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Doffo Winery Takes Top Prize!

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV), in coordination with Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA), recently announced the winners of the second annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting. The event took place on Sunday, November 12, 2017, at Leoness Cellars, and featured a walk-around blind tasting, a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich and a 6-course awards dinner paired with last year’s winning wines.

Doffo Winery’s 2015 Zinfandel took first place in the competition, after taking second place to Wilson Creek’s Petite Sirah at last year’s inaugural event. The 2017 second place winner was Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Syrah, and third place was taken by Thornton Winery’s 2014 Estate Syrah.

“We are beyond thrilled with receiving 1st Place in the People’s Choice competition,” said Damian Doffo, CEO and Winemaker for Doffo Winery. “We work very hard in the vineyard to produce high quality fruit and make exceptional wine. We look forward to sharing our wine with the public in February.”

Over 200 guests tasted 29 wines (6 whites and 23 reds) without knowing any of the wines’ identities, and rated them on a scale of 1-5 during a walk-around wine tasting. The top 12-scoring wines from this portion of the event went on to be poured during a wine seminar led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich, where they were again tasted blind and rated on a scale of 1-5, including by Roger himself. Final scores were tallied to determine the top 3 “People’s Choice” wines. Wines could be any variety or a blend, at any price point, as long as they were from the Temecula Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA). Entries ranged from just $24 per bottle to well over $100, and represented a number of grape varieties, from Falanghina to Syrah to Cabernet Franc.

In addition to the walk-around tasting and seminar, the event featured a six-course dinner created by Chef Daragh Matheson from Leoness Cellars, paired with last year’s People’s Choice winners. A VIP reception offered hand-selected pours presented by local winemakers and winery owners. San Diego singer-songwriter Christian Taylor performed throughout the tasting. The evening’s dinner program was emceed by Lindsay Pomeroy, Master of Wine Candidate and owner of the “Wine Smarties” school in San Diego, and a brief keynote was delivered by Bohmrich. Local musician Brian Stodart performed throughout the dinner program.

Sponsors included Gosch Ford, 34° Crisps, Palpula Dips & Sauces, Temecula Lavender Co., Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants, Aall In Limo & Party Bus, Grapeline Wine Tours and American AgCredit. Carter Estate Winery & Resort was the official hotel partner for the event.

The top twelve scoring wines in alphabetical order were as follows:

Avensole Winery 2014 Malbec, $32.95
Baily Vineyard & Winery 2014 Malbec, $25.00
Doffo Winery 2015 Zinfandel, $72.00
Falkner Winery 2014 Rock Creek Syrah, $49.95
Fazeli Cellars 2014 Shiraz, $48.00
Hart Winery 2014 Volcanic Ridge Vineyard Syrah, $60.00
Leoness Cellars 2014 CS Cabernet Franc-Merlot, $38.00
Lorimar Winery 2014 Syrah, $48.00
Miramonte Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $65.00
South Coast Winery 2016 Viognier, $25.00
Thornton Winery 2014 Estate Syrah, $49.00
Wiens Family Cellars 2015 Sangiovese, $44.00

Most wines can be purchased directly online through each winery’s website. The entire list of wines entered into the competition can be accessed HERE.

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2nd Annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting & Awards

Monday, September 25th, 2017

What is Temecula Valley’s best wine? You Decide!

On Sunday, November 12, join fellow wine enthusiasts and Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country movers and shakers at the second annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting and Awards!

Let your palate guide you through dozens of Temecula Valley’s best wines. Rate them and help crown the region’s favorites at a 5-course wine dinner and celebration. Never been to a blind tasting? Rest assured you won’t be blindfolded. You will simply not know which wines you are tasting until they are revealed after the event, allowing for total objectivity in your tasting.

DATE AND TIME:
Sun, November 12, 2017
Beginning at 11AM

LOCATION:
Leoness Cellars
38311 De Portola Road
Temecula, CA 92592

Three ticket levels allow you to take part in some or all of this exciting event:

People’s Choice Temecula

Estate Pass – $40: Entrance to the walk-around blind tasting from 11 AM – 1 PM of Temecula Valley’s best wines. Rate them all and help determine the region’s favorites. Enjoy light appetizers while you sip & mingle.

Reserve Pass – $175: Entrance to the walk-around blind tasting (11 AM – 1 PM) + seat at the People’s Choice awards dinner (6:30 PM – 9:30 PM), including 5-course tasting menu and wine pairings.

Grand Reserve Pass – $225: The ultimate wine-lovers package! From 3:30 – 5:30, enjoy a Temecula Valley wine seminar and seated/guided blind tasting led by Master of Wine Roger Bohmrich. Then head straight into an intimate winemaker reception including open wine bar and gourmet passed hors d’oeuvres from 5:30 – 6:30 PM. The reception will be followed by the People’s Choice awards dinner, including 5-course tasting menu and wine pairings from 6:30 – 9:30 PM, where the winning wines will be announced. Grand Reserve Pass holders will also receive a VIP gift bag and are welcome to attend the walk-around tasting (11 AM – 1 PM).

For tickets, click here

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#TemeculaWineChallenge Contest: Experience Southern California Wine Country to Win!

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Mid-week is the best time to taste Temecula Valley wines, as your chances of getting a behind the scenes tour, meeting a winemaker, or snagging a barrel sample run high – you just have to ask! This California Wine Month, take your wine knowledge to the next level. From September 1-30, we invite you to explore Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country like a true wine photojournalist…and win a cool prize or two while you’re at it.

How it works:

Step 1: Pick your wine milestone from the list of 10 different challenges below.
Step 2: Take a pic. Make sure we can see the full experience.
Step 3: Post and tag. Post on Instagram & tag @temeculawines, #temeculawinechallenge #tastemidweek & #drinktemecula. Don’t forget to check in at the winery!

Here’s what we’re giving away:

Each week, we will give away (2) SIP Temecula Passports, good for 5 wine tasting flights at participating Temecula Valley wineries, Monday through Friday.

At the end of the contest, we will announce one grand prize winner from the month, who will receive (2) Reserve tickets to the People’s Choice Blind Tasting and Awards event on November 12, 2017.  This prize package includes a walk-around blind wine tasting and seat at the People’s Choice awards dinner including a 5-course tasting menu and wine pairings.

Don’t Forget: You can capture as many wine milestones as you like to up your chances of winning!

Instagram account must be public for your entry to be considered.

View full terms and conditions here: Terms and Conditions

Happy sipping!

Wine Challenges:
1. Take a selfie with a Temecula Valley winemaker
2. Taste a Temecula Valley wine made from a French grape
3. Convince tasting room staff to let you try a Temecula Valley barrel or tank sample
4. Taste a Temecula Valley Sangiovese
5. Document a delicious Temecula Valley food and wine pairing at one of our many wine country restaurants
6. Taste a Temecula Valley Syrah
7. Take a photo of wine grapes on the vine
8. Take a photo with tasting room staff
9. Taste a DRY (not sweet!) Temecula Valley sparkling wine (bonus if it’s made with the Methode Champenoise!)
10. Take a photo with one of the many vineyard dogs out in Temecula Valley wine country

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2017 Temecula Valley Winegrowers Hall of Fame

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

Temecula Valley vintners were excited to introduce the latest Hall of Fame inductees at the 34th Annual Grape Day conference held on April 13, 2017 at South Coast Winery in Temecula, California. The inductees honored were John Poole and Peter Poole.

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Hall of Fame was introduced in 2016 by Phil Baily, owner of Baily Winery and member of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA) Board of Directors. The first inductees into the Hall of Fame were Vince & Audrey Cilurzo and John Moramarco. At the time, Baily noted “The recent passing of wine country pioneer Vince Cilurzo prompted the TVWA Board of Directors to consider ways we could honor his memory. In discussing this, we realized that other pioneers should be recognized, most notably Audrey Cilurzo, because Vince and Audrey partnered in their accomplishments. John Moramarco was unquestionably the key leader of our rise in the 1960s and for the following thirty-plus years.”

Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo planted the first commercial wine grape vineyard in the Temecula Valley. They established Cilurzo Vineyard and Winery as one of the first wineries in the Temecula Valley. As husband and wife, they championed the growing of red wine grapes, most notably Petite Sirah. They offered help, encouragement and support to all the wineries that followed them.

John Moramarco planted one of the first commercial wine grape vineyards in the Temecula Valley in 1968 while working for Brookside Winery. In the late 1980s his efforts helped Riverside County create the citrus/vineyard zone which preserved agriculture and laid the foundation for the remarkable growth of wineries over the ensuing years. Moramarco also worked to mobilize Riverside County, the City of Temecula, State and Federal efforts to successfully combat the spread of Pierce’s Disease in Temecula Valley vineyards.

“This year’s Hall of Fame inductees were similarly accomplished and well respected within Temecula Valley’s wine community and we’re very appreciative of their efforts on behalf of all of us,” stated Phil Baily.

John Poole purchased vineyard land in the Temecula Valley in 1969, establishing Long Valley Vineyards, which eventually grew to 165 planted acres. Additionally, he planted one of California’s earliest Syrah vineyards in 1974. John founded Mt. Palomar Winery in 1975; this was Temecula’s second winery. In 1978, he opened the first permanent tasting room and was the first to begin advertising the Temecula Valley as a tourist destination.

Peter Poole, John’s son, was a founding member of the South Coast Vintners Association, a predecessor of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association. He served many years as the President and Board Member of the Vintners Association and its successor. Peter took over operation of Mt. Palomar Winery in 1985, making it the first winery in the Temecula Valley under second-generation leadership. For many years, he worked to improve viticulture and winemaking practices in the Valley. He was instrumental in the effort to change the official name of the American Viticulture Area (AVA) from Temecula to Temecula Valley. He pioneered the planting of Italian varieties in California, being the first to plant Cortese in California and Sangiovese in the Temecula Valley. When the area was under siege from the vine destroying Glassy-winged sharpshooter, Peter helped lead the successful fight against the pest and the spread of Pierce’s Disease in the Temecula Valley.

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5 Fun Things to do in Temecula Valley wine country this weekend!

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

funIt’s Father’s Day weekend, so treat him right with a day in wine country.  There’s lots going on, from music to food, entertainment to education.  You pick!  The only rule is – you MUST have fun!

Crawfish Boil
When: Fri, June 19, 6p
Where: Wilson Creek Winery
It’s back! Join us for a traditional Louisiana-style Crawfish Boil. Savor some fabulous wines and feast on crawfish with all the fixin’s while enjoying the sounds of “Shades of J” rockin blues. / $49.95 per person / $39.95 per person, wine club

Wine Appreciation Class
When: Sat, June 20, 10a
Where: Falkner Winery
Designated for all levels of wine knowledge / $45 per person / $70 per person with lunch. / Reservations required by calling 951-676-8231 xt. 109

Moto Barrel Room Tours
When: Sun, June 21, 11a – 2p
Where: Doffo Winery
Showcasing over 100 vintage motorcycles and scooters from classic manufacturers like Ducati, Honda, CZ, Vespa and more, the Moto Barrel Room is open for free tours on Thursdays and Sundays

Father’s Day “Bacon and Syrah” Dinner
When: Sun, June 21, 6p
Where: Wiens Family Cellars
$85 per person / $68 per person, wine club / Celebrate Father’s day in style with a vertical tasting of four past Syrahs along with perfectly paired bacon dishes.

Champagne Jazz Concert Series ~ Spyro Gyra & Acoustic Alchemy
When: Sun, June 21, 4p
Where: Thornton Winery
General Admission tickets – $65 / Gourmet Supper tickets – $140 (3 course meal, concert ticket & assigned table

 

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International Picnic Day is June 18th

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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Picnics and wine go hand-in-hand.  Which wine makes for the perfect picnic wine, you ask? One of the favorite summer wine choices of the French is rosé.  And with summer coming, it could be a favorite of yours, too.  Made from a wide variety of grapes, rosés can be made still, semi sparkling or sparkling.

Don’t be fooled by the color!  Barely there apricot or a richly hued blush, rosé wines run the gamut in shades, but don’t go thinking that they’re all sweet! Their sugar levels are extensive as well; from bone-dry Provencal style rosé to sweet white zinfandels and blushes.  Rosés are made in just about every winegrape-growing region – and there’s lots to choose from here in the Temecula Valley wine country.   So make sure to include one in your picnic basket!  It will pair perfectly with light summery salads, sandwiches and wraps.

Try out one of these great Temecula Valley rosés:

Baily Winery ~ 2013 Rosé of Sangiovese – Fun, fruity and full of character.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery 2012 Rosé of Sangiovese – Pairs with most foods; a perfect picnic wine.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2014 Rosé – Racy strawberry and candied watermelon notes, a beautiful melon and peach laden mid-palate, and long sensual finish of rose petals and flavors sugar-dusted citrus.

Thornton Winery ~ 2013 Rosé – You’ll enjoy the strawberry/black cherry and lemon-citrus aromas as well as its surprising palate weight and richness.

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Dad.  Ask him when Mom says no!

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

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After decades of discussion (as is most always the case in government!), President Woodrow Wilson approved the idea of an actual Father’s Day back in 1916, followed shortly by President Calvin Coolidge supporting the idea of a national Father’s Day in 1924 to, “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations”.  After a protracted struggle of over four decades, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day in 1966. Then in 1972, President Richard Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.

Father’s Day undoubtedly brings up fond memories for most, whether it’s for something your Dad did, for something he said, or for that one thing he never, ever mentioned that you know he could have!  So how do we repay him for all the things he’s done?  First of all, resist the temptation to take the easy road; he has enough ties and coffee mugs.  What about giving the gift of time? Here’s a few, fun times you can share with Dad, right here in wine country.  Check it out!

Baily Vineyard & Winery Father’s Day Specials at Carol’s Restaurant
Falkner Winery – Father’s Day Lunch Specials and Free Concert
Frangipani Estate Winery – Father’s Day Lunch
Thornton Winery – Champagne Jazz Concert Series – Spyro Gyra & Acoustic Alchemy
Wiens Family Cellars – Father’s Day Bacon & Syrah Dinner
Wilson Creek Winery – Father’s Day Brunch

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Celebrate Mother’s Day in Wine Country!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

TheMothers Day 2 ancient Greeks paid annual homage to Cybele, the mother figure of their gods, the Romans dedicated an annual spring festival to the mother of their gods, and in 16th century England, a celebration called “Mothering Sunday” was inaugurated — a Sunday set aside for visiting one’s mother.  When President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill back in 1914 designating the second Sunday in May as a legal holiday to be called “Mother’s Day”, he dedicated the day “to the best mother in the world, your mother.”

Show your Mom how special she is!  Lunch, brunch, dinner – or just a day of wine tasting – is surely one way to get on her good side.  And remember, you’re the reason she drinks wine in the first place…

Here’s just a few ideas for spending Mother’s Day in Temecula Valley Wine Country:

If brunch suits your fancy, you’ve got lots of options!  Try Carol’s at Baily Winery; 11a-3p, Bel Vino Winery; 9a-3p, Danza del Sol Winery; 10a or 1p, Doffo Winery; 10a or 12:30p, Frangipani Winery; 11a-3p, Monte de Oro Winery; 10a or 12:30p, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa; 10a – 3p, Thornton Winery; 11a-4p, Wiens Family Cellars; 11a-1p, Wilson Creek Winery; 10a-3p.

Lunch and Dinner will both be served at Meritage Restaurant at Callaway Vineyard & Winery from 10a-8p.

And if you’ve always wanted to Learn To Paint, Oak Mountain Winery is offering a fun alternative to the usual at 1p.

All of our wineries will be open and ready to see you.  Happy Mothers Day, all!

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The Merry, Merry Month of May!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

May 25 _Natl Wine DayMay has so many national “wine days”, we can eat, drink and be merry all month long!  Along with Chardonnay, a familiar favorite, it’s a great excuse for you to try a couple of the lesser-known varietals like Muscat Canelli and Sauvignon Blanc – all of which grow well here in the Temecula Valley.

First up on the calendar is #MoscatoDay, which falls on May 9th.  The day was introduced here in the US by Gallo Family Vineyards back in 2012 to celebrate the rising popularity and sky-rocketing sales of the varietal.  If you know nothing about Moscato (or Muscat/Muscat Canelli), it originated in the Piedmont region of Italy where it’s a favorite due to its sweetness, lightness and affordability – and is popular as a sparkling wine. You’ll find Moscato table wines in white, red or rosé styles, and they make an especially delicious dessert wine.  With it’s bouquet of peach, honey and citrus, a delicate sweetness and fresh acidity, it’s perfect served with a plate of fresh cheeses.

Try the Muscat Canelli from Leoness Cellars or Lorimar Winery; or the Moscato from Ponte Family Estate Winery.

May 15th is #InternationalSauvignonBlancDay.  Originating in the Bordeaux region of France, the grape is also widely planted throughout New Zealand – and grows with ease here in the Temecula Valley.  An acidic wine that displays a citrus-y, grapefruit-like quality, it’s a pleasing choice for a warm summer day. A very versatile vino, Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with shell fish, grilled vegetables (even asparagus!) and cheeses.  It’s the perfect picnic wine!

A few faves include those from:  Europa Village , Maurice Car’rie Winery or Monte de Oro Winery.

And then there’s the day to pay homage to the old standby, Chardonnay, on #ChardonnayDay, May 21st.  The world’s most planted white wine grape varietal is enjoyed by fans all over the world.  Generally dry to medium-dry with pear, apple, tropical or citrus fruit flavors, Chardonnay is grown in virtually every wine-producing region.  Crisp and fresh with little to no oak aging, or creamy and buttery with extensive oak aging, there’s a Chardonnay out there that will make just about anyone smile!

Can’t live without Chardonnay’s are available at: Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Oak Mountain Winery and Thornton Winery.

Finishing out the month is #NationalWineDay, which is celebrated on May 25.  Not to be confused with National Drink Wine Day which is held in February, National Wine Day is actually just another lame excuse for us wine lovers to drink wine.  Because for wine lovers, everyday is wine day, right?  Cheers!

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May 5th is Cinco de Vino Day!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

cinco de mayoOh me, oh my, oh!  It’s Cinco de Vino!  Okay, so it’s really Cinco de Mayo, but come on!  Loving all things wine, what else are we gonna’ talk about?

Mexican food with wine, you say?  If you’ve never ventured into pairing wine with your favorite Mexican food, trust us.  It’s as fun as it is easy!

Let’s start with a little hint: alcohol intensifies the heat of chiles, and chiles intensify the alcohol, so choosing lower alcohol wines is the first step.  The second step is to choose those that are crisp with acidity.  They’re best suited to complement the complex flavors and spices of great Mexican cuisine.  And thirdly, always pair the wine with the sauce, not the protein. i.e., consider the ingredients in your dishes.  In general, red wines will work best with earthy chipotle, pasilla or adobo chile sauces – or if it’s all about that cheese!  White wines will work better with lime, citrus, tomatillo and cilantro or herbal sauces. Cinchy, huh?

Some particularly good white varietals to consider might include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, an Albarino – or even a dry Riesling.

Red wine lovers should try Tempranillo, Sangiovese or Malbec, a luscious Zinfandel or even a supple Syrah.

But, like we always say, wine guidelines and suggested pairings are just that – suggestions. The right wine for you is the one you like best!  We just recommend that if you’re entertaining, play it safe and have a couple of different options available.

There’s a Temecula Valley wine out there that will make your Mexican fiesta excelente and take your meal from tasty to sabroso!

Some Temecula Valley white wines to try:

Hart Winery “Two Vineyard Blend” Sauvignon Blanc
Cougar Winery 100% Pinot Grigio
Baily Winery dry Riesling
or Danza del Sol “Sabroso”, a Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc – perfect for dessert!

If you prefer reds, try:

Longshadow Ranch Estate Tempranillo
Frangipani Winery’s Estate Sangiovese
one of Doffo Winery’s many Malbecs
Lorenzi Winery “Zin City” Zinfandel
Falkner Winery “Rock Creek” Syrah

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