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Celebrating 50 Years!

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Come celebrate with us! The 50th Anniversary will be celebrated throughout the year and there are multiple ways you can participate.

  • Submit your favorite Temecula Valley Wine Country memory and historic photo. We’ll share via social media and on our website.
  • Celebrate your 50th With Us! Do you have a 50th birthday or wedding anniversary in 2018? Visitors who show ID or documentation indicating a 50th milestone (e.g. anniversary or birthday) will be given a commemorative wine glass and wine bottle tote and gain access to various wine country perks at participating wineries throughout the year. Click here for participating wineries.
  • Plan to attend CRUSH, a Wine & Culinary Showcase on September 29, 2018 and upgrade your ticket to the 50th Anniversary package and receive 50th anniversary souvenirs.
  • Purchase a bottle (or a few) of Temecula Valley 50th Anniversary limited edition commemorative regional wine.
  • Special stay packages at select hotels to include wine tasting and hotel accommodations.
  • Souvenir merchandise available for purchase at the Visitor Center in Old Town Temecula.
  • Document your 2017 trip to Temecula on social media and use the hashtags #cheersto50years and #DrinkTemecula
  • Visit our website to see the timeline of Temecula Valley Wine Country,  historical photos and visitor and winery stories.
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Fun Facts About Late Harvest Wine

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Remember those small, lovely bottles you’ve seen in the dessert wine section of your favorite tasting room or wine store?

Many wine-lovers have yet to discover how delicious a late harvest wine can taste – especially when paired with cheese and honey, chocolate or a fruit-based dessert.

The perfect sweet dessert wine for Valentine’s Day, late harvest wine is simple to understand and easy to find here in Temecula Valley!

Here are some fun facts about late harvest wine:

  1. “Late harvest” refers to wines made from grapes left on the vine longer than usual and picked later than normal. Late harvest grapes are often more similar to raisins, but have been naturally dehydrated while still on the vine.
  2. Late harvest wines are made around the world with almost every grape imaginable. Grapes like zinfandel and riesling are ideally suited to produce late harvest wine and are among the most popular.
  3. Grapes used for late harvest wines go through their full growth cycle and then some – becoming super sweet and losing acidity as they ripen.
  4. “Noble rot” is the term for the edible mold that causes grapes to lose nearly all of their water content. This natural process begins to take place in late September and can last until late October.
  5. Late harvest grapes are often hand-picked. Sometimes, the usable grapes from one vine may only produce enough juice for a single glass.

Suggested Late Harvest Wines:

Avensole Vineyard & Winery ~ 2015 Late Harvest Muscat Canelli
Doffo Winery ~ Lucca – Late Harvest Malbec
Wiens Family Cellars ~ 2016 Late Harvest Primitivo
Wilson Creek Winery ~ Late Harvest Malbec-Merlot

Facts courtesy of Snooth and Wikipedia

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February Winery Events

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Love is always in the air in Temecula Valley! This month, your local wineries have especially amorous offerings set against the backdrop of the most beautiful vineyards in Southern California.

Avensole Winery
Valentines Couples Dinner / February 9 & 10 / 11am-9pm / $150 per couple / Indulge your senses with a romantic prix-fixe Valentines menu, created especially for the occasion. Enjoy an enchanting evening on our beautiful outdoor terrace, where the scene is set for romance with live entertainment and an unforgettable gourmet four course culinary delight for two. Dinner includes one glass of Explore wine or beer per person / Please call our Concierge to make reservations: 951-252-2003 x301

Valentines Couples Dinner / February 11 & 14 / 11am-8pm / $150 per couple / Indulge your senses with a romantic prix-fixe Valentines menu, created especially for the occasion. Enjoy an enchanting evening on our beautiful outdoor terrace, where the scene is set for romance with live entertainment and an unforgettable gourmet four course culinary delight for two. Dinner includes one glass of Explore wine or beer per person / Please call our Concierge to make reservations: 951-252-2003 x301

Hosted Tour & Wine Tasting /Available on Sunday of each the month / 2pm-3:30pm / For every adventure, there is discovery, for every unique place, there is a story. Take a guided journey through our lush vineyards and experience our rich heritage and handcrafted Avensole wines / Cost. $35 / Reservations required. Please call 951.252.2003 x312 to reserve.

Gourmet Cheese Artisanal Tour & Wine Tasting / Available on Friday of each month / 12pm / For the ultimate Wine Country experience, delight in an educational tour through our picturesque vineyard vistas and conclude this tour with a culinary treat of artisanal wine pairings featuring 7 Avensole wines / Cost: $75 / Reservations required online at link: http://www.avensolewinery.com/res-369934

Briar Rose Winery
Taste of Enchantment Valentine’s Dinner / February 14 / 6:30pm / Enjoy an elegant four-course dinner prepared by Chef Rivas at Briar Rose Winery / Cost: $220 per couple all-inclusive / To book your reservation visit: chefjrivas.com and click reservations / For additional questions, text or call Jakota Rivas at 858-740-7503

Baily Winery
Valentine Candlelight Tasting for 2 / February 10 & 11 / 11:30am-3:30pm / Seating’s every hour / $35 per person / Special Cabernet Franc and Port tasting. Charcuterie and chocolate plate for two / Seating is extremely limited. Tasting will take place at Baily Estate Tasting Room located on Pauba Road Call today for reservations at 951.972.9768

Estate Library Tasting / Every Thursday-Sunday / Available 11am-4pm / Enjoy exclusive library tasting of 5 different vintages (varietal will vary monthly). Tasting will take place at Baily Estate Tasting Room located on Pauba Road / Tours are available upon request / For reservations and pricing information please call Lisa at 951-972-9768.

Dog Day Sundays / Every Sunday at Carol’s Restaurant / 11:30a-2:30p / Bring your well-mannered pooch to lunch, doggie treats and special menu items / Live acoustic music on the patio / For more information please contact the restaurant at 951.676.9243

Bel Vino Winery
Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Dinner / February 14 / 6:00 to 9:00 pm / Guests are greeted with a glass of champagne and an amuse bouche. Dinner includes 4 courses of savory dishes paired with our award- winning wine. Check-in beginning at 5:30 pm / Reservations Required – Please call 951-428-2358 or email Elizabeth@belvinowinery.com for reservations / $99.95 per person for Wine Club Members / $124.95 per person for non-members – Prices include tax & gratuity.

Friday Nite Live at Bel Vino / Every Friday 6p-10p / No Cover / Wine & Beer / Bel Vino Bistro open until 9 pm/ No outside food or drinks allowed.

Live Band every Saturday and Sunday / 12pm to 4pm /Admission is always free / Bands play on our Hilltop Terrace Stage. For a list of scheduled performers please visit https://www.belvinowinery.com/events/

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Valentine’s Dinner / February 14 / Seating’s 5-5:30 & 7-7:30 / Share a romantic dinner with your loved one this Valentine’s Day at Meritage at Callaway. Executive Chef Josh Diamond is offering guests an enchanting, four course dining experience, while enjoying a live performance by Danielle Taylor / Cost: $85 non-members, $76.50 members, per person, plus tax and gratuity. For Reservations Call: 951.587.8889

Prix Fixe Friday & Sunday at Meritage / 5pm to 8pm / For $35 guests may enjoy a starter, an entrée and a dessert / Live Music offered on Friday nights / Reservation is not necessary. For menu information call 951.587.8889

Brunch Specials every Sunday at Meritage / 11am / Cost is $25 / Includes a mimosa with fresh squeezed orange juice, entrée and dessert. All food from Meritage is farm-to-table, either grown on property in restaurant garden or locally outsourced.

Callaway Winery Tours offered daily / 11am and 1pm / Tour only, $10 per person. Tour with tasting, $25 – tour includes 1 tank sample, 1-barrel sample and 4 additional tastes at the Tasting Bar / Reservations not necessary, but for 10 or more highly recommended / For more information call 951.676.4001

Live Music at the Courtyard Patio / Every Saturday from 1pm to 5pm / Please check our website for a list of scheduled performers.

Carter Estate Winery and Resort
Elegant Food & Wine Pairing / $40pp / Available Mid-week 1pm and 3pm; Weekends 1pm and 3pm Reserve your place for an indulgent wine and food pairing designed to tantalize the senses. Guests enjoy five specially-selected Carter Estate Winery wines paired perfectly with a variety of cured meats, artisan cheeses and accompanied with season accoutrements. Each pairing last approximately 90 minutes and is limited to just eight participants to allow for one-on-one interaction / For reservations call today: 844.851.2138

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
11th Annual Super Chili Bowl / February 4 / 3:00-8:00pm / All of you aspiring and talented cooks start working on your awesome chili!  Chili competition kicks off at 3pm.  Only 10 competitors allowed and last year’s winner, Myrna, will be defending her title!  Is your chili better than hers? Join us for food, wine, beer & good times.  Pricing includes chili tasting, snacks, wine or beer. Price increases $5 day of event. / Competitors $15, Wine Club $25, Non-Wine Club $30 / No need to arrive early the day of, you can pick out your reserved table for every 4-6 tickets you purchase / This is an adult event, 21 and older only please. Email events@cougarvineyards.com to select your table. Please inquire regarding official rules for competitors.

Friday Night Live Music / 5pm-8pm / Happy Hour 7-8p two-for-one glasses of wine / Free to the public

Sunday Live Music
/ 2:00-5:00pm / Free to the public / For a list of scheduled performers please visit www.cougarwinery.com.

Danza del Sol Winery

Valentine’s Dinner / February 14 / 6:30pm / $115.00 – $125.00 / Create a truly memorable Valentine’s Day experience with Danza del Sol Winery! The evening begins with a sparkling wine reception in our Barrel Room and is followed by a tantalizing 3-course dinner in our Club House. Chef Volker Lutz expertly prepared the menu and each course is paired with a spectacular Danza del Sol Wine. Live jazz music from Stephen Vaughan / For reservations please visit our website at www.danzadelsolwinery.com. One king table for seating; private seating not available.

Live Music on the Patio at Danza del Sol / Every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1:00pm / Enjoy great wine and great music! / Please check our website www.danzadelsolwinery.com for additional information.

Doffo Winery
Live Music every Saturday and Sunday / 1:00-4:00pm / Free to the public / Live entertainment / For a list of scheduled performers please visit www.doffowines.com

Europa Village
Murder Mystery – Lovestruck / February 3 and 4 / 6pm in our Italian Wine Cave / Tickets: $80, Société $72 /Join us for an evening of mystery and intrigue. You will need to keep your eyes and ears open, because someone will be ruthlessly murdered at the end of the play, and it’s up to you to guess who-done-it! Performance will take place during a gourmet dinner prepared by Europa’s Executive Chef, Dean Thomas / For reservations please visit our website www.europavillage.com

L’Amore Valentine’s Dinner / February 14 / Tickets: $125 / Société $112.50 / Treat your sweetheart to an evening of romance and wine, all things lovely and divine at our Valentine’s Day Dinner L’Amore at Europa. Enjoy an intimate candlelight 5-course gourmet dinner paired with Europa Village wines, prepared by Executive Chef Dean Thomas. Musical performance by Annette Wiles, Harpist from the Heart / For reservations please visit our website www.europavillage.com

 Live Music every Sunday / 1:00-4:00pm / Free to the public / Live entertainment on our outdoor Veranda / For a list of scheduled performers please visit www.europavillage.com

Falkner Winery
Valentine Lunch Specials
/ February 9 to 14 / 11:30-3pm / Valentine Lunch Special for 2 in the Pinnacle Restaurant / $59 for Two + tax (normal menu available) / For full menu please visit www.falknerwinery.com / Reservations required 951-676-8231 option 4.

Wine Appreciation Class / February 17 / 10-12:30pm / Designated for all levels of wine knowledge / $45/person /$40 Connoisseur/ $20 VIP; $70/person with lunch option / RSVP required 951-676-8231 x. 109 or wineclub@falknerwinery.com

Sip N Paint Class “Drying Flowers” / February 22 / 6:30 -8:30 pm / $35 per person.  Includes all materials. Wines available for purchase by glass or bottle. Members do receive applicable discounts / Reservations are required online @Artfusionbdk.myshopify.com

Valentine’s Dinner in the Pinnacle Restaurant / February 14 / 5:30-9:30pm / $119+tax per person ($109+tax wine club) Early Bird Seating at 5:30pm $99+ tax per person ($89+tax wine club) / For full menu please visit www.falknerwinery.com / Entertainment provided by Guilty Conscience Duo / Reservations required 951-676-8231 option 4

Fazeli Cellars
Valentine’s Dinner / February 10 and 14 / Doors open at 6:30pm & Dinner starts at 6:45pm / Champagne Greeting & Live Music. 4 Course Dinner and Wine Pairing / $100 Members, $120 Non-Members / Purchase Tickets Here http://shop.fazelicellars.com/reservation-events

Salsa Night / February 23 / Doors open at 6:30 with a 45-minute salsa lesson / $10 Members, $15 Non-Members / Price include a glass of sangria / Special food menu items, wine, beer and sangria available for purchase / Purchase Tickets Here http://shop.fazelicellars.com/reservation-events

Live Music at our Tasting Room / Every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm – 5pm / Enjoy great wine and great music! / Check our website www.fazelicellars.com/events for a schedule of performers.

Leoness Cellars
A Black + White Night / February 14 / 5pm -9:30pm / 3-course dinner $100, add 3 select wines for $25. 5-course dinner $130, add 5 Select wines for $35 / By Reservation Only / For menu options and additional questions please contact – membership@leonesscellars.com

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery
Valentine’s in the Vines /
February 14 7:00pm / Four course dinner with wine pairings and live music / Cost$75 / $67.50 WW / Vow renewal will be available for married couples! Visit www.lorimarwinery.com for menu details and to get tickets.

Académie Du Vin: Wine + Cheese / February 22 / 6:00pm / Wine and cheese pairing class with Sommelier Penny Delgado and Cheesemonger Stasha New. Learn about red wine varietals and fermentation in this exclusive session / Tickets are $55/$50 WC / Visit www.lorimarwinery.com for menu details and to get tickets.

Music Friday & Saturday / 6p-9p / Free to the public

Live Music Sunday / 2p-5pm / Free to the public
Please check our website www.lorimarwinery.com for a list of scheduled of performers.

Masia de la Vinya Winery
Valentine Dinner / February 9 / 5:30-8:30pm / Champagne Reception and 3-course dinner with wine / Live Guitarist played by Vince Mendoza while fine dining in our Vintner’s Lounge / Wine club member – $100.00 per person* Guest – $110.00 per person* *Tax & Gratuity not included / Reservations required, email e.jennings@masiadelavinya.com or with your server in our tasting room. Space is limited, reserve early to ensure your spot!

Friday Nights @ Masia / 5pm to 8pm / Free to attend / Join us in the Vintner’s Lounge & Patio for live music from a variety of talented musicians every Friday starting at 5pm.

Live Music on the Patio at Masia de la Vinya / Every Saturday from 12pm – 4pm / Enjoy great wine and great music! / Please check our website www.masiadelavinya.com for additional information and a list of scheduled performers.

Maurice Car’rie Winery
Arts & Craft Fair / Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11a-5p / Maurice Car’rie Winery offers a charming arts and crafts fair every Friday – Sunday from 11:00 AM to 5 PM. Located on the front picnic grounds at the beautiful Maurice Car’rie Winery are craft vendors with wares that are handmade such as jewelry, paintings, and ceramics along with fun items like great handbags and designer-style sunglasses Open to the public, free admission

Maurice Car’rie Saturday Live Music Outdoors Under the Lights / June 10 & 24 / 6p – 9p / Various local artist performances. Admission is free for this concert / For a schedule of performers, please visit www.mauricecarriewinery.com

Miramonte Winery
Live Music & Entertainment / Every Friday and Saturday / 6:00p-9:00p / Free to the public / No reservations required / For a list of scheduled performers, please visit www.miramontewinery.com

Mount Palomar Winery
Valentine’s Day Dinner
/ February 14 and February 16th / 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM / There is nothing more romantic than a Valentine’s Day Dinner in Temecula wine country. We are celebrating at Annata Bistro/Bar with two beautiful evenings featuring an exclusive holiday menu and delicious craft cocktails. Dinner includes a five-course meal, a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, 20% off all drinks, including craft cocktails. Dinners are prepaid via credit card and cost $100 per person, $85 for wine club members / By reservation only at http://www.mountpalomarwinery.com/Valentines-Day

Paint Nite in the Barrel Room / February 3, 4, 10 & 17 / 1:00pm – 3:00pm / Tickets $45 /Raise your glass to a NEW kind of night out! Paint Nite® invites you to create art over a glass of wine at a Mount Palomar Winery, guided by a professional artist and party host. Grab your friends and spend two hours drinking, laughing, and flexing your creative muscles. There’s no experience necessary and we’ll provide all the supplies, so you don’t have to worry about a thing (except having a great time!). Use the coupon code CREATE30 to save $15! / Reserve at https://www.paintnite.com/venues/mt-palomar-winery-133232

Oak Mountain Winery

Valentine’s Dinner / February 10 / 6p-9pm / Oak Mountain Winery is offering two 3-course dinner menus: Lobster & Filet $150 per couple or Lambchops with rosemary hibiscus jam $120 per couple / For additional information and reservations please call 951 699-9102 or email events@oakmountainwinery.com

Ponte Winery
Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Restaurant at Ponte
/ February 14 / 5:00-8:00pm / Cost: $8 & up Join us at The Restaurant at Ponte for a romantic, al fresco Valentine’s Day Dinner. Enjoy live music on our scenic patio as you and your Valentine dine from an extensive menu of winter cuisine. View menu here.

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Bouquet Restaurant / February 14 / 6:00-9:00pm / Cost: Prix-Fixe menu, $95 per guest / Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one you love with an upscale, five-course, prix-fixe dinner prepared by our chefs at Ponte Vineyard Inn. Dine in our romantic, quiet dining room near a crackling fire, or al fresco on our intimate, heated courtyard. Cheers! View menu here. Reservations required: 951-676-7898

Super Bowl Sunday in The Cellar Lounge / February 4 / Game time 3:30pm / Cost: Menu Items $13 & up / Head to The Cellar Lounge to catch the big game on the big screen! Enjoy a delicious Gameday Menu, as well as draft brews, signature cocktails and Ponte wine on tap. View menu here.

sounds of a variety of musicians, from jazz sax and alternative contemporary to rock blues! / Time and Entertainment schedule varies / Free to attend / Visit www.pontevineyardinn.com for an entertainment schedule.

Happy Hour in The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn / Every Monday-Thursday / 4pm-6pm Free to attend / Head to Temecula Wine Country’s only cocktail bar, The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn, for happy hour specials on craft beer, flatbreads, Ponte wine on tap and more! Menu items $6 and up / For more information please visit www.pontevineyardinn.com

Brunch at Bouquet Restaurant / Every Saturday & Sunday / 7:30am-3:00pm / Offering indoor & outdoor seating options, Bouquet is the perfect spot to gather for a gourmet brunch. Enjoy a relaxing ambiance with stunning fountain courtyard, pond & vineyards views / To view menu and for reservations please visit www.pontevineyardinn.com.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Wine & Cupcake Pairing Tour / Every Friday & Sunday in February + Valentine’s Day / Begins at 3:00pm / Valentine’s Day just got sweeter! Every Friday and Sunday in February + Valentine’s Day, come join us for the ultimate Wine and Cupcake Pairing. Before you indulge, you will have a chance to take a tour and go behind-the-scenes of our working winery / Cost: $60 | $50 Wine Club / Reservation Information: Purchase your tickets at SouthCoastWinery.com

Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant / February 14 / 5:30pm – 9:00pm / Celebrate the most romantic day of the year with that special someone! Let us host you for a romantic 4-course prix fixe dinner in The Vineyard Rose Restaurant complete with a pre-selected bottle of South Coast wine per couple / $125 per person / Reservation Information: Reservations required on OpenTable.com

Wild Horse Peak Reserved Tastings / 10:00am – 6:00pm / Reap the benefits of wine tasting at South Coast Winery with our new bar set up with exclusive Wild Horse Peak wine tastings for our guests to try / Included with tasting ticket purchase / Reservation Information: No reservations required.

Winter Warmup at GrapeSeed Spa / Available February 1-28, 2018 / *Available Monday-Friday only / Start the New Year with a 50-minute Warm Stone Massage or 50-minute Epicuren Facial. Includes lunch & a glass of bubbly poolside / Cost: $115 / Reservation Information: Call to book today! 877.552.1731. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts.

Golden Bear Wine Tour / Saturday and Sunday / 11am-12:30pm, 2pm-3:30pm / This Tour will highlight why South Coast Winery has been awarded California Winery of the Year for the 4th year. You will be able to experience 8 of our award-winning wines paired with Chef Choice individual plates of California cuisine. You will also receive a logo wine glass to take home to remember your experience with us while you enhance your wine knowledge. Golden Bear Tours are offered Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 2pm. Space is limited, and advance reservations are required. Must be over 21 years of age to attend. This is a 75-minute walking tour followed a 45-minute food and wine pairing / Cost: $60 per person, $55 Wine Club / Call 866-994-6379 Ext. 7217 to reserve your spot today. 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.

Behind the Scenes Wine Tours / Tours are held daily at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3PM, Monday through Sunday/ $40pp; $35pp Wine Club Member / Learn more about our spectacular Southern California Temecula winery with a behind-the-scenes wine tour, from vineyards to crush pad. Each tour concludes with 5 wines paired with an individual plate of specially prepared lite-bite foods, designed to enhance your wine knowledge and experience / Reservation Information: Call 866-994-6379 Ext. 7217 to reserve your spot today / Due to the limited sizes of each tour, advance reservations are required with prepayment, and are non-refundable. Guests must be over 21 years of age to attend.

Sunday’s Live Musical Entertainment in Vintner’s Garden / 1pm-5pm /Join us for live music entertainment in our Vintner’s Garden / For a schedule of entertainment please visit www.southcoastwinery.com

Happy Hour at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant/ Monday – Friday: 3:00pm – 5:30pm, Saturday -Sunday: 3:30pm -5:30pm /Join us in our Vineyard Rose Restaurant lounge for appetizers, lite bites & pizzas / Reservations Recommended. 951.587.9463 ext. 7230

Late Night Happy Hour at The Vineyard Rose / Fridays and Saturdays / 9:00 – 11:00am / Looking for something to do late night in Temecula Valley’s wine country? South Coast Winery’s Vineyard Rose restaurant now has late night happy hour! / Cost: View Happy Hour Menu at South CoastWinery.com / Reservation Information: Reservations recommended – 951.491.8077

Thornton Winery
Café Champagne Valentine Dinner / February 14 / 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm /Valentine’s Plated Dinner: Four Appetizer Choices – Choose One appetizer. Four Entrée Choices – Choose One entrée. Three Dessert Choices – Choose One Dessert / Cost: $82.00 plus tax and tip / Reservations: Call (951) 699-0099

Friday Night Live Music / Every Friday night / 6pm-9pm / Free admission / Please visit our website for a schedule of performers at thorntonwine.com or call 951.699.0099. Reservations are a must for dinner table.

Wilson Creek Winery
Valentine’s Day Dinner / February 14 / 6-9pm / Delight in a romantic 4-course dinner with vineyard views / $150 per couple (includes a bottle of sparkling wine). Reservations required at www.wilsoncreekwinery.com

Bubble Brunch Buffet / Every Sunday / Enjoy all your breakfast favorites, omelet stations, waffle stations, seafood stations, carving stations and dessert stations with beautiful vineyard views / Buffet (+ unlimited sparkling): $51.95, Buffet only: $41.95, Children: $16.95 / Reservations can be made at www.wilsoncreekwinery.com.

Live Entertainment / Every Saturday and Sunday / 12pm – 4pm / Free to the public / For a list of scheduled performers, please visit www.wilsoncreekwinery.com.

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Temecula Valley Wine Country Celebrates 50 Years!

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Vincenzo & Audrey Cilurzo

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country.

The first commercial vineyard in Temecula Valley was established in 1968 by Vincenzo and Audrey Cilurzo.

Since then, the region has grown into a bustling wine tourism destination, with more than 50 licensed wineries, 70 growers, lodging, dining and entertainment among the vines, and more than 5000 domestic and international wine awards.

The theme for the 50th Anniversary is “The People, Passion and Perseverance,” underscoring wine country’s history, while highlighting the entrepreneurs who pour their hearts into growing quality grapes and making premium wines year after year. The theme will be woven into all events and programming throughout 2018, culminating in a vineyard celebration dinner in association with California Wine Month, harvest and the annual CRUSH event, Temecula Valley’s signature wine and culinary showcase. Stay tuned for more information on www.temeculawines.org. 

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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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White Wine and Cider Brined Roasted Turkey with Swiss Chard, Sausage, Apple, and Dried Plum Stuffing

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

A fruity cider and white wine steeped brine is key to this moist and flavorful turkey. Begin the brining process 2 days before roasting. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Merlot.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

A fruity cider and white wine steeped brine is key to this moist and flavorful turkey. Begin the brining process 2 days before roasting. Pair with California Chardonnay or Merlot.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Brine:
8 cups water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 small yellow onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 cups apple cider
1 bottle white wine

1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 small yellow onion, quartered
1/2 lemon, halved
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Brine and air-dry the turkey:
Bring the water, salt, sugar, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns to boil in a large pot, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat, add the cider and wine, and cool to room temperature. Place the turkey, breast-side up in a large container. Pour the brine over the turkey, adding more cold water, as needed, to cover. Refrigerate the turkey for 24 hours, turning the turkey once or twice in the brine.

Remove the turkey from the brine, discard the brine, and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours or overnight to allow the skin to thoroughly dry out. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting.

Roast the turkey:
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Loosely stuff the turkey cavity with the onion, lemon, thyme, and sage. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey in the oven, about 15 minutes per pound, or until the juices run clear when pierced at the thickest part of the thigh. Baste the turkey with the melted butter at first, and then the pan juices every 20 to 30 minutes. If the breast browns before the turkey is fully cooked, loosely cover with foil.

Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Loosely cover with foil and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Serve with Swiss Chard Stuffing (see below).

Swiss Chard, Sausage, Apple, and Dried Plum Stuffing:
12 ounces pitted dried California plums, about 20, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (1-pound) loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8 green Swiss chard leaves, about 12 ounces, ends trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock

Directions:

Combine the pitted dried plums and wine in a small bowl. Let stand while you prepare the stuffing.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
Toss the bread with 1/4 cup oil and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven until light golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Do not discard the fat from the skillet.

To the same skillet, add the apples and onion and sauté over medium heat until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chard and cook until the leaves wilt, about 5 more minutes. Stir in the dried plums and wine, the butter, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add to the sausage, then add the bread and chicken stock; stir to thoroughly combine.

Pour the dressing into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until brown and crisp on top, about 30 more minutes.

 

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California 

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Holiday Wine Pairing Guide

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017

Mom’s stuffing, Aunt Nancy’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 Robert Renzoni Vineyard & 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 Community Rallies to Provide Aid + Resources to Fire Victims

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

Our hearts are heavy for our friends and colleagues who’ve been affected by the devastating fires in Napa, Sonoma and Mendicino counties.   Several wine association leaders have formed a support network to organize resources and direct them to those in need.  Many have asked how they can help.  The following press release was distributed this morning.  If you’re able to offer any assistance, whether it be “on-the-ground” support or financial assistance, please contact the individuals listed below. #CAWineStrong

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (October 11, 2017)—Wine industry leaders have formed a support network to provide immediate assistance and long-term aid to victims of the fires ravaging Northern California and are calling on the national wine community for additional help. Organized by a group of association leaders representing the Golden State’s major winegrowing regions, support efforts include fundraising and creation of an online resource where vintners can find and offer resources, such as generators, trailers, lodging and manpower.

“Our focus right now is on getting on-the-ground support to impacted growers and vintners to help stave off further damage,” says Ann Petersen, Executive Director of Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley. “We need the entire wine community to support this region with immediate and strategic action.”

Petersen is working with other local industry leaders to organize resources and direct them to those in need.

Short-Term Help
Vintners in the affected areas have immediate on-the-ground needs, ranging from equipment to experienced manpower.

Priorities include:
• Water Tanks, as local water resources are scarce and needed by firefighters; those who can provide should immediately email maureen@sonomavalleywine.com
• Generators to power cooling tanks and other urgently-need equipment
• Tractors and trailers to assist with moving grapes, equipment and debris
• Lodging to house workers, including tents, mobile unites or locals willing to open their homes
• Volunteer Labor. Experienced vineyard and cellar workers are needed; unskilled manpower is also welcome

The group has created an online form where supporters can list available resources and provide contact information. Resource and contact information will be shared only with members of Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino winegrowing and vintner associations. Click http://bit.ly/2wNVda0 to offer resources.

Long-Term Help
Established community foundations in each of the counties impacted by the Northern California wildfires have created relief funds to provide aid to local fire victims. The group of regional leaders organizing the wine industry support effort encourages those who cannot provide ground support to make a donation in any amount to the following funds:

• Sonoma County Resilience Fund: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/1431417
• Napa Valley Community Foundation: http://napavalleycf.org/fire-donation-page/
• Community Foundation of Mendocino County: http://www.communityfound.org/for-donors/donate-today/community-funds/disaster-fund-for-mendocino-county/

“The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA wine community is heavyhearted today as we watch the continued impact of the wildfires on so many of our wine country brethren,” says Megan Metz, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. “It’s times like these that remind us how important the company of family and friends can be. We have banded together to help our friends as best we can to protect their businesses and livelihoods and will continue partnering on recovery efforts in the weeks and months ahead.”

Community-wide fundraising efforts are underway and messaging is being organized around the hashtag #CAWineStrong.

###

Media Contacts:

Ann Petersen, Executive Director
Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
annp@wdcv.com
(917) 558-3860

Michelle McCue, President
McCue Marketing Communications
michelle@mccuemc.com
(213) 204-4136

Megan Metz, Executive Director
Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association
megan@scmwa.com
(415) 728-8647

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It’s Squeezin’ Season! ~ A Harvest Update

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

It’s our favorite time of the year!  Here’s an article originally published in Wines & Vines that gives a great overview of harvest in Temecula Valley this year.

Temecula, Calif. – Despite a heat wave and unusual rains, the vintners and growers of Southern California’s Temecula Valley are generally pleased with the quality of fruit coming in this harvest season.

At South Coast Winery, Winemaker Jon McPherson oversees 56,000 annual case production of primarily Rhone and Spanish varietal wines, all estate-grown. The winery accounts for a large portion of Temecula’s 1,300 acres planted to wine grapes.

“It was great, early on,” McPherson said of summer temperatures, which remained in the 70s and 80s during the day and 50s and 60s at night, even as his team picked Pinot Noir for sparkling wine on July 17. “Then, that last week of August, we had the crazy heat that the rest of the state experienced, followed by a lot of monsoonal influence from northern Mexico and Arizona, with moisture fed by the hurricane off of Baja.”

Those conditions led to late-afternoon rains for two days, he said, with as many as 2” of rain falling in parts of the valley. “Most of our varieties hanging at the time were Bordelais, so they weren’t too badly affected,” he said. “We did have Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc out there, and we saw some rot issues start to manifest as we got into picking, but it dried up pretty quickly. Mostly, the heat just sped everything up. For those ten days, we were trying to get everything as quickly as we could.”

Varieties yet to be picked at South Coast Winery included Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and some Portuguese varieties, comprising 140 tons, with vineyard samples coming in at 23.5° or 24° Brix. “We’ll be wrapping up in the next ten days,” McPherson said.

At Hart Winery, winemaker Jim Hart estimated his team had brought in two-thirds of their fruit – about 60 tons. The winery produces around 4,000 cases per year. With the exception of Roussanne, all of Hart’s white varieties had been picked, including Sauvignon Blanc and Arneis; as well as a number of red varieties, including Sangiovese, Syrah, and Barbera. Like McPherson, Hart let his Bordeaux varieties — Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Sirah — continue to hang.

“We have ten acres and grow about 40% of what we make,” said Hart, whose family produces around 3,500 cases annually and is the longest-standing winery in the valley at 40 years old. “The rest we purchase, but it’s all Temecula Valley fruit.” He went on to describe the large scale of the Temecula Valley AVA at 33,000 acres, 1,300 of which are planted to vines in subregions that range from valley floor to mountains, desert to coastal-influenced conditions, and include a wide variety of soils like decomposed granite and volcanic.

Temecula is part of the four-county District 16 grape growing region, which accounted for 4,190 tons in 2016, according to the state’s Grape Crush Report.

In an effort to boost quality and identify the emerging region’s style and strengths, many winemakers commit to using only Temecula Valley fruit. But that commitment was put to the test in 2016 when heat and drought drastically reduced yields, by as much as 30% for some producers.

“We had a horrendous heat wave mid-June last year, right after a lot of us leaf-pulled” said Olivia Bue, who joined Robert Renzoni Vineyards as winemaker in 2013. “It got up to 115 degrees, so a lot of our grapes shut down and shriveled because there was way too much exposure. We also had minimal rain, as every region dealt with. We lost quite a bit of our yield; it was devastating for vineyard and winery owners.”

For the 2017 crop, however, Bue reports a significant increase in rain, which washed away much of the ground salts and brought pH into greater balance. “Harvest is really back to normal for what it was four years ago,” she said. “We’re seeing more varietal characteristics represented in the flavors of the grapes just because they’re staying on the vine longer and with slower maturation.”

With a focus on Italian varietal wines, Robert Renzoni Vineyards produces 18,000 cases annually, with a focus on lean, lower-alcohol wines to preserve acids. From the estate, Bue and her team make Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon and Barbera, in addition to Montepulciano sourced from the Temecula Valley which, Bue said, “grows incredibly well here.”

This year’s Sangiovese, she said, was picked two weeks later than last year’s crop, and is currently undergoing malolactic fermentation in barrel right now; the brand’s two Pinot Grigio wines came in at around 23° Brix and are already fermented, one of which is being stirred on its lees for creaminess and minerality while the other will be kept crisp, clean and bright. Cabernet Sauvignon is still hanging at about 24° Brix, as are Cabernet Franc and Tempranillo; Bue plans to pick most of the remaining fruit next week.

She recalled how, in 2014, the Pinot Grigio was ready to be picked by July 14, nearly four weeks ahead of schedule. “We’re definitely looking forward to lower pH, better acids and higher yields this year.”

Read more at: https://www.winesandvines.com/news/article/189801/Temecula-Wine-Harvest-Rebounding
Copyright © Wines & Vines

Photo courtesy of  Matthew Burlile 

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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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