Archive for February, 2012

March Events in Temecula Valley Wine Country

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Spring is in the air in Temecula Valley Wine Country, so it’s the perfect time to come out, take in the “greening” of wine country and enjoy the multiple events we have planned for this mild-weather season.

World of Wine Barrel Tasting Weekend, March 3 and 4, 10:00am-4:30pm:

Join us for our annual barrel tasting weekend, where you can take self-guided tours of 30+  wineries, sampling wine right from the barrel as well as from the many bottled offerings at each with one passport. Delicious bites will be served to pair with the wines and you can enjoy all of this in beautiful wine country. It’s a great way to learn more about the winemaking process, sample new wines and experience the enjoyment of great food and wine combinations at over 30 wineries for one, set price. Click here to purchase your tickets now.

Danza del Sol Winery:

March 11- 1:00-5:00pm: Live music by Caleb Fritel

March 17- 1:00-5:00pm: Live music by Jeff Johnson

March 24- 1:00-5:00pm: Live music by Vini Contreas

March 31- 1:00-5:00pm: Live music by Stereoflux

Europa Village:

March 6- 6:00-7:30pm: Sommelier Workshop – Wine Geography II – New World

Old grape varietals meet new “terroirs.” We’ll compare the flavors of the new wine countries to old world ones (California, Argentina, Australia/New Zealand, South Africa). This event is limited to 12 guests so make your reservations early! $49.00 per person / Société $44.10 per person. Call for Reservations 951-216-3380.

March 20- 6:00-7:30pm: Sommelier Workshop – Wine & Food Pairing Basics

Let’s review some established guidelines and new trends on how to make wine and food dance rather than fight. This event is limited to 12 guests so make your reservations early! $49.00 per person / Société $44.10 per person. Call for Reservations 951-216-3380.

Keyways Winery:

Every Friday- 7:00-9:30pm: Wine Down Fridays

Enjoy listening to different artists each week as they bring you sing along favorites and classics to rejuvenate your soul. Advanced reservations & payment required for dinner by the Wednesday prior to the event.  $25/person; $15 for Keyways Wine Club members (limit two).
Schedule of artists and menus:

March 9: Saxophone & Vocalist Norm Douglas
Menu: Baby Green Salad with Julienne Apples, Dates, Manchego Cheese, Candied Walnuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Creamy Pesto Chicken Breast. Cilantro Rice with Mixed Vegetables. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Click here to purchase tickets or call (951) 302-7888.

March 23: Guitarist & Vocalist Jim Gibson
Menu: Blue Cheese Wedge Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts. Homemade Lasagna with Sausage. Garlic Bread and Onion Medley. Brownies. Click here to purchase tickets or call (951) 302-7888.

Miramonte Winery:

Every Friday and Saturday in March- 7:00-10:00pm: Live Music 

Since 2001, every Friday & Saturday night Miramonte has been home to some the finest live music in the Inland Empire. Offering great wine, beer and live music from 7-10 PM, these weekend events have evolved into signature wine/music events in Temecula wine country. Prix-fixe chef-prepared meals and incredible cheese plates available.

Schedule of artists:

March 2: Craigsband
March 3: 4019
March 9: Nathan James
March 10: Shoot For Tuezday
March 15: Collekt
March 16: JD Priest
March 23: Bluefish
March 24: Missy Anderson
March 30: Shoot For Tuezday
March 31: Steroflux

Oak Mountain Winery:

March 2: 6:00-9:00pm: Cooking Class with Temecula Catering

Join 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.

March 25: 10:00am-2:00pm: Dog/Pet CPR Class

Topics covered in the 4-hour Pet First Aid and CPR course include rescue breathing, canine & feline CPR, snout-to-tail injury assessment, choking, bleeding, shock management and much more. $59/person. Register here.




Winery Spotlight: Get To Know…Briar Rose Winery

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Bigger doesn’t always mean better. A great example of this is Briar Rose Winery, a boutique winery producing 2,400 to 3,500 cases of award winning wines each year.

The story:

In the early 90’s, Les and Dorian Linkogle moved to Temecula so that their son, legendary motocross rider Larry “Link” Linkogle, would have enough space to ride. The Linkogles purchased an estate, which featured replicas of Snow White’s cottage which were built by a former Disney artisan for his wife, with the promise to not change the architecture. In the late 90’s, the couple started growing grapes and sold them to local wineries; in 2002 Carl Key of Keyways encouraged the Linkogels to start their own winery. After five years of perfecting their wine making process and getting all of the proper licenses, Briar Rose Winery was born.

The wines:

Briar Rose has won awards for its Cabernet Sauvignons, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Viognier and Merlot. Other offerings include, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, a Super Tuscan Blend, Gewurztraminer, and a wine lager, “Talking Frog.”


Briar Rose’s tasting room is by reservation only, so be sure to book before you go by calling (951) 308-1098. The tasting room is open Wednesday – Sunday 11:00 a.m to 5:00p.m., with the last appointment being at 4:00 p.m. The tastings last just under one hour. Small bites are also available for purchase.

Briar Rose Winery is located at 41720 Calle Cabrillo in Temecula.



WOW: World of Wine in Temecula Valley Wine Country- March 3 and 4

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Now that the holidays- Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day- are behind us, we have to admit to having a bit of the post-celebration blues. After all, sharing wine and food with friends and family is one of life’s great pleasures, wouldn’t you agree? Luckily, there’s an event on the horizon that has all of those elements: World of Wine (WOW),  happening March 3 and 4 from 10:00am to 4:30pm right here in beautiful Temecula Valley Wine Country!

Armed with a map and a signature, souvenir wine glass, you can take self-guided tours of 30+  wineries, sampling wine right from the barrel as well as from the many bottled offerings at each. Delicious bites will be served to pair with the wines and you can enjoy all of this in the mild, spring climate. It’s a great way to learn more about the winemaking process, sample new wines and experience the enjoyment of great food and wine combinations at over 30 wineries for one, set price.

If you’d like to sip and leave the driving to someone else, there are transportation options available through the following companies:

Executive VIP Shuttle, The Grapeline Wine Country Shuttle, West Coast Chauffeur & Transportation

Make it a weekend with WOW overnight packages available at the following hotels:

Embassy Suites Temecula Valley Wine Country (requires a two-night stay), Temecula Creek Inn

This event draws return attendees each year, but if you’ve never been to Temecula Valley Wine Country, WOW is a great way to get to know this beautiful wine region located right in Southern California!

Two-day and Sunday-only tickets are still available, to purchase, click here.



Meet Your Winemaker: David Bradley, Winemaker/Owner, Vindemia Vineyard & Estate Winery

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Vindemia Owners David and Gail Bradley


This month’s “Meet Your Winemaker” installment is about Vindemia Vineyard & Estate Winery owner and winemaker David Bradley. David also owns and operates California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures in Temecula.

Q: What inspired you to go into wine making?

A: I am a commercial hot air balloon pilot. I started flying balloons in 1977 and in Temecula in 1986. Passengers on our flights would ask questions about grape growing and winemaking (our pilots have served over 35,000 bottles of sparkling wine over the years), so I began learning more about the vineyards I was flying over and the characters in Temecula who made wine- and there were quite a few! I would stop growers and picking crews and ask questions.

Over the years I learned more and got very interested. I saw that Mesa Verde (now called Van Roekel) Winery was for sale and dreamed of one day owning a vineyard and winery. Having children, building a business and financial restrictions put The Dream on hold but it never left my mind. I asked more questions, bought books and began looking for vineyard property. It seemed like understanding viticulture and our region’s climate would be the place to start. Weather patterns and subtle climate influences are my background from years of hot air ballooning so growing conditions and vineyard placement was a little easier to grasp. My grandfather was a chemist, so as a kid I was familiar with the equipment in a wine lab and scientific note taking but I didn’t  know much about wine….cuvee rouge and white zinfandel were my friends! As a kid I remembered all the smells in the chemistry lab, and as an adult I noticed, while flying, that I had a good sense of spatial awareness and changes in my environment- especially smells. You can smell rain, desert winds at 4000 feet, cow poop when the wind is out of the North, In-N-Out onions when you step on certain weeds…so I think my sense of smell really opened my mind up to wine and the world of wine making.

In short, I am a balloon pilot who is a student of winemaking.

Q: Did you have a wine-making mentor, and if so, can you tell us a bit about him or her?

A: Yes 4 mentors,  Dr. Enrique Ferro, Jon McPherson, Javier Flores and Marshall Stuart.

Enrique is a Doctorate of Enology and has spent his life in California and Baja California helping others make beautiful wines. He has been a patient teacher.

Jon and Javier are the winemakers at South Coast Winery and are masters of the craft, from sparkling to floral whites to deep expressive reds. When I am in a jam I call the “Dynamic Duo.”

Marshall does it all from vineyard operations to crushing 600 tons while talking on the phone- nothing phases him. He is a giant friend who makes big reds.

Just having the opportunity to grow up with and talk with these four winemakers has been a great pleasure. They make working and producing wine the best job you could have.


Q: Have you had any “oops” moments during your early days of winemaking? If so, we’d love to hear the story!

A: In the early days,  “oops moments” seemed like a once-a-vintage tradition. Probably the one with the best outcome was in 2008, while I was making a cabernet franc off the vineyard at the corner of Rancho California road and Calle Contento. We had a beautiful lush wine with a high PH that we crushed at Stuart Cellars, and it needed some acid. I added the acid and filled out a work order. The way I filled out the order made it seem like the wine needed acid (instead of relaying the message that it had already been added) so the next morning, the assistant winemaker at Stuart Cellars came in and added acid. The result was a wine that had a deep, beautiful color that tasted like Sweet Tarts candies! Marshall Stuart, the owner of Stuart Cellars, said in a calm voice that his Estate Cabernet Franc actually needed more acid and color, so we blended the two wines and the 2008 Cabernet Franc became a “two vineyard” select, which turned out to be one of our best wines- it went on to win Best of Region Red for South Coast Appellation at the California State Fair in 2010.

Q: What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as a winemaker?
A: Understanding just how important every decision you make in the vineyard shows up 15 minutes after you crush. That, and being a lifelong student to the art.
Q: Give one piece of advice to aspiring winemakers:
A: If someone tells you that it is a crazy idea – do it!

Wine Country Recipe: Thornton Winery’s Yukon Gold Potato Soup

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

What’s more comforting to sit down to after a long, hard day than a piping hot bowl of creamy potato soup? The only thing we can think of to make Thornton Winery’s Yukon Gold Potato Soup even more appealing is a glass of Thornton 2010 Chardonnay, a loaf of crusty bread and a fresh green salad to complete the meal. Warm, hearty and delicious, this soup will taste even better the next day, so you can take the leftovers to lunch and make all of your coworkers envious!


1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
2/3 cup yellow onion, diced
3-4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 quarts chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Salt, pepper
Sauté celery, carrots, onion, garlic and thyme in olive oil over medium heat until vegetables are soft, 4-5 minutes. Add potatoes, cover with chicken stock and reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour or until potatoes are fully cooked. Add heavy cream, puree until very smooth and season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6-8

Pair with Thornton 2010 Chardonnay

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