Archive for November, 2012

5 Fun Facts About… Riesling

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

You can taste the world in Riesling, from Germany to Australia, from New York State to Oregon to Southern California. “Riesling is a fascinating grape not only because it can provide such a broad range of wine styles to enjoy, but also because it allows wine-lovers to compare terroir and winemaking from around the globe.” – Gregory dal Piaz, wine writer.

Riesling grape cluster at Falkner Winery


Here are five facts about this beloved white wine: 

Facts courtesy of Wikipedia & Snooth
    1. A white grape originating in Germany’s Rhineland, Riesling’s origins date back to 1435, when a German count bought six wine vines – making it the first documented varietal sale.
    2. Considered one of the very best food-pairing wines, Riesling goes with a variety of dishes depending upon the level of sweetness and acidity.  It’s also famous for cooling off the palate during a spicy meal.
    3. Riesling is especially well-known for its ability to show a sense of place. Many areas in the old and new world have the climate and soil capable of producing complex Rieslings – like Austria, northern Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Finger Lakes, Washington State and Temecula, California.
    4. Seldom oaked, Riesling grapes can be used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines. Riesling makes excellent dessert wines and is typically thought of in the US as a sweeter white wine. But that there are many “dry Rieslings” that are in fact very crisp and food-friendly, similar in body and style to a light, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc.
    5. The characteristics of quality Riesling are reminiscent of peaches or, when young, apples. It has a unique acidity, minerality, and fruit flavor with aromas of wet stones, smoke or even petroleum (a highly prized note in aged Riesling).
    6. Bonus! Riesling has universally low alcohol content.


Check out these delicious Temecula Riesling selections for your holiday table!

“Everyone should have at least one thrilling… riesling in their festive wine rack… off-dry rieslings… are perfect festive food wines.” December 2011, Jane MacQuitty, Thetimes.co.uk (UK)


credit: flicker/curtiskastner



Holiday December Events in Temecula Valley Wine Country

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Make a quick escape to Temecula Valley and experience the holidays in Southern California’s wine country! Choose from an unbelievable amount of affordable and festive events, exclusive New Year’s Eve parties, winemaker dinners and December wine classes at our 35 charming wineries and wine country restaurants.  Eat, drink, and be merry in Temecula Valley!

See below for the full December events schedule! 

credit: trulia.com


Baily Winery

“Dog Day Sundays” at Carol’s Restaurant

Sundays in December


Bring your well mannered pooches for lunch on the patio in wine country. Live music, doggie menu, doggie treats.

For reservations, call (951) 676-9243


Early New Year’s Party

Monday, December 31


Dine in the beautiful Bacchus Hall and dance to the music of Fandango.  Four course dinner includes complimentary glass of champagne.

$40 per person, plus tax and gratuity

Limited seating.  Reservations required by calling (951) 676-9243


Bel Vino Winery

2nd Annual Jingle & Mingle

December 15, 6:00p-9:00p

Festive Decor, Live Entertainment, Heavy Tray Passed Appetizers, 3 glasses of wine, and 1 raffle ticket

$30 (Wine Club Price)

$35 (Non-Wine Club Price)

(Not inclusive of tax and gratuity) RSVP to Vanessa@belvinowinery.com or 951-676-6414


Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Santa Sunday

Sunday, December 2


Join us as we light out Barrel Tree and celebrate the holiday season.  Santa will be here to take photos with the family!  Wine tasting, hot cocoa, cookies and popcorn will be available, and the gifts shop will be open for all to shop. No reservations required.  We just want to see you and wish you a happy holiday season!


Eat, Drink & Be MERRY

Thursday, December 6


$20 per person

$18 per person, Wine Club

Have you ever wanted to host a wine tasting party for the holidays?  It can be super simple and fun!  Come and see how we do it and use our ideas to throw your own party!  Enjoy appetizers and wine plus great gift ideas for entertaining, while shopping for holiday gifts during this “after hours” event.  Fun, festive recipes and presentation tips will be provided.  Each guest will receive $10 worth of “Be Merry Money” to use toward purchased of stocking stuffers, clothing, cookbooks, gourmet food products, ornaments, jewelry, wine and much more.

Call (951) 676-4001 to reserve your spot today!


Canned Food Drive

December 1-31

During the entire month of December, bring in a canned food item(s) for our local food pantry, the Temecula Rescue Mission and receive a coupon for 15% off of your wine purchases.  Together, we can help make this holiday season brighter for our local community.


Chapin Family Vineyards
Temecula’s newest winery plans to have the entry palms decorated in white Christmas lights with staircase and balcony decorated in full Christmas regalia. There will be two live trees inside the tasting room for our wine club members to participate in decorating with personalized messages on ornaments signed by them as we kick off the season with our wine club pick up party on Dec. 1, 2012.


Cougar Vineyard & Winery

 “Sip & Shop”

Friday, December 14 & 21


Relax and un-wine-d with a glass of wine while you shop for Christmas gifts

Receive the “Black Friday” wine deals plus 5% off of any clothing purchases

Live holiday music and wine by the glass available for purchase

(No tastings offered after 6 PM.)


Falkner Winery

Wine Appreciation Class

Saturday, December 8


This very educational, fun and “hands-on” class is all encompassing and conducted by our Assistant Winemaker and in-house sommelier, George Myers.  Includes lunch.

$65 per person

$60 per person, Wine Club

Limited class sizes. Adults 21 years and over only.

Reservations required by calling (951) 676-8231 xt. 109


Keyways Vineyard & Winery


Please join us for this Spectacular Month-Long Celebration of the Holidays that includes more than 100,000 Eco-Friendly Twinkly Lights. The Nightly show begins at Dusk.  Holiday Hours are Mon-Wed 11-6pm Thurs-Fri 11-7:30pm Sat-Sun 10-7:30pm


December 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd– HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES    $5

Every Saturday until Christmas from 4-6pm

Let the Beauty and Splendor of Temecula Carriage Company’s team of Percheron Draft Horses Guide you through the Vineyards. Bring the Family and enjoy our Award Winning Wines, or try our Holiday Mulled Wine, Coffee  or Hot Cocoa. Unique gifts, Gourmet Cheese and Artisan Breads.


December 1st,2nd,8th, 9th, 15th , 16th, 22nd– Sat 7:30pm Sun 3:00pm         $10


Beloved Classic about Six Very Unruly Children.  No one is Prepared when this Outlaw Family invades Church one Sunday and decides to take over the Annual Christmas Pageant.


December 14th– Keyways Kasual Karaoke Khristmas Benefiting the Children of Rancho Damacitas       6-9PM

Come share an evening of fun and laughs as we watch our Keyways Friends and Family Sing Delightful and Dreadful Renditions of our Favorite Songs!  So get out your Ugly Sweater or Krazy Khristmas Hat and and enjoy our Award Winning Wines  and Light Appetizers. Wine Specials and Prize for Best song of the Evening! Please Bring a Gift to Share the JOY of Christmas to one of the Children at Rancho Damacitas.   Admission FREE


December 15th– Dickens Victorian Christmas Fair   Saturday 11-5pm

This event will feature over 40 Unique Vendors and hourly performances: Holly Berry Choir, Candy Cane Choir, Guitarist Vince Mendoza and his classically trained students. Pianists Christmas Ensemble performing Contemporary & Classical Christmas Arrangements, Story Time with Santa and Elves. The day long event concludes with the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony with a Victorian Santa Claus and dance performance escorted by Temecula Carriage Company.  All Day Passport $10


Longshadow Ranch Winery

Sleigh bell carriage rides in the vines!
Sundays in December through December 23
Longshadow Ranch Winery is your Country Christmas! Beautiful lights, wreaths, trees and sleigh bell carriage rides thru the vineyards. Yeehaw!  Call (951) 587-6221 for more info.


Lorimar Winery

Every Friday in December

Complimentary live music

5:00p – 8:00p

Specials on “Mulled Wine”


Menorah Lighting Ceremony & Celebration

Saturday, December 8


Latkes, Jelly donuts and dreidles to be enjoyed by all


Gingerbread House Competition

Friday, December 14


We will be hosting a gingerbread house making contest. we will provide the kits just need the architects. All ages event.


“Lorimar Ugly Sweater Party”

Thursday, December 20


Live music, DJ, Karaoke and mulled wine bar with photo booth and catered food. (lots of mistletoe) Open to public 21 and over.


Holiday Clearance Event

Wednesday, December 26


Specials on holiday merchandise and wine to make room for the New Year!


Mount Palomar

“The Charlie Brown Christmas”

December 21, 5-8pm

3 Piece Jazz show playing music from the movie (Charlie Brown Christmas & other holiday favorites) Also, playing the movie on a screen in the background.

Live Music, Food, Wine & Beer

RSVP online @ http://www.mountpalomar.com/Events/Wine–Unwind-Friday-Nights


Oak Mountain

Holiday lights will be up by the 14th of November as well as our two Christmas trees. We will have extended holiday hours on Saturday November 10th and 17th with vendors, live music and food from 5-8pm.


Ponte Winery

New Year’s Eve dinner at The Restaurant at Ponte

Monday, December 31st, 5:00-8:00pm: Enjoy a special menu (attached) in the barrel room. Dinner is by reservation only, please call 951-252-1770 to make your reservation.

For those wanting to spend the night, we invite guests to book at room at Ponte Vineyard Inn and enjoy a complimentary bottle of Moscato, exclusive access to The Cellar Lounge, a midnight toast and a late check-out. Please note that The Cellar Lounge will not be open to any non-hotel guests that night.

For those wishing for a late-night celebration within walking distance, Ponte invites diners to head next door after dinner at Ponte to Wiens Family Cellars for the 1920’s Speakeasy NYE Celebration! Click here to purchase tickets.


South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

“The World’s Greatest Horse Drawn Carriage Ride Ever” 


It’s over the meadows and through the vineyards with this excursion.  But we’re not going to grandmother’s house though.  We’re going wine tasting.  South Coast Winery has teamed up with the Temecula Carriage Company to deliver for you “The World’s Greatest Horse Drawn Carriage Ride Ever.”  Follow the sounds of the jingle bells to discover the team of highly decorated horses, then climb aboard the vintage style trolley, decked out in its holiday splendor for a ride through the vineyards of a lifetime.  Available daily in limited supply. Advance reservations recommended.  Call (951) 587-9463 for more information and for reservations.


Christmas Dinner at Vineyard Rose Restaurant

Monday, December 24 & Tuesday, December 25


For reservations, call (866) 994-6379 X7237


Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve Extravaganza

Monday, December 31

Vineyard Rose Fire & Ice Dinner

Seating from 6:00p-9:30p

$150 per person

Four course fixed menu, musical entertainment by the Gayle St. Gregory 5-piece band, party favors and a bottle of wine.

Must be 21 years or older

Call (951) 587-9463 Ext 1 or visit us online here for reservations.  Be sure to ask about our all inclusive overnight stay packages.  These packages sell out each year so reserve early!


Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve Party & Balloon Drop

Monday, December 31


$75 per person

Ticket price includes hors d’oeuvres, party favors, bottle of wine and champagne toast.  Enjoy dancing to the music mix of DJ Dillenger.

Must be 21 years or older.

Call 951.587.9463 Ext 1 or visit us online here for reservations. Be sure to ask about our all-inclusive overnight stay packages.  These packages sell out each year so reserve early!

Thornton Winery

Christmas Dinner at Cafe Champagne
Tuesday, Dec 25

For reservations, call 951-699-0099


Wiens Family Cellars

1920’s Speakeasy NYE Celebration!

Monday, December 31st, 2012. 8pm – 1am

Click here to purchase tickets.


Wilson Creek Winery

Jet-Setting Rockin’ New Years Eve Celebration

Monday, December 31

7:00p to 12:30a

$160 per person, plus gratuity and tax

$146 per person, plus gratuity and tax, Wine Club

Reservations: 951.699.9463

Grab your passport and celebrate this New Year’s Eve on a journey around the world! As your surroundings transform, you will begin with a midnight toast in Australia, then London, next Egypt and back to New York in time for the ball drop and the final New Year’s toast to welcome in 2013, all without boarding a plane!  During your globetrotting evening enjoy a 4-course dinner, a hosted wine and champagne bar pouring only the finest, and groove to the electric, funky, soul sounds of Sibling Rivalry.


credit: fingerlakes travel guide

 Wishing all of you a safe and happy holiday season!




Winery Spotlight: Get to Know… Maurice Car’rie and Van Roekel Wineries

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

The Story

Most folks familiar with Temecula Valley have visited the Maurice Car’rie and Van Roekel wineries, nestled amidst the rolling hills of Southern California’s wine country. The winery was founded in 1986 and designed in the style of a Victorian farmhouse. The 46 acres of vineyards were among the first established in the region back in 1968.

Owner Maurice Van Roekel, along with Winemaker Gus Vizgirda, handcraft 14 different varietals and focus on wines that are ready to drink at a fairly early age. Over the years, the two wineries have garnered hundreds of awards and accolades in prestigious competitions in California and beyond. The Maurice Car’rie tasting room is a great gathering place to relax and catch up with friends.  Both wineries offer a warm and friendly atmosphere filled with a wide array of charming wine gifts available for purchase.



The Maurice Car’rie winery estate is well-known in Temecula Valley Wine Country for its lovely picnic grounds and famous Baked Brie & Sourdough Bread (baked on weekends only and available unbaked every day.) Pair it with a signature bottle of Maurice Car’rie California Champagne and you’ve got a yourself a party, al fresco style.

The Wines

Gus Vizgirda is the longtime winemaker for both Maurice Car’rie and Van Roekel Winery. (For a special interview with Gus, click here!)

If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, then Maurice Car’rie and Van Roekel wineries are your one-stop shop.  Their flavored sparklers are very popular with wine-lovers of all ages – raspberry, peach, pomegranate, and pineapple top the list. Wine lovers searching for more traditional varietals won’t be disappointed as favorites such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Moscato, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc are also available. Shop for wine online here.


Interested in joining their wine club? See below for the December wine club schedule:

 Wine Club December Selections

Maurice Car’rie Winemaker’s:
1 – Pomegranate Sparkling Wine
2 – Chardonnay
3 – Heather’s Mist
Maurice Car’rie Reds:
1 – Merlot
2 – Cody’s Crush
3 – Port
Maurice Car’rie Whites:
1 – Pineapple Sparkling Wine
2 – Chenin Blanc
3 – Chardonnay
Van Roekel Winemaker’s:
1 – Gewurztraminer
2 – Peach Sparkling Wine
3 – Raspberry Sparkling Wine
Van Roekel Reds:
1 – Grenache
2 – Merlot
3 – Zinfandel
Van Roekel Whites:
1 – Gewurztraminer
2 – Viognier
3 – Pinot Gris

Winery Events – Maurice Car’rie Arts and Crafts Fair

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard and Winery offers a charming arts and crafts fair every Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. Located on the front picnic grounds, craft vendors sell handmade wares like jewelry, paintings, and ceramics every week, along with fun fashion items like great handbags and designer-style sunglasses. Folks love to spend their Saturday or Sunday browsing at the fair and at the extensive gift shop, followed by a bottle of great wine with a fresh picnic lunch from Maurice’s Kitchen.


 Wine Tasting

Maurice Car’rie and Van Roekel are open for wine tasting every day from 10am to 5pm. They are closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Wine bar tastings are $10 for five tastes and a logo wine glass; champagne/sparkling wine tastings are $10 for four tastes and a logo champagne flute.

For $18 you can purchase a Dual Pass which gives you the Wine Bar Tastings (5 at Maurice Car’rie and 5 at Van Roekel) or the Champagne Tastings (4 at Maurice Car’rie and 4 at Van Roekel) at both Maurice Car’rie and Van Roekel. What a deal!

Maurice’s Kitchen is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11-4.


Maurice Car’rie
34225 Rancho California Rd. | Temecula, CA 92591
Tel 951-676-1711 | Fax 951-676-8397
Get Directions | www.mauricecarriewinery.com

Van Roekel Winery
34567 Rancho California Rd. | Temecula, CA 92591
Tel 951-699-6961 | Fax 951-676-8397
Get Directions | www.vanroekelwinery.com



Wine Country Recipe: Mulled Wine, Courtesy of Ponte Family Estate Winery

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Blog post courtesy of Ponte Family Estate Winery in Temecula Valley.

Mulled wine, with its sweet scent of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, is a festive way to celebrate the holiday season. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “mulled wine” is just a simple combination of red wine with a variety of spices, most commonly the ones listed above.

This warm and spicy drink is popular worldwide and versions of it can be found in many countries. Scandanavia’s  Glogg contains cardamom, ginger and bitter orange. The French call their mulled wine vin chaud, which features lemon, while Romanians add apples to their vin fiert. In Bulgaria, greyano vino is seasoned with peppercorns while South Brazil’s vinho quente gets its extra kick from the addition of cachaça. As you can see, the combination of warm, red wine and spices, fruit or herbs is a tradition all over the world.

A modern American take on a mulling spice mix could include cinnamon, cloves, allspice berries and orange rind.

To make it, simmer 4 cups of red wine (whatever kind you like; I used Cabernet Sauvignon), 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of the mulling spices for about 20 minutes. Remove the spices and serve.

You can serve mulled wine in wine glasses, Irish coffee glasses, even coffee mugs, and you can garnish with all kinds of things, such as cinnamon sticks, orange or lemon wheels, apple slices, even mini candy canes. And for you Californians who are still battling the heat, there is an option for you, too: just chill the finished wine and serve over ice.

For more great food and wine recipes from Temecula Valley wine country, visit Ponte’s blog.

A toast to the holidays from Temecula Valley Wine Country!



Reminder: Temecula Restaurants Need Your Vote Before November 30!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Do you love Temecula winery restaurants?

Then vote for them now!


Several Temecula wineries have been nominated in the People’s Voice: Epicurean Awards on the popular online wine magazine, Snooth.com!

Now through November 30, you have the chance to vote on your favorite food and wine pairings in eight great categories.

Each vote enters you in a drawing to win a $1200 set of gourmet cookware!

All you have to do is click here to vote for all the categories.

Nominated Temecula Wineries:


And don’t forget to share the the link to your voting page with your friends! http://snth.me/XW34ey

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