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Archive for December, 2014

Dream Big ~ Rosie and Gerry Wilson, Wilson Creek Winery

Friday, December 19th, 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.

gerry_rosie_wilson

When the motivating factor for starting a winery was “togetherness”, you must know that we’re talking to Gerry and Rosie Wilson, owners of Wilson Creek Winery!

 So, how did this all start?
Our family had spread out, Bill was working in San Diego, Mick was in Sacramento and Libby was in Solvang.  We were trying to figure out where to retire to when Bill came up with the idea of starting up a small family business where we could all come together to live and work as a family.  We thought it sounded fun; our friends thought we were nuts! But we came together as a family, scraped up every dime we could find and each chipped in what we could to make it happen.  And it’s been a blessing since day one.

Why Temecula?
For us, it was – and is – all about the lifestyle.  We’d visited Temecula many, many times over the years as a weekend golf getaway from our Pasadena home and we’d always loved the area. Where else do you get to wake up to balloons flying overhead and go to sleep with hundreds of stars in the sky?  Or walk down from our home with our dogs to go to work each day?  And I can’t think of any place on earth where a call for a “sunset alert” is a common occurrence.

What keeps you going?
In the beginning, it was a LOT of work.  We did as much of the manual labor as possible ourselves.  We dug the ditches for pipes, ran wires for the electrical, planted trees and roses and anything else we could to save money.  Thank goodness we were all younger then!  We used to laugh and say we all worked half days; which 12 hour shift we worked was up to us!  But we were committed to support four families – and we did.  We ate lots of peanut butter sandwiches back then, but they taste great with wine.

Wilson Creek Winery is known for its philanthropic efforts throughout the valley, why is that so important to you and your family?
We really never really thought about it in the beginning, that’s just the way we’ve always been.  When you don’t have a lot of money, but you have a product that people love, it’s a great fit.  We could always go and pour wine and in doing so, it really helped us to build our brand.  We believe that when you give, what you get in return comes in spades. And now that we have such a beautiful place, it would be a shame not to share it when we can with those in need.

It seems that “niceness” around here starts at the top…
We’re just so darn lucky!  We have a wonderful team of people working with us that we just love.  From our winemaker to our vineyard manager and from our chef and restaurant staff to our tasting room staff; they’re all just such a pleasure to be around every day.  We consider ourselves one big, happy family.

 

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January Winery Events

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

January Events 2015

It’s the start of another new year (again) and if you haven’t visited Temecula Valley Wine Country lately, now’s the time!  There’s never a dull moment in wine country, and this time of year is no exception.  Check out the wine country calendar of events and make plans to visit us soon!

Baily Vineyard & Winery

Sangiovese Saturdays at Carol’s
Saturdays in January; / 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 Cabernet Franc.  Sit down with bread and cheese plate; $30 (Reservations required 24 hours in advance) / Bar Tasting; $20.  Call for reservations: 951-972-9768.

“Inventory Reduction Sale”
Entire month of January / A sale on all current vintages to make room for the 2014 whites and rose and the 2011 reds.  Visit or call the winery for details.

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 at Meritage at Callaway
Thursday, January 8 / 6:00p-9:00p / 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. We will provide the stage, you provide your words, your unique sound and your talent. Come early to sign up.  Call (951) 587-8889 or email stefano_butto@callawaywinery.com for more information.

Europa Village

Live Music
Fridays from 5:30p-8:30p and Sundays from 1:00p-4:00p / January 2 – Radical Pie / January 4 – Mark Norris / January 9 – Dustin Jake / January 11 – Jimmy Patton / January 16  – James Wells / January 18- Dustin Jake / January 23 – Bryan McManus / January 25 – Joe Baldino / January 30 – Two Fish

Murder Mystery Dinner – “And, The Murder Goes To….”
Saturday, January 24 / 6:30p-9:00p / $70 per person / Societe Members $63 per person / Purchase tickets at www.europavillage.com

Murder Mystery Dinner – “And, The Murder Goes To….”
Sunday, January 25 / 6:30p-9:00p / $70 per person / Societe Members $63 per person / Purchase tickets at www.europavillage.com

Falkner Winery

Wine Appreciation Class
Saturday, January 17 / 10:00a-12:30p / $45 per person

Frangipani Estate Winery

9th Year Anniversary Celebration
Saturday, January 10 / 1:00p-5:00p / Wine specials throughout the day.  Special wine cocktails.

Lorimar Winery

Live Music

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

Mount Palomar Winery

Bottles “n” Brushes Painting Class with Wine
January 7, 22, 24 / 11:00a-2:00p / January 24th class is from 12:00p-3:00p / $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

9th Anniversary Party
Saturday, January 17 / 6:00p-9:00p / Come join us to celebrate our 9th anniversary party for Oak Mountain Winery.  Dinner, wine and live music by Rhandi & Associates.  Call 951-699-9102 for more details.

Live Music in the Pavilion
Every Saturday and Sunday in January / 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.

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 Wednesdays at Vineyard Rose Restaurant
6:00p-9:00p / Wednesday nights just got even better at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant as award winning pianist, Blessie Isaac-Hopkins, takes the helm behind our elegant grand piano.  This world traveler and life-long student of music has performed internationally over the course of her career at many high-end hotels and resorts, including the Peninsula, Regent, Westin, Hilton and Shangri-la Hotel and now you can enjoy her music at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Reserve today for an unforgettable Wednesday evening with fine wines, delicious food and live music between the hours of 6:30p to 9:00p. Call 951.587.9463

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Touchdown Sundays
We’re making football Sundays a day for the ladies. Join us every Sunday during football season from 12 noon 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.

Behind the Scenes Wine Tours
Tours are held daily at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3PM, Monday through Sunday. Due to the limited sizes of each tour, advance reservations are required with prepayment, and are non-refundable. Must be over 21 years of age to attend.   Call 800-539-1375 Ext. 350 to reserve your spot today.

Festival of Wines
January 18-24 / A whole week dedicated to tantalize your senses!  We’ve tasked each of our resort’s departments to create a special celebration dedicated to the Art of Wine!  Come out any day of the week to enjoy all that we have to offer!  Visit www.wineresort.com or call 800.539.1375 for more information.

Thornton Winery

Thornton Winery’s Chef’s Counter Dinner
Friday, January 30 / 7:00p / A one of a kind dining experience! An interactive Chef’s table in a private kitchen, where you will dine one-on-one while the chef prepares your five course meal right in front of you. Seating is limited to 10.  Reservations are required by calling 951-699-0099.

 

 

 

 

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California Restaurant Month, Temecula Wine Country Style!

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

California Restaurant Month – Splurge, Savor and Save

CA Restaurant Month

Outdoor cafes and bistros, ultra-fresh ingredients, innovative chefs—sample the best of Temecula Valley wine country’s incredible culinary scene throughout January during California Restaurant Month.  Enjoy unforgettable dining experiences at several of our winery restaurants where you’ll find incredible pre-fixe and specialty menu items all month long.

Taste the Place we call home by mentioning California Restaurant Month at any of the below winery restaurants to receive special discounts!

Meritage at Callaway Vineyard & Winery
32720 Rancho California Road
www.CallawayWinery.com

Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery
33440 La Serena Way
www.BailyWinery.com

Pinnacle Restaurant at Falkner Winery
40620 Calle Contento
www.FalknerWinery.com

Monte De Oro Winery
35820 Rancho California Road
www.MonteDeOro.com

Mount Palomar Winery
33820 Rancho California Road
www.MountPalomar.com

Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
34843 Rancho California Road
www.SouthCoastWinery.com

Thornton Winery
32575 Rancho California Road
www.ThorntonWine.com

Creekside Grill – Wilson Creek Winery
35960 Rancho California Road
www.WilsonCreekWinery.com

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Wine For The Holidays

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

holiday table
Grandma’s stuffing, Aunt Susie’s cranberry sauce and your sister’s sweet potatoes.  Menu: done!  But what about the wine?  Choosing a bottle (or two!) of wine to bring to the holiday table can be tricky.  Appealing to not only your menu, but to a cross-section of practiced palates and novice wine drinkers may seem challenging.  But don’t stress out over one of the simplest tasks of the holiday season. Make it simple.  Any wine you enjoy is a good wine!

One certainly doesn’t need to look to others to rate, score or direct you to make a particular wine choice.  Bring a wine you’re familiar with to the table.  Chances are it’ll be just fine – and maybe even sublime!

First and foremost, don’t worry about pairing with the herbaceous, the tart or the sweet accompaniments to your turkey, ham or prime rib.  It’s much simpler to match the wine to the main protein dish.  Here’s a few tried and true varietal selections for some classic holiday main dishes:

Wines to Serve with Ham
Ham just begs for a something lightly sweet.  Look for wines with a touch of residual sugar like a Baily Vineyard & Winery Riesling or a Maurice Car’rie Winery Gewurztraminer.  Both are lighter in style, a bit lower in alcohol and still offer plenty of food-friendly acidity and crowd-pleasing palate appeal.  If you’re looking for an easy to pair red, go for a lighter style like Tempranillo.  Great examples can be found at both Miramonte Winery and at Danza del Sol Winery.

Wines to Serve with Turkey
Although an array of whites work perfectly well, Sauvignon Blanc is an all-time, hands-down favorite pick that holds up well to turkey – and all it’s side dishes. Temecula Valley provides the perfect playground for growing this varietal, so you’ll find many great examples of it here.  Beautifully aromatic offerings from the musqué clone can be found at Hart Winery and at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Soft red varietals like Syrah also make suitable partners; you can find some fabulous ones at Falkner Winery and Leoness Cellars.

Wines to Serve with Prime Rib
White wines will have a hard time keeping up with the likes of Prime Rib, but there are so many reds to choose from that make impressive cohorts, you’re sure to find one you’ll all enjoy.  Choose an affable Cabernet Sauvignon from Callaway Vineyard & Winery, a food friendly Italian varietal like Montepulciano or Sangiovese from Cougar Vineyard & Winery or an amazing Super Tuscan blend, Due Rossi, from Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery.

Happy Holidays!

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Wild Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Wild Mushroom Soup

There’s nothing better than a hot bowl of soup on a chilly winter evening.  This hearty, earthy, woodsy, robust soup is a meal in itself.  Serve with your favorite Temecula Valley wine.

Ingredients:

For the soup:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
3 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
1 cup thinly sliced trumpet mushrooms (caps and stems)
1 cup bite-sized pieces of chanterelle, porcini or oyster mushrooms
1 cup thinly sliced shitake mushrooms (caps only)
4 cups beef stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
salt and ground black pepper

For the croutons:

4 cups bite-sized cubes of rustic bread
1/4 cup  finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

For the soup:
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot, over medium-high heat, until the butter begins to sizzle.  Add the shallots and garlic.  Cook for 1 minute until the garlic is slightly browned.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until tender.  Add the beef stock and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cream and bring to a simmer again.  Stir in the flour mixture and simmer for 3 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve the soup hot, topped with croutons.

For the croutons:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Put the bread, Parmesan and thyme in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss until combined.  Spread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for ten minutes.

Serves 4 to 6

Suggested Pairings:

Bel Vino Winery ~ 2010 Merlot – Medium to dark color presents aromas of cloves, cassis, with dark and jammy fruits.

Longshadow Ranch Winery ~ Merlot (unfiltered) – An extraordinary red the way it was meant to be.  Gorgeous and full of life with a fruit forward finish.

Mount Palomar Winery ~ 2011 Merlot – Scents of daisy, cocoa, cherry and prominent tastes of plum and black pepper.

Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2011 Merlot – Soft nose, with flavors of raspberry, blackberry, and plum with abundant smoky oak.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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