Archive for September, 2014

Dream Big ~ Oak Mountain Winery

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they came from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Steve and Val hard hat-ting it!

Steve and Val hard hat-ting it!

Our ongoing series this month features Steve and Valerie Andrews of Oak Mountain Winery. Val’s dad and uncle were in the gourmet wine business back in the 60’s, way before it was popular. And all it took was a wine tasting trip with Val’s dad for Steve to get bit by the winemaking bug.

Why (on earth!) did you get into the wine business?
Well, we were already in love with the wine industry.  We lived on 10 acres, so we just  decided to plant it and try our hands at making some. Next thing we knew, we had three wine barrels of some pretty awesome wine and we just decided it was time to open a winery so we could actually sell all this liquid gold. That was the beginning of our home winery, Windy Ridge Cellars (now Temecula Hills Winery) in 2001.

And why Temecula?
Well, we lived here – and the climate is great for growing grapes. After several years of operating out of our home winery, we purchased the property where we now have Oak Mountain Winery.  We’ve been open since 2005.

So what’s it really like running a family owned and operated winery?
If you don’t love what you do you will never succeed in running a winery. We work seven days a week; 10-12 hours a day. But we DO love it!

What is it you MOST love?
We love the people we meet, the other winery owners and the lifestyle we live. We love the continuing education we receive at seminars – and what we learn from talking to other winemakers and owners. We love that there’s endless opportunities that the winery can offer to our guests. It allows us to be creative in our label designs, our tours and special deals, and our parties and events. We make each of them our own. For us it’s a shared interest we both love to explore.

So, on the opposite side of that, what keeps you awake at night?
There are challenges with running a small family business. The mix of all of our family’s personalities – working together every day – it’s a challenge for sure. But we like challenges! And, it makes us happy almost all of the time.

And the Caves! What does it mean to have (almost!) completed a project of this magnitude? I mean, really! How lucky are we???
The caves. A huge insightful undertaking! Two years in planning and nine months of digging. We’re still looking at about three more months to finish up all the little details. There is nothing like this in Southern California. When you get the chance to tour our caves, we promise you that you’ll feel like you’re on a mini vacation to Europe; like being sent back in time. We’re so excited and proud to have the first mined cave in Southern California. We just can’t wait for it to be finished!


Celebrating the end of the 2014 harvest season!

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

fall vineyards 2014

Sick of hot summer days? Well, you’re in luck. Astronomically speaking, anyway!

Okay, so we haven’t unpacked anything winter yet, we’re not closing our windows at night, and there’s really no crispness in the air, but autumn really is here! Autumnal Equinox, that key moment in the earth’s annual orbit, when day time and night time are equal in length, arrived on September 23rd. And “weather” we like it or not, it signals the beginning of fall.

And for us here in wine country, it signifies the end of our harvest season. Just about everything in the valley is picked, crushed, punched down and pumped over. The wines have settled down for their long winter’s nap, all snug in tank or barrel. The winemaker’s work is done. Ha! Not really, but at least now they can get a day or two off and enjoy some well-deserved rest.
hBut what do WE do? We get ready to celebrate! And make merry we will, at our upcoming Harvest Celebration on November 1 and 2, 2014. Not only commemorating the end of the harvest season, but re-tasting all those unfinished wines that were barrel sampled last year which are now bottled and ready for release.

So join us for two, fun-filled days of wine and food sampling at our 30+ member wineries. Tickets are on sale now. Don’t miss out!


October Winery Events

Thursday, September 25th, 2014


The long, exhausting days of harvest have almost come to a close and cooler days are signaling the start of fall here in Temecula Valley Wine Country. Our wineries are getting into the swing of the holiday season hosting a myriad of events such as “Haunted Wine Tours”, “Scary Movies in the Vines” and fall cooking classes. Check out our winery events calendar and plan to visit us soon!

Baily Vineyard & Winery

Sangria Saturdays at Carol’s
Saturdays in October/ 11:30a-3:00p / Live music

Dog Day Sundays
Every Sunday / 11:30a-2:30p / Bring your well-mannered pooch to lunch! Live acoustic entertainment.

Estate Club Private Wine Tasting
Thursday-Sunday / 11:00a-2:30p / Tours and vertical tasting of library Boudreaux reds. Call for reservations: 951-972-9768.

Briar Rose Winery

Sip Into Sunset
Friday, October 3 / 5:30p-9:00 / Experience amazing sunsets and live music by Buzz Campbell while enjoying fabulous food and wine. Food items available for purchase. Call 951-308-1098 to make reservations. Seating is limited.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Prime Rib Fridays
Every Friday at Meritage from 5pm-8:00pm  Enjoy a three-course Prime Rib dinner for $35 per person! Enjoy live music. Reservations are not required.

Sangria Sundays at Meritage at Callaway
Every Sunday at Meritage at Callaway from 4pm-8pm. Enjoy sipping on our very own Watermelon Sangria while soaking in the sunset vineyard views. Live music from local musicians begins at 6pm. No reservations required.

Danza del Sol Winery

Live Music On the Patio
Saturdays in October – October 4 – Vini Contreas / October 11 – StereoFlux / October 18 – Racheal Stark / October 25 – Michael SG

Food Truck Friday & DANZA de la MUERT’E Halloween Party
Friday, October 31 / $12 per Wine Club member / $15 General Public / $8 Inter-winery / Two food trucks – Devilicious & Underdogs from 5:00p-9:00p / Live Music – OFFICIAL BIZ – 9:45p / Costume contest / Must be 21 years of age.

Doffo Winery

Wine Wednesday
Every Wednesday in October / 10:00a-5:00p / Doffo Winery will be offering a “winemakers selection” red wine from our tasting room for $25 per bottle.  Buy a bottle and enjoy on our tasting room patio or buy a case at this discounted price!

Art Classes
Wednesday, October 8 / Sunday, October 26 / 11:00a-2:00p / $55 per person / $45 per person, Wine Club Members
Bring out your creative side while enjoying boutique wines!  The class is taught by one of Temecula Valley’s top art instructors.  No art experience is necessary to participate and you will leave with a lovely wine country themed painting created by you! Includes a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Falkner Winery

Sunday Concerts & BBQ
Every Sunday in October from 12:00p-3:00p. Sangria, BBQ & dancing. No reservations necessary.

Frangipani Estate Winery

Dia De Paella
Saturday, October 11 / 11:00a-5:00p / $70 per person (tickets must be ordered by October 8th). Call 951-699-8845 for tickets.
A festival day filled with eight competing restaurants in a Paella Cookout paired with Don Frangipani’s hand-selected wine varietals. Dance to the sounds of Latin music among the Tuscan views of the Estate throughout the day. Ten local vendors will provide hand-crafted clothing, jewelry, baked goods, gourmet sausage, art and more…..

Leoness Cellars

Live Music
Fridays 5:00p-8:00p in the Restaurant at Leoness
Sundays 1:00p-4:00p on the patio

Harvest Vineyard Tour and Tasting
Tour of winemaking facility and wine tasting / 90 minutes / $40 per person / RSVP at hosts@leonesscellars.com or 951-302-7601 xt. 204

Lorimar Winery

Pasta & Sauce – Epicurean Demonstration
Wednesday, October 1 / 4:00p-6:00p / $25 per person (+tax) / $20 per person (+tax), Wine Club Members)
An entertaining and interactive cooking demo preparing homemade pasta and sauce and pairing it with Lorimar Wine! Admission entitles you to tastings of all demoed food, wine pairings and a recipe card for you to take home. Purchase tickets online here, in the tasting room, by email at events@lorimarywinery.com or by phone at 951-694-6699 ext. 4

Live Music
Fridays & Saturdays 6p-9p / Sundays 2p-5p / October 3 – The Stingers / October 4 – Master Splinter and the Shredders / October 5 – Jimmy Imperial / October 10 – Bill Magee / October 11 – Oceans of Sand / October 12 – Danielle Taylor / October 17 – Guilty Conscience / October 18 – Mrs. Jones Revenge / October 19 – Mark Renk / October 24 – Kanan Road Band / October 25- Lifetime Rocker / October 26 – Michael LeClerc

Spooky Family Fun in Wine Country
Friday, October 24 / 5:00p-8:00p / Carve your own pumpkin for a chance to win some GREAT prizes! We provide the pumpkins & the tools! Costumes encouraged!

Scary Movie in the Vines
Monday, October 27 / Featuring: Your Vote!! (What is your favorite scary movie? Vote on Lorimar Winery’s Facebook page by the end of September) / $1 Admission – Includes small bag of popcorn! Wine Bar and Concession stand will open at 6 pm. Film begins at Sunset on the Barrel Room Lawn! Bring your own beach chair or blanket!

Halloween Party ~ Night of the Living Wine-O’s
Friday, October 31 / 7:00p-11:00p
Wine specials, karaoke, live music and more! $10 cover at the door (gets you a glass of Spooky Sangria). Food will be available for purchase. Dress to Thrill! Complete for best costume & wine great prizes!! See you there…..if you dare!

Oak Mountain Winery

Live Music in the Pavilion
Every Saturday and Sunday in October / 1:00p-5:00p

Oak Mountain Winery University

Bubbles 101 – We want to burst your bubble with our champagne class / Oak Mountain Winery’s Sparkling Wine Class will have you taste three of our handcrafted sparkling wines made and bottled here in Temecula. You will be served 3 of our sparkling wines paired with artisanal cheeses. Learn fun facts you always wanted to know about sparkling wines and champagne.

Blending Reds – Create, bottle and label your very own blend / In our Blending Class, you get to be the Winemaker! You will be supplied with three of Oak Mountain’s red wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, tasting notes, a measuring flask and pipette, three wine glasses for sampling your creation and a “cheat sheet” provided by our own winemaker to help you with the process. You will have the option to bottle your custom blend of wine for an additional $29. We will then pop in a cork and add a personalized label and you’ll take home wonderful memories – as well as a one-of-a-kind bottle of wine.

Wine Tasting for Dummies 101 / Our beginners class for Wine Tasters. This is a good class to take if this is your first visit to a winery and want to know the basics of wine tasting. You will taste three wines paired with delicious gourmet cheeses and dark chocolate toffee. You will also get to sample eight of our infused Avocado Oils and Balsamic Vinegars that are only available at Oak Mt. Winery.

Rhone Wine Class 201 / Our second, more advanced class after taking Wine Tasting 101 is our Rhone Wine Tasting Class 201. Learn how these grapes are grown here in the valley and how wine is made, while tasting varietals from different areas in the Rhone region of France. Just like the 101 class, you’ll get 3 wine tastings and 8 tastings of Avocado Oil and Balsamic Vinegars.

Bordeaux Wine Class 201 / You will learn how these grapes are grown and how they are harvested and processed, while tasting Oak Mountain wines from different areas in the Bordeaux region of France. Just like the 101 class, you will get 3 wine tastings and 8 tastings of Avocado Oil and Balsamic Vinegars. We recommend that you have taken our Wine Tasting 101 class prior to this course.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Wine & Dine Chef’s Table at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant
For those who truly love to dine, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s culinary team offers a front row seat into their world with a special “Chef’s Table Dinner”. The Vineyard Rose Chefs create a custom five-course menu just for you. Our expert Winemakers then pair each course with our award winning wines to heighten the dining experience to another level. Whether it’s a special celebration or an intimate affair, our Chef’s Table dinner for 2 to 8 guests will define the art of fine cuisine with a memorable evening of food and wine for only $135 per person. Call 951-491-8077 to reserve your table today.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Divas in D’Vines
We’re making football Sundays a day for the ladies. Join us every Sunday during football season from 12noon to 3pm in the Vineyard Rose Restaurant. Enjoy half priced mimosas, sangria and our signature Spumante Diamante. Reservations Recommended. Call 951-587-9463 x 2

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vintage Vantage Menu
Monday-Thursday 11:30a -3:00p / Specially priced $9.99 lunches at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant for those aged 55 and over. Call 951-587-9463 x 2 for more information or reservations.

Marvelous Mondays – Mondays just got better at South Coast Winery’s Vineyard Rose Restaurant between the hours of 5:30pm to 9pm each week. Enjoy half-priced bottles of select featured wines with the purchase of 2 entrees. Call 951.587.9463 today or visit here.

Haunted Wine Tours
Available October 25-31 /4:00p / $50 per person / Space is limited to 24 guests per tour.  Reservations are required by calling 951-587-9463. /  Enjoy a behind the scenes Wine Tour with a spooky twist.  Get up close and personal with the “ghouls and goblins” of harvests past.  Our winemakers have gone mad, and this walking tour starts out in the vineyards, then proceeds into the haunted halls of the winery; however, one never knows who or what will appear before you to serve up the wines and just how it will be delivered. The tour concludes in the winery’s cellar for more haunted happenings and a chilling wine-FLIGHT and light-BITE pairing.

Wilson Creek Winery

Live entertainment
12:00p-4:00p / October 4 – JD Priest / October 5 – Mark Norris / October 11 – Smoothie Jones / October 12 – Buzz Campbell / October 18 – Vini Contreras / October 19 – Michael Le Clerc / October 25- JD Priest / October 26 – Astra Kelly

Sip, Savor & Stomp – Harvest Celebration
Friday, October 3 / 6:00p-9:00p / $90 per person / $70 per person, Wine Club / $80 per person, Friends of Wine Club / Enjoy a hayride and shuttle to and from Merlot Mesa where you will wine and unwind among the lush Merlot vines during a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. Following the gathering, we will be grape stomping, savoring a farm fresh harvest buffet dinner and enjoying live music. Pick your date but don’t delay. Reservations are limited. Purchase your tickets here

Sip, Savor & Stomp – Harvest Celebration
Friday, October 24 / 6:00p-9:00p / $90 per person / $70 per person, Wine Club / $80 per person, Friends of Wine Club / Enjoy a hayride and shuttle to and from Merlot Mesa where you will wine and unwind among the lush Merlot vines during a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception. Following the gathering, we will be grape stomping, savoring a farm fresh harvest buffet dinner and enjoying live music. Pick your date but don’t delay. Reservations are limited. Purchase your tickets here


Wine Country Recipe: Open-Faced Avocado Sandwiches with Arugula Pesto and Crisp Cucumber

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

CA Open-Faced Avocado Sandwich(c)Wine Institute & M.Armendariz

The mellow, nutty flavor of avocado contrasts deliciously with the peppery snap of arugula and cool cucumber on this rustic, open-faced sandwich. Serve with your favorite dry Temecula Valley Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.


2 cups arugula leaves
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated Dry Jack* cheese or other hard aged cheese
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 slices French bread, lightly toasted
2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into small cubes
1 English cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 piece (about 2 ounces) Dry Jack cheese, for shaving

*Dry Jack refers to the aged version of this classic California cheese.


Place the arugula, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cheese, nuts and salt into a food processor and process for ten seconds. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and process again for ten seconds. For each serving, place two pieces of toasted bread on a plate. Spread pesto generously on each slice. Cover pesto with a layer of cucumber slices and top with avocado cubes. Use a vegetable peeler to shave desired amount of Dry Jack cheese over the tops.  Serves 4.

Pair with:

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – Aromas of pineapple and lemon. Flavors of passion fruit and papaya.

Hart Winery ~ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – Citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish.

Falkner Winery ~ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc – Wonderful citrus flavors of lemon and white grapefruit.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2012 Grenache Rose – Chic and stylish with peach, strawberry and tangerine notes, hints of sweet rose petals. Complex, vivacious and noble.

Recipe adapted from the Wine Institute’s recipe book:  Down to Earth: A Seasonal Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in California



Temecula Valley Eateries Strut Their Stuff at CRUSH 2014

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

We know you’ve got a crush on Temecula Valley wines, but how about all the good eats that are available in and around our wine country?

Wiens outside

Guests to the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association’s 5th Annual CRUSH – A Wine and Culinary Extravaganza – held at Wiens Family Cellars this coming Saturday, September 13, 2014, will be able to partake in some fabulous foods to accompany a tasting of almost 100 award-winning Temecula Valley wines.

Do classic Chicken Caprese sandwiches sound yummy? Sangio’s Deli at Cougar Winery will be serving them! How about Tuscan Braised Chicken Osso Bucco from Vineyard Rose at South Coast Winery? Bruschetta Murrieta from The Mill in Murrieta? Or how about some Shrimp and Grits from the folks at Cork Fire Kitchen at Temecula Creek Inn?

Heart of House Catering is serving up Prime Rib, La Bella Vita is offering a trio of goodies and Temecula Olive Oil Company will be offering a lovely array of oils and vinegars. Baily’s Old Town is serving open-face Sloppy Joe’s, Meritage at Callaway has a duo of Chicken Pate and Veal Truffle Sausage. The Pinnacle at Falkner is serving their famous Mediterranean Orzo Pasta with Grilled Octopus, MDO Bistro’s offering is Pulled Pork Tacos and Temecula Catering has prepared a Smoked Salmon Mousse in Squid Ink.

Bushfire Grill and Crow’s Pass Farms will be firing up their grills – and for dessert, there’s a “hole” lotta yum from Nothing Bundt Cakes, fabulous sorbets from Nice, Ice, Baby! and a sweet surprise that includes Cinsault Port from the Restaurant at Leoness.

Our host winery, Wiens Family Cellars is pairing their wines with Vineyard Gourmet Catering, who is serving up a couple of winery favorites: a Smoked Salmon Roulade and Prime Flank Steak with Potato and Peppers.

Come join in on the fun! Limited tickets are still available.

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