Archive for March, 2012

Early Spring in Temecula Valley: What is bud break?

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Bud break is the first stage of growth for a wine grape.  Every grape in the Northern Hemisphere begins its annual growth cycle around March.  This growth process occurs over a number of days and the length is determined by the grape variety, location, and weather.  It’s always an exciting time when the first sign of green begins emerging in the vineyards!

Bud break begins when the tiny buds on the vine start to swell.  What’s interesting to note is that these buds actually appear in the summer of the previous growth cycle – they are green and covered in scales.  During winter, the buds go dormant and brown and in the spring, they begin to sprout green shoots and finally, grape leaves.

In warm climates like Temecula Valley, it takes about four weeks until the growth of the shoots start to rapidly accelerate, with the tendrils growing an average of one inch per day.


Check out this grape growth chart to explain the stages of bud break:


  Growth Stage 1 – Sprouting – brown “wool” clearly visible
  Growth Stage 2 – Beginning of bud break – green shoot tips just visible
  Growth Stage 3 – Bud break – green shoot tips clearly visible
  Growth Stage 4 – Bud break – green shoot tips slightly opened
  Growth Stage 5 – Leaf development – some leaves unfurl
*Credit for the bud break chart and info goes to Janice Schmidt, a UC Davis trained enologist.


Here’s some Temecula Valley bud break beauty snapshots, courtesy of Falkner Winery.  Happy early spring from wine country!



April Events in Temecula Valley Wine Country

Monday, March 26th, 2012

There’s plenty of reasons to visit Temecula Valley in April – including Easter celebrations, jazz and rock concerts, and cool Earth Day offerings.  Read on for the details and we hope to see you soon!


Callaway Vineyard & Winery


“A Taste of Spring” Seminar with the Winemaker – April 22; 10am-12:30pm

This seminar begins with a mimosa, continental breakfast and walk in the vineyard.  Callaway winemaker Craig Larson will talk about the grape varieties that are grown at Callaway, the terroir, the grapevine and it’s growing cycle, trellising and upcoming treatments that will be done during this phase of the growth cycle.  Then it’s back into the winery where guests will taste one unfiltered tank sample and several finished white wines while learning specific tasting techniques used to evaluate wines such as color, clarity, aroma, taste, body and finish.

$88.50 Per Seminar
Legacy Club Member Price – $79.65 Per Seminar
Prices are per person, plus tax

Click here to purchase tickets.


Cougar Vineyard & Winery


Live Music in the Barrel Room


April 7th Don Brennan – Acoustical guitarist

April 14th Leo Gosselin -Playing the rare stringed instrument Chapman Stick Touchboard.

April 21st Shaula Walko – Steel drums island vibe

April 22nd Don Brennan – Special time 12-4p

April 28th Will Sumner – Smooth jazz


Europa Village


Guilty Conscience Band

Friday, April 13


A high energy, interactive band with a collection of experienced, diverse musicians who can perform virtually all styles of music, including classic rock, country, jazz standard, dance covers, Broadway, R&B and all points in between, Guilty Conscience is sure to fill our venue with audible delight that will pair perfectly with Europa Village wines.


“La Vie Parisienne”

April 18 & 19


$85 per person / Societe $75.60 per person

The cozy atmosphere of The Cave at Europa Village be transformed into “La Vie Parisienne” a night where the food prepared by Chef Dean and accompanied with wines perfectly paired by our Sommelier Stefano while beautiful music sung by our talented staff and performers throughout will be reminiscent of an evening in Paris.

Call or Email for reservations

951-216-3380 / events@europavillage.com



Falkner Winery

Easter Champagne Brunch

Sunday, April 8

Cost is $49.95 per person plus tax (Wine Club members and their guests are $44.95+).  Children 3-10 are $19 plus tax (Wine Club $15+) and free for children under 3.

Champagne will be part of the meal along with other beverage options including discounted wine by the glass. Live entertainment will also be provided.  Special Easter gifts will be given to all children upon arrival.  Reservations should be made by calling 951-676-8231 ext. 1 or online at their website of www.falknerwinery.com.  Reservations are available from 10 am–4pm.


Free Jazz on Sundays

Performances will be 3 hours beginning at noon and going until 3:00pm and be held in their outside lawn area adjacent to the tasting room.   As the name indicates, every Sunday afternoon live jazz performances will be available to winery customers at no charge and with no reservations required. Chairs and tables will be provided for the audience.  Freshly prepared barbequed food and wine by the glass, bottle, or carafe are available for each performance.


Frangipani Winery


Live music

April 21 & 22 from 1:00p-5:00p

Performance by Michael Chain


Longshadow Winery Ranch & Vineyard

Bonfire Saturday Nights begin 4/14/12.  Live music, dancing & wine from 6-10pm.

April 14: B502’s

April 21: White Lightnin’

Click here for the Longshadow event calendar.  To RSVP, call (951) 587-6221.


Miramonte Winery

Live Music in April

April 6 Mater Splinter & the Shredders(7-10PM)

April 7 Bluefish(7-10PM)

April 13 JD Priest(7-10PM)

April 14 Shoot 4 tuezday(7-10PM)

April 20 Billy Watson(7-10PM)

April 21 4019’s(7-10PM)

April 27 Steroflux(7-10PM)

April 28 Missy Andersen – (7-10PM)


*April 19 Collekt – Casual local meet up open to all creative professionals (7-9PM)

Mount Palomar Winery

Bistro Friday’s Live Entertainment
Friday’s in April
6-10pm (last dinner seating at 9:00pm)

Click here for the full entertainment schedule!


Ponte Winery


Easter Brunch

Sunday, April 8

Seatings are at 11, 12, 1:30 and 2:30

$65 per adult, $25 per child. Discount for wine club members
Easter Brunch at Ponte! Join us for brunch in the Vineyard Pavilion. Meet the Easter Bunny, send the kids on an Easter Egg hunt and enjoy mimosas, Moscato, Bellinis, Rose Spumante and Grape Sparklers.

Space is limited.  Click here for more info and to purchase tickets.


Team Ponte Kick-off Meeting

Wednesday, April 25

5:30p – Join us Wednesday, April 25th to kick off a season of giving! In August, Ponte Associates, Wine Club Members and members of the community will come together to run San Diego’s AFC 1/2 Marathon. Come find out how you can help raise funds for Rancho Damacitas, a local home for abused and neglected children while training, making friends and drinking a little wine along the way! Snacks, wine and raffle prizes will be available!


Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Robert Renzoni Winery’s 4th Birthday Celebration

April 14th & 15th

Come celebrate with us!  Live music on Saturday by Rachel Stark & on Sunday by Lawrence Spector

For more information, please call 951.302.VINO (8466)


South Coast Resort Spa & Winery

Champagne Easter Buffet Brunch
Sunday, April 8
10:00a to 4:00p
$42.00 Per Adult Plus Tax & Gratuity (Includes 2 Complimentary Glasses of Champagne) and $19.00 Per Child (Ages 5 to 10) Plus Tax & Gratuity.

Bring the whole family to South Coast Winery for our very special Champagne Easter Buffet Brunch in the Vineyard Rose Restaurant. Enjoy a scrumptious buffet brunch prepared by Executive Sous Chef, Mike Terry, voted Inland Empire’s Best Chef, and our Award-Winning sparkling wines. Take pictures with the Easter Bunny who will be hosting Easter Egg hunts for children on the hour starting at 11 a.m. Visit SouthCoastWinery.com to view our menu. To Make a Reservation, please call (951) 491-8077 or for more information visit, SouthCoastWinery.com.


Going Green at the Grapeseed Spa

As the vines are greening up here at South Coast Winery,why not enjoy the ‘Going Green’ specialized service that is available for the month of April at the GrapeSeed Spa. Enjoy a 50 minute, full body ‘therapeutic’ massage with an exotic blend of oils that are infused with Green Tea, Mint, Ivy extract, Aloe and Arnica. Nourish the skin and revive sore, tired muscles and joints with this ‘Going Green’ massage.

Book Now For Only $105 Per Person

(Regular Value $135 per person)

Call (866) 994-6379 EXT. 7280; SouthCoastWinery.com


Down To Earth Winemakers Dinner

April 21st, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.

Join us on Earth Day for the Down to Earth Winemakers Dinner and to celebrate our Inland Empire’s Best Restaurant, Best Chef and Best Spa of 2012 wins! South Coast Winery is participating in the Wine Institute’s “California Wines: Down to Earth” campaign during April to celebrate the state’s commitment to sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices such as conserving energy, water and soil, recycling and composting.  To coincide with Earth Day, award-winning chef Mike Terry has created an eco-conscious five-course menu using fresh vegetables grown using earth-friendly practices in our Carter Estate gardens.  This special dinner will be exquisitely paired with award-winning South Coast wines selected by our winemakers.

$100 per person, tickets on sale at www.SouthCoastWinery.com or call (866) 994-6379 EXT.7210 to purchase today!


Jana Kramer Live in Concert

Go Country 105FM and Rhythm on the Vine present sensational country music singer and songwriter Jana Kramer Live in Concert at the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa in Temecula on April 21, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. The CW’s “One Tree Hill” star is lighting up country music with her emotionally moving songs and sweet, country vocals, already selling nearly 200,000 digital singles in less than 6 months. Jana boldly graces country music with a fresh, new sound and powerful new music. Tickets starting at $19.99 are on sale now at www.cegseats.com or call (213) 742-6960.


Blessing of the Vines and Earth Day Wine Blending Competition

April 22nd, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.

In a tradition that dates back centuries to European vineyards, come celebrate the joys of Spring – the budding of the vines, the anticipation of a fruitful crop – at the Official Blessing of the Vines & Earth Day Wine Blending Competition. Not only do our Winemakers exercise eco-conscious winemaking practices, South Coast Winery is the only winery in Temecula to use divine assistance during the growing season! Join us for an authentic processional tour through the vineyards followed by live music, dancing, a Texas Country BBQ Cookout, with of course, our award-winning wines!

Then, progress from novice to Honorary Winemaker during our highly anticipated, Earth Day Wine Blending Competition!  Using the fruit of our earth-friendly labor, winemakers John McPherson Javier Flores will coach teams on the “how to’s” for creating a one-of-a-kind blend.   Each team to mix, match and co-create from the single varietals into the perfect blend to present for judging.  Experience firsthand what fun our Winemakers have creating new varietals for our award-winning collection.  Winning team takes home the Golden Prize!  No experience necessary. Limited Availability. Must purchase a ticket to the Official Blessing of the Vines for eligibility. Registration begins on-site, Sunday, April 22nd at 3:45 p.m. First come first serve. Must be 21 or older to enter.

$45 per person, tickets on sale at www.SouthCoastWinery.com or call (866) 994-6379 EXT.7210 to purchase today!



Thornton Winery


Live Music on Fridays

Friday, April 6


Performance by Leo Gosselin & The Stick


Wilson Creek Winery


Easter Brunch

April 8

10a to 4p

Creekside Grille

$49.95 per person • 59.95 per person unlimited champagne • $12.95 children under 12

Reservations: 951.699.9463

Celebrate Easter with family at an unforgettable buffet style brunch that draws from Executive Chef Steve Stawinski’s intriguing menu of springtime wine country classics. Enjoy live piano music by Frank Marter while our animal friends fill the courtyard once again at the annual petting zoo.


Reality Rally Opening Reception

April 13

6p to 10p

Creekside Grille

$25.00 per person for an amazing evening. All food and 1 free wine ticket included.

Reality Rally is a three-day weekend event intended to raise funds for Michelle’s Place, a local breast cancer resource center, while highlighting the unique locations and features our community has to offer.

Friday evening is an adult ticketed Celebrity Reception with the Stars at Wilson Creek Winery from 6pm-10pm. Wilson Creek Wines, local signature foods and a hot air balloon tether ride
(weather permitting)

Purchase tickets: www.realityrally.com






Winery Spotlight: Get To Know…Longshadow Ranch Winery & Vineyard

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The story:

Longshadow Ranch Winery & Vineyard has been a favorite of Temecula Valley wine country visitors for a decade.  This family-owned operation offers fine wines, live entertainment on weekends, carriage rides through the vineyards, and friendly service with a smile.  The winery is solely operated by the Brodersen family comprised of John, Susan and their three young children – along with great help from their excellent staff.

This winery offers some unique activities like a horse-drawn carriage that takes guests on wine tasting trips through the vineyards, led by their team of massive Belgian Draft Horses.  Folks are welcome to come down to the ranch and visit the horses in their petting zoo.  The winery also features a concert stage and expansive lawn where visitors can catch national acts throughout the summer and live music on on any given weekend.  Wine club members can attend many of these events free of charge.

The wines:

Longshadow Winery proudly offers a variety of friendly and accessible reds and whites.  Check out the Outlaw Red Gunslinger’s Reserve, the 2008 Estate Vineyard Syrah, and the 2009 White Feather Chardonnay.  They also offer Italian and Spanish varietals like the 2008 Estate Sangiovese and 2008 Tempranillo, plus popular dessert wines such as their Ponderosa Port, perfect for special occasions.  Longshadow wines are available for purchase at the winery and through their online wine shop.


Wine flights are $15 each, includes 5 premium wines and logo glass
Tasting room hours: Mon – Thur 11 am – 5; Fri 12 – 5 pm; Sat & Sun 10 am – 5 pm

39847 Calle Contento, Temecula CA 92591; (951) 587-6221




Meet Your Winemaker…..Damian Doffo, Doffo Winery

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Damian and Marcelo Doffo

The father and son team of Marcelo and Damian Doffo share winemaking duties at their family-owned Doffo Winery, and pride themselves on handcrafted wines through which they share their Argentine and Italian heritage. Both men share a passion for great wine and vintage motorcycles-the latter which they display in MotoDoffo, the family’s private collection of over 100 beautiful bikes from years past.

Patriarch Marcelo was off on a business trip, so son Damian is profiled in this month’s “Meet Your Winemaker.”  We’re sure Dad would be proud!

1) What inspired you to go into winemaking?

When I was 10, my father started making wine in our backyard, and I had no intention of becoming a winemaker due to him telling me I was going to help him and “that was that.” However, as I grew older, the inspiration started coming from becoming a wine enthusiast, which eventually grew into a desire to learn the craft. I sincerely cherish being able to share the passion with my father and the time we spend developing a wine together is what keeps us going. Winemaking is as much of an art as it is a science, and to be able to create something that brightens someone’s mood is enough motivation to continue mastering our craft.
2) Did you have a winemaking mentor, and if so, can you tell us a bit about him or her?
I believe it goes without saying that my father is my mentor. His philosophy to winemaking is to keep it simple and to make do with what you have. When my father first started out in this industry, the tools, facilities and his own knowledge were very sparse, so the production was done with minimal resources. It may have not been the ideal situation but he always got the job done.  As we developed and became a winery, our production methods have still continued to be very simple and we trust our instincts when it comes to decision making.  We feel that although we are growing, we can not lose our way of doing things, so we continue to handcraft our wines and do not employ all the technological amenities offered for wine production. In other words, we like to keep it “old school.”

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

For the safety of my employment I can’t go into a lot of detail! I will say that once, I was assembling all of the wines prior to bottling while my father was out of town on a business trip. I was working on our Zinfandel barrels when a customer asked for me  in the tasting room. I left my assistant to continue emptying the Zinfandel barrels, assuming that he would read the labels on them. I may have been gone all of 3 minutes and when I returned,  I was met with an unpleasant surprise.  Lets just say that the Zinfandel that was suppose to be dry got a little late harvest Zinfandel added to it! The mistake completely threw off my assembly! Luckily, with my dad being out of town, I had a few days to work on the wine before his return, and my mom and I decided it would be best to not let him know until the wine was already bottled. However, all’s well that ends well- after we bottled the Zinfandel, he tried it, loved it and so did the customers. That wine ended up selling out in a matter of months!

4) What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as a winemaker?

As a young winemaker that is a tough question, especially because we do not submit our wines to competitions. However, my greatest achievement as a winemaker is knowing that I have gained the trust of our family to be in charge of our production, from harvest to bottling. That, for me, is greater than any medal or recognition in the industry.  It’s a very rewarding feeling knowing that my father and mother trust me to not only make the wine but to continue our tradition of producing premium wines and trying to take our small family winery to the next level.

5) Give one piece of advice to aspiring winemakers:

My advice to aspiring winemakers is to follow your instincts. The industry has several norms and everyone has an opinion on how and why you should do certain things, but as a winemaker you have to trust your palate and believe in yourself. Also, never stop learning, and keep yourself well informed on all aspects of the operation of the winery.

5 Facts About…Wine Bottles

Friday, March 16th, 2012

This month’s “5 Facts About…” post isn’t about a varietal, but about what our favorite wines come in–the glass bottle! Although many of us may not think much about these vessels, the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association’s Enology Committee, led by Nicholas Palumbo and Jim Hart, make sure all the winegrowers in our region continue learning about every aspect of the wine making process to ensure we’re producing the best wine possible. Keeping up with changes, trends and improvements in the global glass industry is just one of the many topics discussed during their monthly Enological Roundtable, so we thought we’d share a few interesting facts about what an important role the bottle plays in the world of wine.

  1. The cavity at the base of a wine bottle helps out with aging sediment.
  2. Many wine producers are moving to make lighter bottles to help save glass.
  3. The color of wine bottles isn’t the only thing that’s green: California has one of the highest percentages of glass bottle recycling, reaching nearly 80%.
  4. All glass, including wine bottles, can be recycled endlessly without any loss in purity or quality.
  5. “Boxed wine” has gotten a bad rap, thanks to decades of the “cheap stuff” being sold in bland cardboard containers. But these days, sommeliers and wine geeks are touting the advantages of The Box as an alternative storage vessel. Eco-types love it because it’s lighter and easier to recycle, wine pros like it because the bag inside the box collapses as you drink, keeping oxygen from spoiling the rest of the wine–and we like it because you can fit several bottles worth of wine in one box! Alas, nothing beats glass for romance and aesthetic appeal, so Temecula wineries won’t be making the switch any time soon.



Wine Country Recipe: South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Coffee Rubbed Beef Brisket, Braised Red Cabbage and “Neep” Puree

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

This month’s wine country recipe is a great make-ahead meal since the brisket cooks “low and slow” until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. Since both side dishes can also be made in advance, it’s the ideal meal to put together on Sunday for a Monday night dinner that will leave your family thinking you slaved all day in the kitchen!

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Coffee Rubbed Kobe Beef Brisket, Braised Red Cabbage and “Neep” Puree

1, 2-pound beef brisket
1/2 cup instant coffee powder
2  Tablespoons of your favorite BBQ rub
¼ cup salt
1 Tablespoon pepper

Preheat oven to 200˚.
Mix coffee powder, BBQ rub, salt and pepper together and rub liberally all over the brisket. Put the meat in an oven-proof pan and roast for approximately 5 to 6 hours (the brisket should be extremely tender and just about falling apart). Let meat rest for about 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Braised Red Cabbage

1 head red cabbage
1 stick butter
1 cup red grenadine
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Cut the core of the cabbage out and shred remaining cabbage.  Heat up a large pot with 1 TBS of the butter; saute the cabbage briefly. Add the grenadine and balsamic vinegar and reduce over low heat. When the liquid is just about gone, add the remaining butter and continue to cook until butter is melted (the liquid tightens and should be like syrup). Toss to coat the cabbage. Turn off heat and season with salt and pepper.


5 medium to large turnips
½ lb Butter
Salt to taste
Pepper taste
Milk to cover half
Water to cover half

Peel and cut turnips into chunks. Add the turnips to a large pot and cover half way up with milk, then completely cover with water. Cook over medium heat until turnips are fork tender. Drain liquid, and mash with a potato masher. Stir in butter and seasoning.

Plate the brisket, cabbage and “neeps” together for a delicious meal.

Wine pairing: Any South Coast Zinfandel


  • Categories

  • Archives

View Our Winery Map