Archive for November, 2014

10 Fun Things To Do This Holiday Season

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

10 Fun Things To Do in Wine Country This Holiday Season

holiday wine

Hanging out in Temecula Valley’s wine country is always fun.  But with the holiday’s fast approaching, there’s even more reason to visit!

A bit of art, shopping, music and of course – a visit from St. Nick – are just a few things that await you this month.  We hope to see you in Wine Country!

  1. 12/03, 12/09, 12/18, 12/22 – Bottles n Brushes – A Paint Class with Wine at Mount Palomar Winery.  11-2p; $45pp
  2. 12/04-12/07 and 12/11-12/13 – Shakespeare in the Vines presents “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)”  at Baily Winery.  7pm; $25pp
  3. 12/07 –  Santa Sunday & Barrel Tree Lighting at Callaway.  Photos with Santa; cocoa for the kids and wine for the adults.  3-5pm; complimentary admission
  4. 12/10 –  Temecula Chilled, Wine Country style!  Late night shopping from 5-8pm.  Stock up on your holiday wine and gifts at: Baily Winery, Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Chapin Family Vineyards, Danza Del Sol Winery, Doffo Winery, Hart Winery, Leoness Cellars, Lorimar Winery, Lumiere Winery, Oak Mountain Winery, Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Thornton Winery and Wilson Creek Winery.
  5. 12/11 – Annual Winemaker Dinner at Leoness Cellars.  Hang out with winemaker Tim Kramer for a wine-filled evening.  6pm; $125pp
  6. 12//12 –  Wine Down Friday with Will Sumner’s smooth jazz at Cougar Winery. 5-8p; complimentary admission
  7. 12/13 –  Christmas Luncheon in the Barrel Room at Falkner Winery.  Buffet style with 8-10 wines. 12-4p; $30pp
  8. 12/16 – Menorah Lighting at Lorimar Winery.  6pm; complimentary admission
  9. 12/18 – Ugly Sweater Holiday Party at Lorimar Winery.  6pm; $1pp
  10. 12/31 –  New Years Eve Masquerade Ball at Wiens Family Cellars.  8pm; $65pp

Dream Big ~ Jim Carter, South Coast Winery

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with a Temecula Valley winery owner. You’ll learn where they came from, why they chose Temecula – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous life of a winery owner.


Jim and Dawn Carter, owners

Jim and Dawn Carter, owners

Today, we’re sitting down with Jim Carter, owner of South Coast Winery Resort and Spa, at the winery’s restaurant, Vineyard Rose. Never one to sit still for long, the energetic father of 13, grandfather to 27 and great-grandfather to 4 is a man on a mission!

South Coast Winery opened in 2001 and has grown exponentially since then, was that always part of the vision?
I knew what I wanted to build way before I started construction.  I’d visited wine regions throughout the state and knew that ultimately I wanted to have a place where people would want to come and stay amongst the vineyards. We built in phases, starting with the production side and the tasting room.  Phase 2 was the villas, phase 3 the Vineyard Rose restaurant, phase 4 the conference center and finished off with phase 5, the Grapeseed Spa. I think there was about 10 or 11 wineries when I started.  Who knew it was going to develop as quickly as it did?

But that really wasn’t what I had in mind when I bought my first Temecula vineyard property back in 1981.  I wanted to grow grapes. And I planted a lot of them beginning back in 1995 on a 400 acre piece of property that I’d purchased years before up along the east side of Mount Palomar. It’s a spectacular vineyard we named Wild Horse Peak and it produces some fabulous grapes.  My kids and I would spend weekends and summers up there digging and planting.  I just fell in love with the farming side.  The winery is the vehicle that allows me to be a grape grower.

The winery has quite an extensive menu of wines, was that also part of the plan?
We just kept planting to see which clonal varietals grew well here and we ended up liking pretty much everything we grew.  So we’re in a unique position in that we can now make a wine that suits just about anyone’s palate.  There’s a wine for everyone – and I want to make sure that visitors can discover what they love right here in our tasting room.  

So what’s next?
Carter Estate Winery and Resort.  The first phase of our family’s next adventure is set to open in January.  It’s a completely different concept from this winery.  Our production will be quite limited.  We sourced the fruit for these bottlings from some of our best vineyard blocks and have used the best barrels on the market to hand craft 4-5 different wines that we’ll be releasing under the Carter Estate label.  And we’re also really excited to announce that we’ll be showcasing some new “methode champenoise”, traditional style sparkling wines over there too.  We’re really anxious to share these small lot wines that we’ve been bottling and cellaring for awhile now.  

And we’re also breaking ground on a winery/brew pub in the Texas hill country, just outside of Austin in a town called Johnson City.  

Sounds like crazy talk to me! Do you ever sleep?  What keeps you awake at night?
I have a good life.  About the only think that keeps me awake is praying for rain! We sure need us a good rainy winter.




December Winery Events

Friday, November 21st, 2014


Holiday shopping nights, Santa visits, tree lighting events and special holiday meals; you’ll find it all in Temecula Valley Wine Country!  We raise a glass of cheer and wish you all a very happy holiday season!

Baily Vineyard & Winery

Sangiovese Saturdays at Carol’s
Saturdays in December; / 11:30a-3:00p / Live music, mulled wine, cheese fondue, 1/2 price Sangiovese

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 Meritage.  Sit down with bread and cheese plate; $30 (Reservations required 24 hours in advance) Bar Tasting; $20.  Call for reservations: 951-972-9768.

Shakespeare in the Vines presents “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)”
December 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12 and 13 / 7:00p / Seating begins at 5:30p if dining, 6:00p if just attending the show.  Dinner will be served on Friday and Saturday night performances only.  There is a matinee performance on Sunday, December 7th at 3:00p.  Dining reservations must be made through Carol’s Restaurant at 951-676-9243 / Dinner $25 per person, plus tax and gratuity.  For more information, visit www.bailywinery.com

Briar Rose Winery

Sip Into Sunset
Friday, December 5 / 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 in the main dining room.  Enjoy a three-course Prime Rib dinner for $35 per person!  Choose from soup and salad, a scrumptious Prime rib entree and finish with a house made Crème Brulee for two!  A special wine discount of 20% off Callaway wines by the bottle is available throughout the evening.  Vini Contreas performs live in the main dining room every Friday beginning at 6pm and continuing throughout the evening.  Reservations are not required.  No cover.  Cannot be combined with any other offers, including wine club member discounts.

Happiest Hours
Grab your friends and join us for a marvelous time!  Friday and Sunday from 3:00p-6:00p in the lounge at Meritage at Callaway.  20% all tapas, $2 off wine by the glass, 20% off bottles of Callaway wines and available domestic, import and craft beers.

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

Open Mic Night and Art Show
Featuring Henna tattoos and digital artwork
Thursday, December 4/ 6:00p-9:00p/ at the Lounge at Meritage at Callaway / A creative life needs to be lived out in the OPEN; heard and shared with others.  Join us for an evening of tapas, wine & creative collaboration.  Call 951-587-8889 or e-mail stefano_butto@callawaywinery.com for more information.

Santa Sunday & Barrel Tree Lighting
Sunday, December 7 / 3:00p-5:00p / Join us as we light our Barrel Tree and celebrate the holiday season.  Santa will be here to take photos with the family.  Wine tasting for the adults and hot cocoa & cookies for the children will be available; and the gift shop will be open for all to shop.  No reservations required.

Holiday Shopping Night at Callaway Winery
Wednesday, December 10 / 5:00p-8:00p / Sip and shop at Callaway during the only late night shopping night.  Mingle with friends, wine taste and shop for unique wine themed gifts!  Get recipes for holiday treats and entertaining ideas to help celebrate the holidays with ease.

Cougar Vineyard & Winery

Wine Down Friday

Open late Friday, December 12th.  With live music from 5:00p-8:00p.  Listen to Will Sumner’s smooth jazz.  Paid wine tasting until 6:00p, then wine by the glass and bottle sales for the remainder of the evening.

Europa Village

Live Music
Fridays from 5:30p-8:30p and Sundays from 1:00p-4:00p / December 5 – Dustin Jake / December 7 – James Wells / December 12 – Danielle Taylor / December 14 – Kelly Moore / December 21 – Bryan McManus/ December 28 – Jason Guffey

Falkner Winery

Holiday Party at Pinnacle Restaurant
Friday, December 12 / 6:00p/ $15 cover charge (includes a glass of wine).  Small bites, $5-$7, DJ & Dancing

Christmas Luncheon in the Barrel Room
Saturday, December 13/ 12:00p-4:00p / $30+ tax

Wine Appreciation Class
Saturday, December 20 / 10:00a-12:30 / $45 per person

Leoness Cellars

Extended Shopping Hours
Friday, December 5, 12 and 19 / 6:00p-8:00p
Enjoy extended shopping hours in our tasting room during the first three Fridays in December.  In celebrating our 10th Anniversary, we will feature special wine packages and gift item promotions during extended shopping hours.

Annual Winemaker Dinner
Thursday, December 11 / 6:00p-9:00p / $125+ tax, per person / $115+ tax, per person wine club members / Featuring The Restaurant Chef Daragh Matheson, Banquet Chef Michael Cragg and Winemaker Tim Kramer / 8-Course Wine Paired Dinner and live entertainment from musician Jason Weber.

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

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

Lorimar Winery

Epicurean Demo; Soup du Jour
Wednesday, December 3 / 4:00p-6:00p / $25+ tax, per person / $20+ tax per person, wine club / Join Chef Patrick as he takes you through an entertaining and interactive demo preparing Soup du Jour and pairing his delicious homemade soups with Lorimar wine.  Tickets available online at www.lorimarwinery.com

Menorah Lighting & Chanukah Celebration
Tuesday, December 16 / 6:00p / No cost to attend.

Ugly Sweater Holiday Party
Thursday, December 18 / 6:00p / Join Lorimar for a holiday party to remember!  Wear the ugliest sweater you can find to enter the contest for a prize!  No cost to attend.

Movie in the Vines
Monday, December 29 / 5:30p / Featuring: When Harry Met Sally  $1 Admission – Includes small bag of popcorn!  Wine Bar and Concession stand will open at 6 pm. Bring your own beach chair or blanket!

Live Music
Fridays & Saturdays 6p-9p / Sundays 2p-5p

Mount Palomar Winery

Bottles “n” Brushes Painting Class with Wine
December 3, 9, 14, 18, 22 / 11:00a-2:00p / December 14th class is from 12:30p-3:30p / $45 per person – includes a glass of wine!  (Discount given for multiple guests) / To sign up or for more information, please contact Dorothy Hawthorne at 951-302-3088 or doughawthorne@verizon.net.

Oak Mountain Winery

Live Music in the Pavilion
Every Saturday and Sunday in December / 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

“Temecula Chilled”
December 1-31st / The talented chefs at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant have put their toques together and have created this stunning appetizer for December.  Offered up as the “Temecula Chilled” appetizer for both lunch & dinner, this special is sure to please: Crab Stuffed Deviled Eggs, Chilled Poached Prawns, Sriracha Cocktail Sauce.

Marvelous Mondays
Every Monday 5:30-9:00p / Enjoy half-priced bottles of award winning selected wines with the purchase of two entrees.

Happy Hours at Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Monday-Friday 3:00p-5:30p / Join us in the Vineyard Rose Lounge for reduced priced selected appetizers, award winning select glasses of South Coast wines and local drafts.  PLUS corkage fees are waived for any South Coast Winery wine bottles brought in to the Vineyard Rose Restaurant and consumed while dining on Wednesdays too!   Visit www.WineResort.com to view menus and find out more.

Wine Down Wednesdays at Vineyard Rose Restaurant
5:30-9:30p / Fine wines, delicious food and live music between the hours of 5:30p to 9:30p. Call 951.587.9463

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.

CranBeauty at GrapeSeed Spa
Indulge in a 50 minute Cranberry Facial and protect your beautiful skin with the anti-aging properties of antioxidants.  Experience the glow of revived and rehydrated skin.  Deliciously priced, this beauty indulgence is yours for just $89 – only through December.  Call 951-587-9463 ext. 3515 to book today!

Christmas Carolers
Be sure to visit us Friday through Sunday evenings through December 21st and enjoy strolling Christmas Carolers dressed up in Vintage attire at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa.  5:30 to 9 PM. Free to public.

Temecula “Chilled” – Holiday Shopping in Wine Country
Wednesday, December 10 / 5:00p-8:00p / The gift shop at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa is extending their hours for late night holiday shopping.

Christmas Dinner at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Wednesday, December 24 and Thursday, December 25 / 5:30p-9:30p/ Reserve your place today for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the Vineyard Rose restaurant. We’ve decked our halls and our elves are ready to cater to your every need while you and yours delight in our chefs’ culinary creations designed to delight and dazzle.

“All that Glitters” New Year’s Eve Celebration at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Wednesday, December 31/ 7:00p-12:30a / Enjoy a delectable five-course dinner and bottle of award winning select South Coast Wine.  Includes a South Coast Sparkling Wine Toast and Balloon Drop at Midnight.  Just $165 per guest plus tax and gratuity.  Special room packages also available at an additional rate, based on availability.  Reservations are A MUST, so call today:  951-587-9463.



Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014


Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to reflect and give thanks to all who make our lives better by just being in them!  To all of our supportive member wineries and their staff, all of our growers, our affiliate members and our entire family of partners – and to You – our treasured guests (without whom we wouldn’t exist!), please accept our humble thanks.

If there are any out there who would give thanks to NOT have to cook, you can thank both South Coast Winery and Thornton Winery for doing it for you.  Both are accepting reservations for turkey day dinner now.  Trust me, they’re better at this than most of us!  And if you need a good nights rest after all the over-indulging, Wilson Creek Manor is offering some fantastic rates for which you’ll be truly thankful.

The day after Thanksgiving, aka, Black Friday, bring your family and friends out for a day in wine country.  All of our wineries will be open for the entire weekend – and many are offering once a year discounts on some fabulous wine for the holidays.  Special Black Friday sales events are going on at Cougar, Danza del Sol, Europa Village, Leoness, Lorimar, Oak Mountain, Ponte and Robert Renzoni wineries.  I mean, really!  Where else can you taste before you buy, but at a winery?


Wine Country Recipe ~ Turkey Breast Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Bacon

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Juicy roasted turkey with a sweet and tangy filling makes this dish the perfect Thanksgiving meal to enjoy all year round.  Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Rosé.


6 oz. goat cheese, softened
2/3 cup dried sweet cranberries
1 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
2/3 cup toasted filberts, coarsely ground in food processor
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 pound boneless turkey breast, skin on
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  In a medium sized bowl, mix together the goat cheese, cranberries, bacon, toasted filberts, thyme and rosemary until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Mix together the butter, sage and lemon zest.  Carefully lift the skin from the breasts and spread a thin layer of the seasoned butter evenly underneath the skin.  Lay the breast skin side down and season with salt and pepper.  Spread an even layer of the goat cheese mixture over the breast leaving a half-inch border around the edge of the breast.  Gently, but firmly, roll the turkey breast into a tight bundle and tie together with butcher’s twine.  Season the outside with salt and pepper.

Place the stuffed breast skin side up onto a roasting pan on lower oven rack and roast for about 20 minutes.  Turn down the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting for 45 minutes.

Remove the roasted breast from the oven and let rest in the pan for 15 minutes. Cut the twine from the roast and then carve the roast into half-inch slices.  Place desired amount on each serving plate and drizzle with pan juices.

Serves 8

Pairing Suggestions:

Callaway Vineyard & Winery – 2012 Special Selection Rosé of Sangiovese ~ A summery bouquet of rosy red fruit and flowers: strawberry, cherry, raspberry, rose petal and cherry blossom

Frangipani Estate Winery 2013 Grenache Rosé ~ Tastes of Cranberry, Strawberry, and Watermelon.

Monte De Oro Winery – 2012 Chardonnay ~ Aromas of green apple with hints of lime.

Ponte Family Estate – 2013 Chardonnay ~ Flavors of pear and pineapple, blended with the buttery and vanilla character.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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