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Earth Day ~ April 22

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

earth day

Each year, Earth Day – April 22  – marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement.  The idea was that of Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, who was devastated after witnessing the ravages of a 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

As a result of his efforts, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife, suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, and led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Today, it is celebrated by billions of people around the world and is observed in over 190 countries. Worldwide Earth Day celebrations utilize educational programs to inform people of ways they can help protect the environment and our natural resources.

Earth Day worked because of a spontaneous response at the grassroots level. No one thought they would organize 20 million demonstrators!  Just think what could happen if we garnered that kind of response to a few simple tasks that each of us could easily do in just ONE day.  Think about it.  What a difference we could make!

A few simple things that provide huge impacts might include planting a tree every year, switching off lights when not in use and using recyclable bags for grocery shopping.  Easy enough, huh?  Check out our Recork and Recycle Pinterest page for some great recycling ideas.

Or you could always “save water and shower with a friend” like they did in the 70’s…

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World of Wine Weekend is here!

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

WOWlogo_no year_burgundy_lgRevisedIf the weather doesn’t WoW you, the wines surely will!

Let’s face it, there’s just no other place on earth where Mother Nature delivers sunshine like in SoCal!  And this weekend promises to be an absolutely beautiful one.

What?  No plans??  Come on out for our annual World of Wine barrel tasting event.  Thirty member wineries will be supplying ticketholders with some very fine wine along with some complementing tasty bites.  The event is scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday from 10a to 4:30p each day.  There are a limited number of tickets still available online at www.temeculawines.org.  And at $99, it’s a great deal!  Hurry up though, we don’t want you to miss out.

We promise lots of sun perfectly paired with fabulous wine!

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It’s National Drink Wine Day!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

national wine day

Yep, you heard it right.  Today is National Drink Wine Day!

Just think… an entire day designated to drinking wine. I am so in!   And yes, we’ve all seen the studies that show drinking a glass of wine a day improves heart health, reduces forgetfulness, boosts immunity, and increases bone density. So, it’s healthy, right?  But really, days like today are just one more reason to enjoy a great wine with some great people.  So pop a cork and raise a glass!

And just for fun, here’s a few fun facts to share with your friends while you’re sharing that bottle of Temecula Valley wine.

 1.  Italy produces the most wine.

2.  California produces the most Chardonnay.

3.  Very few wines improve with age.

4.  The term “bouquet” refers to the scent of the wine; “aroma” is the scent of the grapes.  Together they equal the “nose”.

5.  There’s about 100 calories in a glass of wine.

6.  The word “wine” is mentioned 521 times in the Bible.

7.  Marilyn Monroe is said to have bathed in champagne. It took 350 bottles to fill her bathtub.

8.  Swirling “aerates” your wine by releasing the compounds which combine with oxygen to create the bouquet or aroma.

9.  Three glasses of dry red wine have less calories than one Twix bar.

10.  In California, wine country tours are second only to Disneyland in popularity with tourists.

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Dream Big, Temecula Valley Winemakers!

Friday, January 30th, 2015

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This week we’re at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento for a yearly industry event that helps keeps us all “in the know”.  Apart from pouring a sampling of fabulous Temecula Valley wines to some of the 14,000+ attending wine lovers, we caught up with a few of our own to find out what they were dreaming about while walking through the chock full convention center.

Arturo Villareal, winemaker at Danza del Sol was looking for some new barrels.  But what he’s really dreaming about is a new, much larger wine cellar.  Sorry, Art!  I don’t think they actually sell those.

We caught up with Damian and Marcello Doffo who were in the midst of purchasing a water treatment system for Doffo Winery. While it’s a much needed purchase, there’s certainly much more fun things to buy…

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Nick and Cindy Palumbo were looking for some portable stainless steel tanks.  And dreaming of a cold beer! As Nick always says, “it takes a lot of beer to make wine.”

BJ Fazeli, who’s winery is being built as we speak, needs everything for his new winery.  He brought along his wallet and is definitely dreaming BIG.

The Wiens brothers are in the market for a new de-stemmer but are dreaming about a new optical sorter that will separate and remove the less than perfect grapes from the sorting table.  It’s a winemaker thang!

JD Harkey and Chase Drake, of Drake Enterprises are dreaming REALLY big and hoping Ben pops for a machine harvester this year.

Jon McPherson and Javier Flores, the dynamic duo of winemakers at South Coast, were searching out some “state of the art” lab equipment for the new Carter Estate Winery which is scheduled to open in just a few weeks.

All in all, I’d say the Temecula Valley winemakers, while truly dreaming big dreams, were pretty down to earth.  Except for Art and that new cellar…

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World of Wine Barrel Tasting 2015

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

WOWlogo_no year_burgundy_lgRevised

Hey kids, what time is it? It’s World of Wine time!

And that means it’s time to visit Temecula Valley wine country for WoW, our Winter Barrel Tasting event, coming up on March 7 and 8, 2015.  It’s one of just two times per year when the wineries open their cellar doors for the weekend, allowing guests to enjoy a multitude of wines paired with scrumptious snacks.

The 2 day event offers ticket holders a self-guided wine country tour that allows visits to all of our member wineries.  You’ll receive a map of Temecula Valley Wine Country, a passport which allows a visit to each participating winery, and a souvenir glass.

The event is held from 10am to 4:30pm. 2 day tickets are regularly $99 per person.  BUT, purchase your tickets before February 8 and SAVE $10 per 2 day ticket.

All tickets are Will-Call and are available for pick-up between 9:30am and 1pm ONLY on the day(s) of the event. Guests will be notified via email as to their pick-up location. Local, Sunday Only and Designated Driver tickets are also available.

So plan to join us in March. And get WoW’d!
For additional information, visit www.temeculawines.org/events or call us at 800.801.9463.

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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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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.

 

 

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Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Thanksgiving1

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?

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Dream Big ~ John Thornton, Thornton Winery

Friday, October 31st, 2014

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

The Thornton Family l-r:  Steve, Sally and John

The Thornton Family
l-r: Steve, Sally and John

Our ongoing series this month features John Thornton, of Thornton Winery, one of the valley’s “first”, which opened for business way back in 1988.  Learn why, after almost 30 years, “Mr. T”, as he’s lovingly known to us, still lives and breathes wine.

Why – or how on earth! – did you get into the wine business? And why was Temecula your chosen region?
Well, Sally and I used to travel extensively on business and everywhere we’d visit, we’d try to eat and drink local.  We loved the social aspect of food and wine together.  We thought, “Hey, we can start our own place and offer food and wine and it’ll be easy.” Boy, were we WRONG!  At the time, Ely Callaway was marketing Temecula as the perfect place to make wine and although the area had a small wine industry, we did some research and it did appear to be a “natural” fit for a wine country and poised for growth.

Running a small family winery – even one that’s been around for awhile like Thornton has – must present a unique set of challenges. What keeps you up at night? And what gets you up in the morning?
I think some of the same things that keep most business owners up at night; but for us it’s how to sell our wine, what wines to make, how to keep our customers happy, cash flow….but Steve works this part of the business, so I sleep pretty darn good!  What gets me up in the morning?  I get excited about the challenges in the business actually.  Challenges can be opportunities and we can take a challenge and turn it into something positive.

What do you MOST love about the wine industry?
What I love most about the wine industry is the people.  There are some of the nicest and most genuine people in this industry.  Another thing about this industry that is so great is sharing food and wine with friends;  it’s a wonderful thing.  You add music to that, and you’ve got the perfect combination.

Speaking of music, Champagne Jazz has been a staple in the music industry – and at Thornton – for almost 30 (!) years. Are you proud with its effect on our little wine country?
When we started Champagne Jazz, we never expected it to be what it is today.  It’s had a long life and it’s taken years and a lot of hard work to formulate.  It’s a continuous challenge to combine a food, wine and musical experience that will appeal to a broad audience.  We’re really proud that we’re bringing in some of the best jazz performers in the world.

Cafe Champagne was THE first restaurant in wine country. That must present its own unique opportunities and challenges?
Our biggest challenge was learning the food business.  It’s a tough business.  You’ve got to do a lot of research and make sure that you’ve got what people want.  You’ve got to come up with menus that appeal to customers and you’ve got to make the prices competitive in order to bring the people in.  The restaurant was originally “high-end”, but it’s now more casual.  Steve’s been teaching me that it isn’t always about what I want!  The customer is always right.  We’ve got to listen to them, try to pair the food and wine well, and make them happy.  We’ve got a lot more competition with our neighbors now, and while this is inevitable, it just keeps us planning and adapting.  We’re watching the valley get better and better and it’s exciting to watch!

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Thank a Winemaker Day!

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Thank a Winemaker Day!

Anatomy of Winemaker

Gus Viszgirda, Wilson Creek winemaker

A recent photo shared by Wilson Creek Winery, “The Anatomy of a Winemaker”, created by winemaker, Gus Viszgirda, certainly gave us all a laugh. But it also made us think…

Clearly, making great wine is a hands-on profession. And the picture truly illustrates what our winemakers look like to us on any given work day. Gone is the clean clothed, shiny shoe’d, wine sipping winemakers most of our visitors are accustomed to seeing. Most of the time, they’re rubber boot wearing, wine stained cellar dwellars who are dragging hoses, cleaning tanks and topping barrels – all which are part of a days work. Truth be told, most days you couldn’t slap the smile off their faces.  Winemaking truly is a labor of love!

So, in their honor, we’ve decided to declare today, “Thank A Winemaker” day! Let your favorite winemaker know how much you appreciate all the effort that goes into each bottle. Without their dedication, what would we be drinking???

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