor ordered. Miramonte Winery welcomes this 5-piece October 14, and lead singer Elisha Eddin’s sultry vocals are inspired by Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge, Blondie and The Pretenders.  The winery also hosts an array of other artists, ranging from blues to alternative to soul, during the month of October. For a full schedule of performances, click here.

With so many live concerts and performances at most of Temecula’s wineries, there’s always a reason to get out, get down and catch some talented artists in some of the best settings around. Check out each winery’s website to get a full schedule of upcoming music events.



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