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It’s a Foodie Paradise!

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

leoness

Most guests who are new to our wine country don’t realize just how unique the Temecula Valley Wine Country really is. Although, there are several aspects that make us unique, our thriving culinary scene certainly stands out at the top of the list!  In fact, there are over 15 of our wineries that have restaurants or eateries on their property.  Top chefs from all over Southern California are taking up roots in Temecula Valley Wine Country and several Temecula winery restaurants have received national acclaim.

One such restaurant, The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars, was recently rated #1 Winery Restaurant by USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice.  Also voted Best Restaurant of the IE (Inland Empire) for 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, The Restaurant at Leoness features a variety of appetizers, colorful salads, unique flatbreads, and seasonal Chef Selections.

Additionally, The Restaurant at Ponte Winery was rated by OpenTable as one of the top 100 restaurants in the US for outdoor dining.  Their al fresco dining area is surrounded by vineyards and beautifully manicured gardens.

At Ponte Vineyard Inn, Bouquet Restaurant was recently awarded the TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence! Dine indoors or out in the fine dining setting located at the luxurious AAA Four Diamond Inn, surrounded by manicured Italian gardens with stunning views of the vineyard and our 1-acre pond. Or, if you’re just looking for a quick bite, the alluring and elegant underground Cellar Lounge is located on the basement level of the Inn and features signature cocktails, craft beer, gourmet entrées and small plates.

No stranger to winning awards, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vineyard Rose Restaurant has been the winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the past five years.  They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, pairing their seasonal menu expertly with their award-winning wines.

Be sure to visit one of our winery restaurants on your next visit to Temecula Valley, Southern California’s Wine Country.  You’ll be glad you did!

Additional award-winning Temecula Valley Winery Restaurants:

Avensole Restaurant & Marketplace –  As Temecula’s newest Wine Country restaurant, Avensole offers a charming place to savor eclectic foods and delicious wines in a lively atmosphere.

Breezeway Grill at Lumiere Winery – Enjoy beautiful vineyard and mountain views from the patio of the Breezeway Grill.  Try the new peaches and ice cream dessert made with Lumiere’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery – Walking into Carol’s is somewhat like walking into a medieval or European castle. The menu features a variety of beautiful entrée salads, appetizers, sandwiches, fresh fish, steak, and pasta dishes.

Bel Vino Bistro -Bistro diners enjoy an upscale American menu with plates such as the seared albacore sandwich, delicious signature flatbreads, and fresh seasonal salads inspired by Chef Nathaniel Philips.

Meritage at Callaway Winery – Sitting high atop Temecula’s breathtaking wine country, Meritage at Callaway offers guests incredible panoramic views of the rolling hills and vineyards. Guests can enjoy a delightful array of fresh, farm-to-table meals, made from scratch.

Sangio’s Deli at Cougar Vineyard & Winery – Want a quick meal in the midst of wine tasting?  Look no further than Sangio’s Deli.  All Salads and Sandwiches are made to order with Boar’s Head quality products. Sliced meats and cheeses are also available.

Pinnacle at Falkner Winery – The Pinnacle offers great panoramic views, outstanding Mediterranean style food, and high quality service. Critics have consistently praised the food quality, customer service, and great ambiance at Pinnacle.

Baba Joon’s Kitchen at Fazeli Cellars – Baba Joon’s Kitchen provides a unique – and extensive – Mediterranean Persian fusion menu that results in a perfect wine pairing experience.

Flower Hill Bistro at Miramonte Winery – The bistro offers a variety of craft food items from the Fromage + Tomato, to the amazing Roasted Veggie flatbread, to the glorious Piri Piri Half Chicken.

Monte De Oro Bistro at Monte De Oro Winery – Offering casual lunch fare – seasonal salads, Panini’s, and pasta dishes along with delectable appetizers including meat & cheese plates, hummus, and seasonal snacks.

Annata Bistro at Mount Palomar Winery – Annata Bistro/Bar has a full service bar, handcrafted signature cocktail menu, beer on tap, all of the Mount Palomar Wines you know and love, and a Mediterranean inspired menu.

Cave Café at Oak Mountain Winery – With a focus on small plates of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, with creative flavor and presentation, head chef Eric Celaya offers a menu with the variety necessary to create snack plates, tapas, light meals, full Mediterranean-style dining, or even just an intimate dessert.

Mama Rosa’s Trattoria at Robert Renzoni Vineyards – Pizzas, gourmet sandwiches and pasta rule the menu here.  Guest favorites include tortellini stuffed with braised short ribs, Gorgonzola cream sauce, garlic and Prosecco, and a meatball sandwich layered with sauce, salami, chili oil and Provolone, baked and finished with basil and Parmigiano.

Café Champagne at Thornton Winery – A breathtaking entrance to the Temecula Valley Wine Country, Café Champagne’s elegance combines with “Contemporary Fusion Cuisine” to create a well-rounded flair for the total gourmet experience.

Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery – Dine al fresco among the vines and enjoy casual, yet tasteful items fill the menu with delicious appetizers, gorgeous salads, scrumptious sandwiches, and of course Creekside seasonally inspired specials.

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September Winery Events

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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Nothing screams “Harvest Time!” more than a good old-fashioned grape stomp! September is always a busy time in Temecula Valley Wine Country; besides celebrating California Wine Month with the SIP Passport and annual CRUSH event, our wineries have a few celebrations of their own up their sleeves. You won’t want to miss all the excitement; plan your visit today! Here are just a few of the events happening.

Baily Vineyard & Winery

Sangiovese Saturdays at Carol’s
Saturdays in September /11:30a-3:00p
Live music, 1/2 price bottles of Sangiovese, food pairing featuring their new “Sangiovese Burger”.  Sangiovese Sangria by the glass of carafe. Buy a “Sangiovese Saturday” t-shirt, wear it when you come back and get a free glass of Sangiovese.

Dog Day Sundays
Every Sunday /11:30a-2:30p
Bring your well-mannered pooch to lunch!  Live acoustic entertainment.

Estate Club Private Wine Tasting
Thursday-Sunday / 11:00a-2:30p /
$20 per person; $10 per person for wine club
A preview of Baily’s outstanding 2011 Bordeaux Varietals at their exclusive production facility and Estate Tasting Room.  Experience a private winery tour, get a glimpse of the 2014 harvest activities and special case pricing available (mix and match!)  Call for reservations: 951-972-9768.

Briar Rose Winery

Sip Into Sunset
Friday, September 5 / 5:30p-9:00p
Live music by Buzz Campbell and fabulous food and wine.  Call 951-308-1098 to make reservations.  Seating is limited.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Prime Rib Fridays
Every Friday at Meritage from 5pm-8:00pm
Three-course Prime Rib dinner for $35 per person!  Special wine discount of 20% off Callaway wines by the bottle. Live music beginning at 6pm Reservations are not required.

Sangria Sundays at Meritage at Callaway
Every Sunday from 4pm-8pm  Watermelon Sangria and live music from. No cover charge and no reservations required.

Danza del Sol Winery

Live Music on the Patio
Saturdays in September / 1:00p-5:00p / September 6 – Samantha Schultz / September 13 – Samantha Schultz / September 20 – JD Priest / September 27 – Steroflux

Sip & Swirl – On Canvas Paint Class
Sunday, September 21 / 1:00p-4:30p / $60 per class, non member / $54 per class, Wine Club Member (all tickets are subject to 8% sales tax)

Get Sauced
Sunday, September 28 / 3:00p-5:30p / Cooking demo, class, & small plates.  Wine pairings and recipes to take home / $55 per person / $$49.50 per person, wine club (all tickets are subject to 8% sales tax).  Call Kelly at 951-302-6363 ext. 26 for reservations.

Doffo Winery

Wine Wednesdays
10:00a-5:00p
Every Wednesday through 2014 Doffo Winery will be offering a “winemakers selection” red wine from the tasting room for $25 per bottle (or a case at this per bottle price)

Art Class
Wednesday, September 10 / Sunday, September 28 /  11:00a-2:00p
$55 per person / $45 per person, wine club members
No art experience necessary to participate and you will leave with a lovely wine country themed painting, created by you and ready to frame!  Price includes all painting supplies, step by step instruction, a glass of Doffo wine and hors d’oeuvres (authentic empanadas available for purchase)

Falkner Winery

Sunday Concerts & BBQ
Every Sunday in September from 12:00p-3:00p.
Sangria, BBQ & dancing. No reservations necessary

Wine Appreciation Class
Saturday, September 20 / 10:00a-12:30p/ $20-$70
This class is designed for all ages and levels of wine knowledge.  Individuals can expect to learn about wine tasting, wine production, wine & food pairing and wine quality determination.

Leoness Cellars

Live Music
Every Friday in the Restaurant / 5:00p-8:00p
Every Saturday in the Barrel Room / 1:30p-4:30p
Every Sunday on the Patio / 1:00p-4:00p

Annual Grape Stomp
Saturday, September 20 / 6:30p-10:30p
Plated meal in the vines, wine, live music, dancing and stomping!  Join friends and family for our most anticipated event of the year!  For reservations, either call 951-216-7305 or e-mail to reservations@leonesscellars.com.  To assure your space, please RSVP no later than September 13, 2014.

Longshadow Ranch Winery

Bonfire Saturday Night
Every Saturday evening through October / 6:00p-10:00p
Family friendly / Mechanical bull rides, face painting and petting zoo for the kiddos.  Dinner available with RSVP ($8)

Strangelove – A Tribute to Depeche Mode
Friday, September 12 / Doors open at 6:00p
Tickets available at www.heyday.com

Bishon Fur Kids Fundraiser
Friday, September 19 / 6:00p-10:00p

Lorimar Winery

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

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

Grape Stomp & Harvest Festival
Saturday, September 20 / 4:00p-8:00p
Tickets include dinner, 2 glasses of wine, 1 commemorative etched wine glass to take home, participation in Grape Stomp and all Harvest Festival events. / $65 + tax, per person / $55 + tax, wine club members / $35 + tax, under 21.  Space is limited!  Get your tickets today!  Purchase tickets online at www.lorimarwinery.com or by calling 951-694-6699 xt. 4

Movie in the Vines
Monday, September 29 / Featuring: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory / $1 Admission – Includes small bag of popcorn!  Wine Bar and Concession stand will open at 6 pm. Film begins at Sunset on the Barrel Room Lawn! Bring your own beach chair or blanket!

Monte De Oro Winery

3rd Annual Grape Stomp and BBQ
Saturday, September 27 / 6:30p / Adults $34.95 / Kids $14.95 (4-13) Grape Stomp contest & prizes, outdoor BBQ, live entertainment, games, balloon glow and much, much more.

Mount Palomar Winery

Live Music
Enjoy complimentary music on the patio!  1:00p-4:00p

Grapestomp!
Sunday, September 14 / 11:00a-5:00p / $45 per person / $40 per person, wine club members
For reservations, please call 951-676-5047 ext. 7261

Take Steps Walk – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
Sunday, September 14 / 3:00p-6:00p
For more information, please contact Jackie Mizon at 619-497-1300 xt. 1604 or jmizon@ccfa.org

Oak Mountain Winery

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

Oak Mountain Winery University
$15 per student; $12 for wine club members.  Classes run for one hour.  To sign up, call or text 951-880-8840

Bubbles 101 –  Learn fun facts you always wanted to know about sparkling wines and champagne.

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.

Ponte Family Estate Winery

4th Annual Movie Night for Charity – Despicable Me 2
Friday, September 12 / 6:30p
The event is free, but all proceeds from the night’s food and beverage sales and the silent auction will go to Rancho Damacitas, a Temecula charity dedicated to helping underserved children and victims of child abuse.  For more information, please visit www.pontewinery.com

Grape Stomp
Sunday, September 29 / 4:00p-9:00p / Gourmet food, wine music and a Stomping Good Time!

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Wine & Dine Chef’s Table at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Whether it’s a special celebration or an intimate affair, our Chef’s Table dinner for 2 to 8 guests will define the art of fine cuisine with a memorable evening of food and wine for only $135 per person. Call 951-491-8077 to reserve your table today.

Divas in D’Vines
Every Sunday during football season from 12p – 3p in the Vineyard Rose Restaurant. Enjoy half priced mimosas, sangria and Spumante Diamante. Reservations Recommended. Call 951-587-9463 x 2

Vintage Vantage Menu
Monday-Thursday 11:30a -3:00p
Specially priced $9.99 lunches for those aged 55 and over. Call 951-587-9463 x 2 for more information or reservations.

Marvelous Mondays
5:30p-9:00p
Enjoy half-priced bottles of select featured wines with the purchase of 2 entrees.  Call 951.587.9463 today or visit here.

Behind the Scenes Winery Tour
Daily / 11:00a and 1:00p / Get up close and personal with the real workings of a winery during a harvest crush.  This $40 walking wine tour culminates with a private, plated wine & cheese pairing. Wine Club Members, enjoy the tour for just $35 per person.   Reservations strongly suggested:  Call 951.587.9463 x7219.

Wiens Family Cellars

Robin Zander Band (from Cheap Trick)
Friday, September 12/ Doors open at 6:00p
For tickets, please visit www.goldencrownproductions.com

Wilson Creek Winery

“Winemaker for a Day – Harvest Edition”
September 19-20 (nightly)
Spend a night in our exclusive retreat, Wilson Creek Manor and enjoy picking grapes in the vineyard, making wine in the cellar, delicious food, wine and more! / $670 per person / Due to the nature of this unique experience, space is very limited.  Please call and reserve today: 951-699-9463

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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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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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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.

 

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

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Temecula April Winery Events

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Spring has sprung and the wineries are also preparing for some fun seasonal events that will get you partying in floppy hats and pastel colors. Come socialize, taste some wine, and see for yourself what everyone is talking about!

Baily Vineyard & Winery
Easter Egg Hunt for Doggies
Sunday, April 20 / 11:30a-2:30p
Bring your well-mannered pooch to lunch and an egg hunt

Dog Day Sundays
Every Sunday / 11:30a-2:30p
Bring your well-mannered pooch to lunch

Estate Club Private Wine Tasting
Thursday-Sunday / 11:00a-2:30p
Tours and vertical tasting of Boudreaux reds
Call for reservations: 951-972-9768.

Bel Vino Winery
Wine Down at Bel Vino with Live Music
Every Saturday and Sundays for live entertainment! 12:00p-4:00p
April 5-Bruce Glover
April 6- JD Priest
April 12-Shoot 4 Tuezdays
April 13-Mor Sol
April 19 – The Counterfeits
April 26 – The “B” Players
April 27 – Tim Cash

Briar Rose Winery
Friday Night Sunset
April 18 / 5:30p-9:00
Sunset and live music by Buzz Campbell while enjoying food and wine.
Call 951-308-1098 to make reservations.
Seating is limited.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Prime Rib Fridays
Every Friday at Meritage from 5p-8:00p
Three-course Prime Rib dinner for $35 pp
Reservations are not required. No cover.

Sangria Sundays at Meritage at Callaway
Every Sunday at Meritage from 4p-8p in the main dining room.
Watermelon Sangria & live music from local musicians begins at 5pm.
No cover charge and no reservations required.

Falkner Winery
Spring/Summer Music, Sangria and BBQ Series
12:00p-3:00p /Sundays from April through October
Free music and guest can purchase BBQ & Luscious Lips Sangria!
Kick off series with featured artist Jason Weber.

Easter Champagne Brunch
Sunday, April 20 / 10:00a-3:30p /
Champagne brunch, live music & Mediterranean style food
pecial Easter gifts will be given to all children
$49.95+ pp/ Members & guests $44.95+, Children 3-10 are $19+ (wine club $15+)
Free for children under 3.

Leoness Cellars
Pre-Harvest Winemaker Dinner
Saturday, April 5 / 6:30p
5 course wine paired dinner featuring guest Chef Michael Cragg
$106 + tax pp / $96 + tax pp, Wine Club
For reservations call 951-302-7601 ext. 150 or e-mail reservations@leonesscellars.com

Live Music
Fridays / The Restaurant at Leoness / 5:00p-8:00p

Live Music
Sundays / Patio at Leoness Cellars / 1:00p-4:00p

Longshadow Ranch Winery
Bonfire Saturday Night
Sat April 19 / 6:00p-10:00p
Live music, dancing, wine, mechanical bull rides
No admission / parking fee / reservations required for parties of 12+

Lorimar Winery
Epicurean Demonstration – “Molecular Gastronomy”
Wed April 2 / 4:00p-6:00p
Join Chef Patrick for the interactive cooking demo
$25+tax pp / Members $20+tax pp.
Purchase tickets in the tasting room, email events@lorimarwinery.com or call 951-694-6699 xt. 4.

Live Music
Fridays & Saturdays 6p-9p / Sundays 2p-5p
April 4 – Shultz & Hamilton
April 5 – Mrs. Jones Revenge
April 6 – Steven Ybarra
April 11 – Cougrzz Rock
April 12 – Missy Anderson
April 13 – David & Olivia
April 18 – Guilty Conscience
April 19 – Oceans of Sand
April 25 – Mrs. Jones Revenge
April 26 – TBD
April 27 – Sal and Brennan

Laugh Your Glass Off – Comedy Show
Thur April 24 / 7:00p-10:00p /
Night of comedy
General admission in the Barrel Room $35 pp / $30 members
MATURE AUDIENCE ONLY
Purchase tickets in the tasting room, e-mail events@lorimarwinery.com or call 951-694-6699 ext. 104

Movie in the Vines
Mon April 28
Indiana Jones; Raiders of the Lost Arc
Wine bar & concession stand will be open at 6:00p
Film begins at sunset. Bring your own beach chair or blanket!

Mount Palomar Winery
Live Music
Complimentary music on patio! 1:00p-4:00p
April 5 – The Barstow Prophets
April 6 – Mariner
April 12 – Harmony Road
April 13 – Bodie
April 19 – Joachim Nordensson
April 26 – Danielle Taylor
April 27 – 3 Blind Mice

Bottles “n” Brushes
Thursday, April 24 / 1:00p-4:00p
Painting class with wine

Oak Mountain Winery
Sizzlin’ Saturday
Sat April 19 / 5:00p-9:00p/ $1.00 admission
Join us for tasty American/Mexican fusion from Chubbys.

Pet Fair
Sun April 6 / 11:00a-5:00p /Free admission
Join local rescues and vendors at the Oak Mountain Winery Pet Fair.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Earth Day Wine Tours
April 21-25 / 3:00p
Hands-on introduction with the sustainable winegrowing standards of California’s State Winery of the Year.
Explore our vineyards with 90-minute guided tour
$50 pp/ $45 Club but space is limited and reservations are a must.
Visit WineResort.com or call now to reserve your place 800-539-1375.

Elegant Wine Country Easter Brunch
Sunday, April 20 / 10:00a-3:00p
Brunch fare at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vineyard Rose restaurant
Kids enjoy Easter egg hunts and meet the Easter Bunny.
Cost is just $60 Adults/$22 Children.
Reservations are limited and required.
Visit WineResort.com for complete menu or call now to reserve: 951-491-8077

Go Green with Va Va Verde
April 1-30, 2014 / 105 pp
50-minute full body ‘therapeutic’ massage
Receive a $20 spa voucher towards any $85+ spa treatment on return
Book by calling 800-539-1375.

Wine & Dine Chef’s Table at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant
Ccustom five-course menu just for you.
Winemakers then pair each course with wines
For 2-8 guests, $135 pp
Call 951-491-8077 to reserve your table today.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s WINOS (Women In Need of Serenity)
Monday-Thursday / 11:30a-2:30p
Unique wine-themed items available for purchase
Half price Mimosas, Sangria & glasses of select wines
$2 off all appetizers / Call for Reservations 951-587-9463 x 2

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Divas in D’Vines
Every Sunday during football season from 12:00 to 3p
Enjoy half priced mimosas, sangria & Spumante Diamante.
Reservations Recommended. Call 951-587-9463 x 2

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vintage Vantage Menu
Mon-Thur 11:30a -3:00p
$9.99 lunches -Vineyard Rose Restaurant, 55&over
Call 951-587-9463 x 2

“Happiest” Days of the Week
Mon-Fri 4:00p-5:30p / “Happy Hour”
Discounted appetizers, local draft beers and South Coast wines.
Happy Hour with dinner in the Vineyard Rose Restaurant.
Visit WineResort.com or call 800-539-1375 today.

Marvelous Mondays
5:30p to 9p each week
Half-priced bottles of select wines with the purchase of 2 entrees
Call 951.587.9463 today or visit here

Wine Down Wednesdays
Enjoy live music & half-priced select appetizers w/ purchase of 2 entrees
Enjoy with our Winemakers Reserve bottles of South Coast Wines.
Call 951.587.9463 today or visit here

Behind the Scenes Winery Tour
Daily / 11:00a and 1:00p / $40pp / Members $35pp
Stroll the vineyards and the winery
Private, plated wine & cheese pairing with a Wine Concierge.
Reservations strongly suggested: Call 951.587.9463 x7219.

Thornton Winery
Thornton Winery’s Chef’s Counter
Friday, April 25 / 7:00p / $125 pp
Interactive Chef’s Table in a private kitchen
Five-course meal /Seating limited to 10 people
For reservations, call 951-699-0099

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Wine Country Recipe: Grapefruit Curd for Breakfast or Dessert

Monday, March 10th, 2014

 Recipe courtesy of Europa Village Winery and Chef Dean Thomas, Inn at Europa Village


This Grapefruit Curd one of the classic breakfast starts at The Inn at Europa and is also great for a light spring dessert.

Europa Village Garnacha Rosa is a perfect pairing with the slight dry-sweet approach to offset the tartness and burnt sugar flavors.

Ingredients:

2 each Ruby Pink Grapefruit, zest & juiced

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1 whole egg

4 each egg yolk

3 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 piece banana, 2 whole bananas

8 tbsp Sugar in the Raw

1/2 pint seasonal berries

8 each Pink Grapefruit Supremes (segments)

Sprinkle of local bee pollen (optional)

Method of Preparation:

  1. Using a stainless steel sauce pan, mix the cornstarch and sugar together. Add the grapefruit juice and zest. Bring to a simmer.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whip the egg and egg yolks.  Slowly add the cooked grapefruit-sugar mix while whipping to temper the eggs (do not cook to scramble.) Add the two ingredients together; remove from the stove and finish with the butter. Cover and chill.
  3. For service, place 2 tablespoons of the curd onto a plate. Top with the quartered banana and sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw on top. Using a flame torch, burn the sugar until completely dark and slightly smoking. Garnish with seasonal berries, grapefruit segments and bee pollen.

Bon Appetit!

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February Winery Events in Temecula Valley

Monday, January 27th, 2014

 

Love is always in the air in Temecula Valley, CA. This month, your local wineries have especially amorous offerings set against the backdrop of the most beautiful vineyards in Southern California. Check out the top romantic events in Temecula Valley wine country and see what February fun is in store for you!

Europa Village Winery

 

Baily Vineyard & Winery

Valentine’s Lunch at Carol’s  
Feb 14, 11:30a-2:30p $25 pp / Live Music
Reservations required & credit card necessary for reservations.
Call 951-676-9243.

Valentine’s Dinner at Carol’s
Feb 14 / 6:00p-9:00p / $75 pp / Live music
Reservations required & credit card necessary for reservations.
Call 951-676-9243.

Dog Day Sundays
Every Sunday / 11:30a-2:30p
Bring your well-mannered pooch to lunch

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.

 

Bel Vino Winery

Wine Down at Bel Vino with Live Music
Every Saturday & occasional Sundays / 12:00p-4:00p
Feb 1-Never Easy
Feb 8-Michael LeClerc
Feb 15-JD Priest
Feb 22-Lazy Susan

 

Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Valentine’s Dinner at Meritage at Callaway
Feb 14 / 4:00p seating: $60 pp; 6:00p & 7:30p seatings: $80 pp
Four-course gourmet dinner & live music
For reservations, call 951-587-8889.

Sangria Sundays at Meritage at Callaway
Sangria, Tapas Specials and Live Music from 5:00p-7:00p

 

Churon Winery

Valentine’s Day Wine Pairing Dinner
Feb 14 & Feb 15 / 6:00p-9:00p / $163.80 per couple inclusive

Cougar Vineyard & Winery

Super Chili Bowl
Feb 2 / 3:00p-8:30p / Enter Cougar’s Super Chili Bowl!
Pricing: Competitors $10pp, wine club $20pp, non wine club $25pp
Call 951-491-0825

 

Europa Village
Friday Night “Live”
Live music w/ free admission / 5:30p-8:30p
Feb 7 – Anastasia Genes
Feb 21 – Alex Frizos
Feb 28 – Desert Rose

Sunday Afternoon Entertainment
Feb 9 – Leo Gosselin
Feb 16 – Johny Ray Price
Feb 23 – TBD
Valentine’s Day Dinner Play – “Immortal Beloved”
Feb 14 & Feb 15 / 6:00p / Tickets (table of 8) $99 pp; Club $89.10 pp
Tickets (table of 2) – $125 pp; Club $112.50 pp.
4-course gourmet dinner / For tickets, click here

 

Falkner Winery

Wine Appreciation Class
Feb 8 / 10:30a-2:30p / $65 pp / Members $60 pp / VIP $20 pp
3+ hour class includes lunch
Call 951-676-8231 ext. 109 or click here

Valentine’s Weekend Lunch
Feb 14 – Feb 16 / $55 pp, plus tax and gratuity
For menu info please click here

Valentine’s Weekend Dinner
Feb 14 & Feb 15 / 5:30p-9:00p
4 course wine paired dinner w/ live music
$79  pp / $74 pp Member / $69 pp VIP
For info, click here

 

Frangipani Estate Winery

Valentine’s Day Dinner
Friday, Feb 14 / 6:30p / $79 pp
4 course wine paired dinner / live music
Call today for reservations! 951-699-8845

 

Keyways Vineyard & Winery

2 1/2 Hour Winemaking Tasting Tour
Every Mon and Fri at 12:00p / Sat & Sun at 10:00a & 1:00p
$29 pp/ Reservations required zat 951-302-7888

 

Leoness Winery

Great Gatsby Dinner Dance
Feb 14 / 6:30p-10:00p / 20’s attire contest
5 piece band, duo entree plated meal, glass of wine
$105pp members and $115pp retail

Lorimar Vineyards

Valentine’s Day
Live Music from 6 – 9 pm
SPECIAL OFFERS:
2 Become 1 Deal 
Select Glasses and Bottles will be available at 2 for 1 prices
– A Night for 2 –
Only $50
Includes: 1 Bottle of Grenache Sparkling, 2 Stoltz champagne glasses
2 chocolate covered strawberries, and 1 supreme pizza
*Special Date Night seating will be available in Wine Country

 

Longshadow Ranch Winery

Urban Skies – A tribute to Keith Urban
Feb 1 / 6:00p-10:00p
Taco bar for purchase / 2 drink min purchase
Reservation required or 760-716-6295 / 951-587-6221

 

Mount Palomar Winery

Valentine’s Dinner
Feb 14 & Feb 15 / 5:00p-9:00p / $75 pp / $70 pp club
3 course dinner & wine w/ Sangiovese & champagne
Call 951-676-5047 ext. 118 for reservations or click here

 

Oak Mountain Winery

Wine Blending Party
Feb 1 / 6:00p-9:00p / $45 pp; $40 pp members
Two hours blending and tasting as you craft your very own wine!
Menu by Bushfire Grill.

Cooking Class and Wine Pairing Night
Feb 7 / 6:00p-9:00p / $65 pp
A night of food, fun and wine!

 

Ponte Family Estate

Valentine’s Dinner
Feb 14 / 6:30p-10:00p / $95 pp, $85.50 pp members
Sparkling wine reception, 4-course dinner and dancing.
To purchase your tickets call 951-694-9444 or visit here.
Romance Package here.

 

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s WINOS (Women In Need of Serenity)
Mon-Thur / 11:30a-2:30p
Half price Mimosas, Sangria and glasses of select wines
$2 off all appetizers / Call for Reservations 951-587-9463 x 2

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Divas in D’Vines
Every Sunday during football season from 12:00 to 3p
Enjoy half priced mimosas, sangria & Spumante Diamante.
Reservations Recommended. Call 951-587-9463 x 2

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Vintage Vantage Menu
Mon-Thur 11:30a -3:00p /
$9.99 lunches -Vineyard Rose Restaurant, 55&over.
Call 951-587-9463 x 2

Marvelous Mondays
5:30p to 9p each week.
Half-priced bottles of select wines with the purchase of 2 entrees.
Call 951.587.9463 today or visit here.

Wine Down Wednesdays
Enjoy live music & half-priced select appetizers w/ purchase of 2 entrees
Enjoy with our Winemakers Reserve bottles of South Coast Wines.
Call 951.587.9463 today or visit here.

Thursday Night Mixers
Single and want to mingle?
Thursday Nights 6 pm to 9 pm.
Regular price $15; Thur Evenings $10. Click here.

Behind the Scenes Winery Tour
Daily / 11:00a and 1:00p /
$40 pp walking wine tour / Members $35 pp.
Reservations strongly suggested:  Call 951.587.9463 x7219.

Hearts and Chocolate Wine Club Pick Up Party at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Feb 9 11:30-5:30p in Grand Ballroom
Wine Club Members
Featured films to be announced.
Free admission for Wine Club member & up to 4 additional guests.
Reservations Required. Call 800-539-1375 X7210 today.

Delight in a Romantic Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant

Feb 14
5:30 to 9p
Fine wine, great food, seductive music & romance
Reservations Required; reserve early for best selection
800-539-1375 Ext 7237.

“El Presidente” – Exclusive Wine Club Service
Feb 17th
11:30 a to 5:30 p
For Wine Club Members
Bring along up to 4 friends for a really good day.

Champagne & Chocolate Celebration at the GrapeSeed Spa
Daily in Month of Feb/ 8a to 6p Mon – Thur 8 a to 7 p Fri – Sun
50-minute service
Topped off with chocolate truffles & a glass champagne
Call 800.539.1375 ext. 3
BOOKING CODE: CHAMPAGNE & CHOCOLATE

 

Thornton Winery
Thornton Winery’s Chef’s Counter
Feb 28 / 7:00p / $150 pp inclusive
Interactive Chef’s Table in a private kitchen
Seating is limited to 10 people, reservations required
Call 951-699-0099.

Valentine’s Romantic Rendezvous
Feb 14 / 7:00p
For reservations, please call 951-699-0099

 

Wilson Creek Winery
Valentine’s Dinner
Feb 14 / 7:00p-10:00p / $80 pp; $72 pp member
5-course dinner in the Champagne Ballroom.
Complimentary bottle of champagne
Reservations required by calling 951-699-9463

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wine Country Recipe: Molten Chocolate Cake with Dessert Wine Pairing

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Valentine’s Day Molten Chocolate Cake

Recipe provided by Temecula Valley’s South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, The Vineyard Rose

Ingredients:

10 oz.  dark chocolate

1 stick butter

½ cup egg yolks (4)

1 cup egg whites (8)

4 oz. (1/2 cup) powdered sugar

Cordial

  • Dark chocolate 4 oz.
  • Cream 4 oz.
  • Maraschino cherries 1/4 c
  • Maraschino cherry juice 2 tb

 
Ice cream (optional)

 

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate and butter on a double boiler or in the microwave oven (cook and stir in 45 second intervals when using microwave).  Let cool.

2. When melted, stir in egg yolks very slowly while whisking.

3. In an electric mixer, whip egg whites till they begin to foam. Add sugar and whip egg whites until stiff peaks. (Be careful not to get fat of any kind mixed into the whites or they will not rise.)

4. When egg whites have doubled and formed stiffed picks, gently fold whites into the chocolate mix.

5. Grease a soufflé dish, fill the dish 3/4 full with mixture. Place the cordial sauce into the center of the mix. Bake at 400 for about 12 mins. The edges should be cooked and cakey, while the center nice and liquidy. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy. Garnish with mint, whipped cream or raspberries. Delicious when accompanied by ice cream.

 

Pair with South Coast Winery Resort & Spa’s Romanza – a sweet blend of Merlot, Muscat and Touriga Nacional; $18

 

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5 Reasons to Visit Temecula Valley During the Week

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Your favorite Southern California wine region is getting busier by the year. What’s a loyal visitor to do? Here are 5 great reasons to visit Temecula Valley wine country on a weekday:

 

1.  10% Off Your Lunch.

Temecula wine country is home to 12 delicious eateries (and counting) and most of these restaurant spots are hot come Saturday & Sunday. Reservations are required and tables are at a premium. Why not dine Monday-Friday and take advantage of the region’s coupon page which offers 10% off your al fresco favorites; including Meritage at Callaway, Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek, Cafe Champagne at Thornton and many more. Bon appetit!

Cafe Thornton, Thornton Winery

 

2.  No Lines. Anywhere.

Weekday visitors don’t miss waiting in line for anything in wine country. Forget lines to get into (or out of) the parking lot, waiting for the tasting room staff to come back with your next pour, putting your name in for a table or even the cue for the bathroom. Hello, weekday – goodbye, lines.

Miramonte Winery Patio

 

3. One-on-One Attention in the Tasting Rooms.

Weekends in any California wine country is always the most popular time to taste. But wine lovers come to the vineyards to experience what they can’t at home in their dining room: a personal, one-on-one experience. When the pace is slower at Temecula Valleys’ wineries, it’s common to strike up a conversation with the tasting room manager who ends up pulling in the winemaker from the barrel room to answer your random question about oak vs. stainless steel aging. On slower afternoons, your server might call the chef out of the kitchen to let you know what local farm your chicken came from. And there’s more time to bond in the tasting room with new friends over your shared love of good vino.

Damian Doffo, Doffo Winery

 

 

4.  Less Expensive Tastings, 2 for 1 Coupons and Happy Hours.

When it comes to wine tasting, the Monday through Thursday crowd can taste some of the same weekend wine flights for a little less. Indulge in weekday happy hours at favorites like South Coast, Danza del Sol and Ponte; and don’t forget your weekday 2 for 1 tasting coupons to a whole slew of top Temecula wineries.

 

5.  Great Hotel Rates.

Go ahead and spend the night on a Wednesday. Temecula hotels are eager for your mid-week business and they show it with their low weekday rates. Even though Temecula Valley is conveniently located near all major SoCal cities, after a day of touring and tasting, you’ll be safe and sound knowing your hotel room has already been booked – instead of having to gear up for a late-night drive home.

Ponte Vineyard Inn

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