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Posts Tagged ‘southern california wineries’

Wine Country Recipe: Crab Stuffed Lettuce Wraps

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Recipe provided by Cougar Vineyard & Winery

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Here in Temecula Valley Wine Country, we’re still seeing the warm days of summer, along with cool, crisp evenings…..just the kind of weather that makes the grapes in the vineyard happy!  If you are looking for a light, refreshing dish to serve on a warm summer afternoon, look no further….we’ve got it for you!

Ingredients:

3 (6-ounce) tubs fresh lump crab meat
1 1/2 cups chili sauce
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
Approximately 1 tablespoon hot sauce (per your taste)
Approximately 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (per your taste)
3 ribs celery from the heart with their greens, cut into chunks
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chunked
1 clove garlic, cracked from skin
1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
Coarse salt and black pepper
Oyster crackers, for garnish
1 large head iceberg lettuce, cut into 6 wedges

Place crab in a bowl and run fingers through it to check for pieces of shell.  Break up crab a bit with fingertips, but leave several large pieces.  Add chili sauce, lemon zest and juice, parsley, hot sauce and Worcestershire to the bowl and toss to combine.

In a food processor, process the chopped veggies into small bits by hitting pulse several times. Line a plate with a few sheets of paper towel.  Scrape veggies onto towel to remove liquids.  Transfer chopped celery, pepper, garlic and onions to the crab.  Stir to combine veggies and season the salad with coarse salt and pepper to taste.  Place crab salad in a serving bowl and top with crackers.  Surround the salad with lettuce “cups”.  Spoon the salad into the crunchy pieces of iceberg as you eat.

Pair with Cougar Vineyard & Winery “Bubbly”

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Dream Big: Falkner Winery

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Having watched the growth of Temecula Valley wine country for almost 20 years BEFORE buying their property allowed owners Ray and Loretta Falkner to really know what they were getting into…

Falkners
Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they came from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Dream Big :  With owners Ray and Loretta Falkner,  Falkner Winery
1.  So… you kept watch for almost 20 years and finally decided to pull the trigger and purchase a winery.  Why Temecula? Well, when we discovered Temecula back in the 1970′s, we weren’t initially ready to make the move from Dallas where we lived and worked.  But we kept coming back and actually visited the valley dozens of times during that time span.  Of course, as lifelong wine lovers, we visited wine regions throughout California and the world, but there was something intriguing about Temecula.  We loved the idea of buying into a relatively small growing area that we felt had enormous potential – and we knew we wanted to end up in Southern California.  And that’s exactly what we did!
2.  Tell us what it’s really like to own a winery: It’s a LOT of work, but we truly enjoy coming to work every day.  There’s not many businesses where you have the opportunity to meet your customers face to face; where you have an opportunity to ask them their opinion about your product. It’s made a lasting impression on us, as owners, to realize that so many of our guests appreciate our commitment to providing a quality product.  They thank us all the time.  That makes all the hard work worth it.
3.  So what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?  What’s the best part? We own a winery!  We control every aspect of our business and are involved in every decision.  We’re both very hands-on, and that takes an enormous amount of personal energy, but it’s the most rewarding thing either of us has ever done.  And every single day is different.  we’re living our dream.
4.  What’s the worst part? The late night calls and never really getting away from it all – even when we try to sneak in a vacation!  But no complaints; there are definitely more pluses than minuses.
5.  So… what’s in your glass?  Hmmmmm, we’re both really enjoying our 2010 Amante right now.  It’s a Super Tuscan blend and it’s tasting magnificent.  We find it’s the little things in life that make us most happy these days.  This is just the best job ever!

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here! #dreambig http://visitcalifornia.com/dream365 Subscribe to VisitCA channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/VisitCA Like VisitCA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VisitCA Follow VisitCA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VisitCA

 

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August Winery Events

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

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There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Temecula Valley Wine Country this summer.  The grapes love summer and so do we! From grape stomping events, wine making workshops, movies among the vines and evening concerts, we’ve got something for everyone.  Here are just a few events from which to choose.

Baily Vineyard & Winery

Sangiovese Saturdays at Carol’s
Saturdays in August
11:30a-3:00p
Live music and wine specials.

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 Boudreaux reds.
Call for reservations: 951-972-9768.

Briar Rose Winery

Sip Into Sunset
Friday, August 1
5:30p-9:00
Live music, food & wine.
Call 951-308-1098 to make reservations.  Seating is limited.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery

SIP, STOMP & PLAY
Saturday, August 2
6:00p-9:00p
$60 per person / $54 per person, Wine Club Members
$30 for children 4-11
Face painting, live music, dancing, grape stomping contests!

Prime Rib Fridays
Every Friday at Meritage at Callaway
5:00p-8:00p
Three-course Prime Rib dinner, wine specials & live music
$35 per person!

Sangria Sundays at Meritage at Callaway
Every Sunday at Meritage at Callaway
4:00p-8:00p
Live music and Watermelon Sangria

Falkner Winery

Sunday Concerts & BBQ
Every Sunday in August
12:00p-3:00p
Sangria, BBQ & dancing

Wine Appreciation Class
Saturday, August 16
10:00a-12:30p
$45 per person

Leoness Cellars

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

Painting in the Vines
Wednesday, August 20
4:00p
$50 per person
Create a painting while enjoying award winning wines, artisan cheese and views.

Harvest Vineyard Tour and Tasting
Tour of winemaking facility and wine tasting
90 minutes
$40 per person
Reservations required

Lorimar Winery

Live Music
Fridays & Saturdays 6:00p-9:00p
Sundays 2:00p-5:00p
August 1  - Shultz & Hamilton
August 2 – Michael LeClerc
August 3 – Annette Da Bomb
August 8 – Guilty Conscience
August 9 – Lance Dieckson
August 10 – Fuzzy Rankin
August 15 – Radical Pie
August 16 – Kepi Payne Project
August 17 – Lance Dieckson
August 22 – Kanan Road Band
August 23- Lifetime Rocker
August 24 – Buzz Campbell
August 29 – Oceans of Sand
August 30 – Master Splinter and the Shredders
August 31 – Michael LeClerc

Epicurean Cooking Demonstration
Wednesday, August 6
4:00p-6:00p
$25 (+tax) per person / Wine Club Members – $20 (+tax) per person
Interactive cooking demo preparing Pesto Sauce & Baked Salmon and Lorimar Wine pairing.

Movie in the Vines ~ Featuring: Ratatouille
Monday, August 25
Wine Bar and Concession stand will open at 6 pm.
$1 Admission – Includes small bag of popcorn!
Film begins at Sunset on the Barrel Room Lawn!
Bring your own beach chair or blanket!

2nd Annual Game Night
Tuesday, August 26
Begins at Sunset

Monte De Oro Winery

Fuel – Live in Concert
Saturday, August 23
Doors open at 6:00p
$55 General Admission / $105 VIP Dinner Seating / Wine Club discounts are available

Mount Palomar
Winery

Live Music
1:00p-4:00p
August 2 – Bodie
August 3 – Shameless
August 9 – Rum Soaked Raisins
August 10 – Harmony Road
August 16 – Bodie
August 23 – Journey Man Band
August 24 – 3 Blind Mice
August 30 – Entouraj
August 31 – Bodie

Bottles “n” Brushes (Painting Class with Wine!)
Wednesday, August 6
1:00p-4:00p
2 tickets for $80
Contact Dorothy Hawthorne at 951-302-3088 for more information.

Bottles “n” Brushes (Painting Class with Wine!)
Wednesday, August 20
1:00p-4:00p
2 tickets for $80
Contact Dorothy Hawthorne at 951-302-3088 for more information.

ESCAPE a Tribute to: JOURNEY Concert
Friday, August 22
7:00p-10:00p
For more information, please call 760-716-6295 or heyday@heyday.com

Oak Mountain Winery

Live Music in the Pavilion
Every Saturday and Sunday in August
1:00p-5:00p

Live Music & Food Trucks
Saturday, August 23
6:00p-9:00p
Live music by American Made and food truck fun!

Oak Mountain Winery University
2014 Spring Semester Classes
$15 per student; $12 for wine club members.  Classes run for one hour.

Bubbles 101 – Taste three of our handcrafted sparkling wines paired with artisanal cheeses.

Blending Reds – Create, bottle and label your very own blend

Wine Tasting for Dummies 101 - Our beginners class for Wine Tasters.

Rhone Wine Class 201 - Our second, more advanced class after taking Wine Tasting 101 is our Rhone Wine Tasting Class 201.

Bordeaux Wine Class 201 - You will learn how these grapes are grown and how they are harvested and processed.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Wine & Dine Chef’s Table at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Custom five-course menu paired with wine
$135 per person.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Divas in D’Vines
Every Sunday during football season
12:00p- 3:00p
Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Enjoy half priced mimosas, sangria and Spumante Diamante.

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.

Marvelous Mondays
Every Monday at Vineyard Rose Restaurant
5:30p to 9:00p
Half-priced bottles of select featured wines with the purchase of 2 entrees.

Behind the Scenes Winery Tour
Daily
11:00a and 1:00p
$40 per person; wine club members $35
Walking wine tour culminates
Private, plated wine & cheese pairing
Reservations strongly suggested.

 Thornton Winery

Summer Concert Series
Bobby Caldwell & Keiko Matsui
Saturday, August 2
7:00p
General Admission $70 per person; Gourmet Supper $145 per person

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave.
Saturday, August 23
7:00p
General Admission $75; Gourmet Supper SOLD OUT

Al Jarreau & Vincent Ingala
Sunday, August 24
5:00p
General Admission $70; Gourmet Supper SOLD OUT

Thornton Winery’s Chef’s Counter
Friday, August 29
7:00p
$125 per person, plus tax and tip
An interactive Chef’s Table in a private kitchen.
Five-course meal prepared right in front of you.
Seating is limited to 10 people, so reservations are a must!

Wiens Family Cellars

The English Beat Summer Concert
Friday, August 15
Doors open at 5:30p

Wilson Creek Winery

Live entertainment
12:00p-4:00p
August 2 – JD Priest
August 3 – Mark Norris
August 9 – Smoothie Jones
August 10 – Buzz Campbell
August 16 – Billy Watson
August 17 – Michael Le Clerc
August 24 – Astra Kelly
August 30 – JD Priest

Wine Academy – Summer Wine Pairing Experience
Saturday, August 9
11:00a-1:00p
$35 per person; $20 per person, wine club
Enjoy learning more about wine in an informal atmosphere.

Garratt Wilkin & The Parrotheads Concert
Friday, August 15
7:00p-10:00p
$35 General Admission; Wine Club $25 (limit 2)
The #1 Jimmy Buffet tribute band is back by popular demand.

Winemaker for a Day – Harvest Edition”
Monday-Thursday, August 18-21 (nightly)
$670 per person
One night stay at the Wilson Creek Manor, pick grapes in the vineyard, making wine in the cellar, delicious food, wine and more!
Space is very limited and reservations required.

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Wine Country Recipe: Summertime Sippin’ Sangria

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Sangria

This easy, summer cocktail made with wine, is perfect for big summer parties or an intimate get-together.  Although, as festive and refreshing as Sangria is, it’s always a favorite, so you may consider doubling the recipe!  And remember, the longer your batch of Sangria sits, the better the flavor will be.  Enjoy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 Bottle of your favorite Temecula Valley red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or Syrah)
1 Lemon cut into wedges
1 Orange cut into wedges
1 Lime cut into wedges
2 Tbsp sugar
Splash of orange juice or lemonade
2 Shots of gin or triple sec (optional)
1 Cup of raspberries or strawberries (may use thawed or frozen)
1 Small can of diced pineapples (with juice)
4 Cups ginger ale

Preparation:

Pour wine into a large pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the lemon, orange and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and pineapple then add sugar, orange juice and gin. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale, berries and ice just before serving. If you’d like to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice. However, remember that the best Sangria is chilled around 24 hours in the refrigerator;  allowing the flavors to really marinate into each other.

Here are a few Temecula Valley Wine suggestions to use for your Sangria:

Baily Winery ~ 2009 Merlot – Rich balance of fruit, silky tannins and just a touch of spice.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2011 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon – Dark fruit aromas of cassis, blackberry and black cherry laced with Madagascar vanilla.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2011 Zinfandel – Flavors of sweet blackberry and plum framed by soft tannins and a long, silky finish.

Thornton Winery ~ 2011 Estate Syrah – Berry and plum aromas, aged in limited new oak.

Recipe adapted from Stacy Slinkard on wine.about.com

 

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Dream Big: Robert Renzoni, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Friday, June 13th, 2014

What began as a hobby 129 years ago for his wine making great-grandfather has evolved into a life-long dream of a family business.  Robert is a 4th generation winemaker.  How many of us can say that?

Fano-Vineyards

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they came from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker Robert Renzoni, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Dream Big :  Robert Renzoni, Robert Renzoni Vineyards 1.  Robert…  we know what got you into the business, but what got you to Temecula? My family has purchased fruit from the Rancho Cucamonga area for over 75 years.  The first time my Dad visited the area he was just 9 years old!  We used to buy juice and ship it back to New York by rail in railcars that usually carried milk.  At that time, the area was among the largest winegrape growing regions in the United States. My family became very familiar with the area.  Ultimately, my parents moved from Buffalo, NY to Carlsbad.  At the time, I was living in LA.  My Dad was really excited about having a wine country so close to home.  We used to meet up in Temecula Valley wine country on Sunday afternoons. It struck us all almost immediately that ‘something’ was going on here!  2.  Tell us what it’s really like to own a winery: Well, it’s certainly not all glitz and glamour like people think.  It truly is a way of life.  And it’s a tremendous amount of work; people have no idea how dirty I actually get.  You really have to make a commitment of your time – and ALL of your resources.   3.  So what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?  What’s the best part? I absolutely love creating.  Every bottle of wine to me is like a song. I used to write and sing music as a creative outlet.  Now I make wine. Each vintage and varietal are new and different and I’m thoroughly convinced that I will NEVER get bored doing this.  And that’s the really fun part of what I get to do.   4.  What’s the worst part? Definitely the 5am alarm each day.  Ask me again in a year or so; after the effects of the construction project have worn off.  It’s been a tough year trying to get this project completed.   5.  So… if you could do it again, would you? Gosh, we just opened up our new Tasting Room Villa.  It’s been a lot of work for someone like me who tends to be a perfectionist.  But yeah, I guess I would.  I’m just waiting for the fun to start!

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here!

 #dreambig http://visitcalifornia.com/dream365

Subscribe to VisitCA channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/VisitCA

Like VisitCA on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VisitCA

Follow VisitCA on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VisitCA

 

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Big Dreamers: David Bradley, Vindemia Winery

Monday, May 26th, 2014

In the fourth installment of our continuing blog series “Big Dreamers,” we sat down with Temecula Valley veteran David Bradley who knows the vineyard landscape better than anyone else – from the air.  Long-time hot air balloon pilot and talented winemaker, David landed in Temecula Valley in 1985 and operates two successful enterprises on the same property. Learn about his story as a boutique California winemaker and balloon enthusiast below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they’ve come from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker David Bradley, Vindemia Winery

1.    What were you doing before owning and operating your winery?

I was introduced to the world of hot air balloons in 1977. In 1985, my wife Gail & I moved to California and started California Dreamin’ Balloon Adventures in the world’s most perfect weather. The next year we began flying in Temecula, CA, over wine country. There were eight wineries and one was for sale. I just didn’t have the money.

2.      What inspired you to want to buy a winery and what were the circumstances around choosing Temecula Valley, CA?

The winery started out just as a vineyard. If we owned a vineyard in a great location we could launch the balloons from the site and bring our guests back to the vineyard for breakfast. One day, I landed at this super-cool Provence-styled villa in the valley and was greeted by the owner. She was very nice and I asked if I could land here and visit again. The second time, I asked if she would ever sell her home. Four years later, I got a call asking if I would be interested in purchasing the house and winery site. That’s how Vindemia started.

3.      What were your expectations of the winemaker lifestyle at the beginning?  Were they way off or right on?

Winemaking is a contagious chess game pitting hopeful players against Mother Nature.  The truth to the myth is, 50 days each fall season with no sleep, 2:00am start times and mumbling pH, TA figures while recounting Brix over and over. You begin to feel like a pawn.

4.      People might think winemaking is glamorous.  Would you like to set them straight?

Winemaking is like all the arts – the project is never perfect. Sometimes it’s what’s not done that best finishes the structure; and the results haunt you, both good and bad.

5.      What is your least favorite thing about running a winery?  What is your most favorite – the reason you get up in the morning?

Least favorite is guests mistaking us as glamorous and missing the invitation to land on the farm and share in the pleasure of the fruit. And, the reason to get up… to see if Mother Nature moved her knight!

To learn more about California’s Big Dreamers, click here!

 

#dreambig
http://visitcalifornia.com/dream365

Subscribe to VisitCA channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/VisitCA

Like VisitCA on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/VisitCA

Follow VisitCA on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/VisitCA

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LAWineFest + Temecula Wines

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

The 9th Annual LAWineFest is this weekend!

Happening May 31 and June 1 at Hollywood’s Raleigh Studios. With hundreds of wines, craft brews and spirits on offer, the weekend-long festival is a relaxed, welcoming setting for people to explore the world of wine and more, alongside cool L.A. food trucks, live bands and handcrafted goods. LAWineFest proudly supports local organizations while serving as the Southland’s signature celebration of wine, beer, spirits and food.

Temecula Valley wines will be featured in their very own booth!  The region is proudly pouring:

REDS
Callaway Vineyard & Winery: Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Miramonte Winery: Tempranillo
Lorimar Winery: Trio – Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Mourvedre
Hart Winery: Syrah

WHITES
Falkner Winery: Sauvignon Blanc
Cougar Vineyard & Winery: Vermentino
Vindemia Vineyard & Estate Winery: Regatta de Blanc

SPARKLING
Wiens Family Cellars: Sparkling Amour De L’Orange
South Coast Winery: Sparkling Pinot Grigio

Be sure to stop by the Temecula Wines booth to sample all your favorites and try something new!

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Summer Concerts in Temecula Wine Country

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Summer is just around the corner, which means plenty of live music entertainment in Southern California’s wine country! So many Temecula Valley wineries have beautiful outdoor concert venues. Wineries are kicking off their summer concert series now through September. Whether you love jazz, rock or blues paired with your wine, Temecula Valley Wine Country has you covered.

Below is a short list of fabulous winery concerts and be sure to check out our event calendar, which is regularly updated throughout the summer!

Lorimar Winery, Temecula, CA
June 1, 2014
The Mercedes Moore Band is about to bring their sizzling, foot tapping, dance floor moving sound to Southern California. Led by the powerful, sultry and affecting voice of Mercedes Moore, this band will take any local venue by storm.

 

Wilson Creek Winery, Temecula, CA
June 8, 2014 
Relax and enjoy live entertainment every weekend in Temecula Valley Wine Country. On June 8, listen to the beautiful sounds of Buzz Campbell at the popular Wilson Creek Winery venue.

 

Falkner Winery, Temecula, CA
July 20, 2014
Join Falkner Winery for their free Spring/Summer Music and BBQ Series. Guests can purchase BBQ paired with the famous Luscious Lips Sangria. A veteran of the Southern California music scene, Jason Weber has been playing the saxophone for over 30 years. Don’t miss it!

 

Thornton Winery, Temecula CA  
August 24, 2014

Enjoy the music of Al Jarreau & Vincent Ingala at the beautiful Thornton Winery. General admission seating is available in rows of concert-style seats, as well as a limited number of small tables for four on a first-come-first-served basis.


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Temecula Spring Wines and Special Sparklers for Mother’s Day

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

May is a big month for wine and dine celebrations! Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, weddings and spring birthdays… So what Temecula Valley wines perform best in these lovely pre-summer months? And what’s the best seasonal fare to pair them with?

*Reminder tip! Get the most balanced flavor from your bottle by using the simple 15 minute rule for serving all wine: Pull whites and rosés out of the fridge 15 minutes before drinking; put reds in the fridge for 15 minutes before drinking.

 

Spring Whites: Crisp Vermentino and Floral Viognier-Rousanne Blend

Try some unique whites this spring and give your family something to talk about at the next picnic. How about…

Of Spanish-Mediterranean origin, Vermentino is often a grape used in white-wine blending. Relatively low in alcohol with crisp acids, Cougar Winery offers their 100% 2013 Vermentino for $17. Serve this white alongside grilled spring vegetables like asparagus, artichokes and charred green onions.

Palumbo Family Vineyards’ Brezza di Mare Viognier-Rousanne is a Rhone-style blend (meaning in the style of the Rhone wine region in the South of France) which sells for $19.95. Made up of 75% Viognier and 25% Rousanne, this food-friendly white blend has a minerality that goes nicely with fresh seafood (think chilled mussels and shrimp) or a charcuterie platter if you’re having a weekend get-together.

 

Spring Reds: Fruity Merlot and Spicy Tempranillo

Lighten up with some easy-drinking reds, perfect for a spring day or evening. We recommend…

Leoness Cellars focuses on sustainable practices in the vineyards and it shows in their wines. Try the fruit-forward 2010 Vineyard Selection Merlot, $55. This bottle is a great stand-alone drinker and has a high likelihood of being consumed before the food is finished cooking. But if you must pair it with your meal, serve with a medium-rare pork loin with cherry compote or a spring pasta tossed with early-season tomatoes, asparagus and caramelized spring onions.

Miramonte Winery offers an excellent quality 2010 Tempranillo for $38.95. Technically a blend (80% Tempranillo, 10% Grenache, 10% Cinsault), this Spanish red pairs well with cooked meats hot off the grill, like lamb chops and brats served with a side of grilled peppers and onions.

 

Special Wines for Mother’s Day: Sparklers and Spring Three-Packs

Think ahead and pop into one of these Temecula wineries for mom’s perfect brunch beverage. Our favorites…

For special toasts to mom, there’s nothing like a sparkler. But first, some background. What’s the difference between champagne and spumante? Well, it begins with the country of origin. For a sparkling wine to be officially designated as “Champagne” it must be made in the Champagne region of northeast France. Spumante (also known as Asti Spumante) is a sparkling white wine from the Piedmont region of Italy, made from Muscat Bianco grapes.

Champagne and spumante are crafted differently as well. Unlike Champagne, Asti is not made sparkling through the use of secondary fermentation in the bottle but rather through a single tank fermentation utilizing the Charmat method. While Champagne can land anywhere on the scale between sec (sweet) or brut (dry), Spumante tends to be on the sweeter side; another well-known version is Moscato d’Asti.

Ponte Estate offers two California bubblies: the popular Moscato and the beautiful Rose Spumante. Moscato – by itself or in a Mimosa with fresh OJ or tangerine juice – pairs perfectly with your Sunday Mother’s Day brunch (think Quiche Lorraine and fruit.) Its gentle bubbles will tickle your taste buds with mellow flavors of apricot and nectarine. Even better, pick up Ponte’s Sparkling Wine Trio for $92 (or $69 wine club sale.) You’ll get a bottle of Moscato 2012, Rose Spumante 2012 and Vernaccia Nera 2011.  This sparkling trio will certainly keep glasses filled throughout your Mother’s Day celebrations.

Another top winery choice for that special Mother’s Day bottle is South Coast Winery, which makes a variety of unique California sparkling wines like Pinot Noir Rosé, Pinot Grigio Sparkling and Spumante Diamonte. Pair these with your favorite brunch items – eggs benedict, french toast with strawberries and even a ham & cheese melt topped with powdered sugar (ala Monte Carlo.) And send mom home with a bottle, too.

Last but not least, Leoness Cellars has put together a hand-selected spring three pack for your Mother’s Day picnic: White Merlot, Grenache and Melange de Blanc. The White Merlot is a lovely pink hue, bursting with berry flavors. Melange de Blanc is a Rhone-style white wine blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne and pairs perfectly with seafood, soft french cheese and seasonal fruit like fresh strawberries. The Grenache is a soft and supple medium-bodied red (a warm-climate alternative to Pinot Noir) that matches the flavor of barbecued meats and light pasta salad. Remember to serve all three of these wines cool.

 

Happy Spring & Happy Mother’s Day from Temecula Valley Wine Country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Big Dreamers: Mike Rennie & Gary Winder, Leoness Cellars

Monday, April 28th, 2014

In the third installment of our new blog series “Big Dreamers,” we interview veteran wine experts and longtime partners Mike Rennie and Gary Winder, owners of Leoness Cellars on De Portola Road in Temecula Valley. When Mike and Gary founded their winery in 2003, they chose the name Leoness Cellars, which means “village of dreams” in Gaelic.

Farming citrus and avocados in the region as far back as the 1970′s, Gary teamed with up with fellow farmer and friend Mike to begin their viticulture journey in 1990.  They opened the first version of the tasting room in 2003 and the upgraded edition in 2006.  Now one of the most beloved and picturesque wineries in Temecula Valley, Leoness focuses on top quality wines, sustainable practices in the vineyards and first-class service in their tasting room and restaurant.

Photo Credit: Touring & Tasting

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with our Temecula Valley winemakers and winery owners. You’ll learn where they’ve come from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous art (and science) of making good wine in California.

Interview with Winery Owner and Winemaker Mike Rennie, Leoness Cellars

1.  What were you doing before owning and operating your winery?

Gary Winder and I have been farming in Temecula for many years. We farm not only wine grapes but citrus and avocados. This harvest will be Gary’s 64th.

2.  What inspired you to want to buy a winery and what were the circumstances around choosing Temecula Valley, CA?

Most wineries come from farming families. We truly wanted to taste the fruits of our labors so Leoness came about. And we wanted the world to know that Temecula Valley and the South Coastal region are as good as anywhere in the world to farm premium wine grapes.

 

3.  What were your expectations of the winemaker lifestyle at the beginning?

We didn’t have too many allusions of grandeur. As hard working farmers and having been around the industry for decades we knew the back side, so to speak. It all adds up to hard work, quality control and a lot of sweat.

 

4.  People might think winemaking is glamorous.  Would you like to set them straight?

There is a glamour side to wine. There is the romance that goes along with fine wine, great food and times with those you love. We love sharing these things with friends and wine club members. It still comes down to working in the dirt and hot sun, and attention to detail to grow the finest premium wine grapes. Great wine starts in the vineyard.

 

5.  What is your least favorite thing about running a winery?  What is your most favorite – the reason you get up in the morning?

My least favorite thing is when things don’t go right in our customer service area. We know there is no perfection, but that is what we attain to. When for some reason we miss the mark, it’s disappointing. What makes us the happiest is when we can share the perfect wine experience with our guests.

 

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