Posts Tagged ‘temecula wines’

Primitivo Braised Short Ribs

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

When our friends over at Wiens Family Cellars suggested that their 2014 Primitivo and short ribs go together like peanut butter and jelly, we were intrigued!  We figured we’d try it ourselves with this amazing short rib recipe and see if they were right.  Sure enough, their Primitivo most definitely is a “Short Rib Stunner.”  Why don’t you try for yourselves?



Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat ribs dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on all sides.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate, then add the garlic and stir until softened but not brown, about 1 minute. Carefully pour in the wine, bring to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup. Add the ribs and any juices they have released back to the pot along with the stock. Reduce the heat and bring to a simmer, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven, to braise, until the meat easily falls off the bone, about 3 hours.

Transfer the ribs to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Simmer the liquid, skimming fat as necessary, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Transfer the ribs and sauce to a serving dish and serve.


February Winery Events

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Avensole Winery
Valentine Couples Dinner at the Restaurant / February 10-14, 2017 / 11:00a-8:00p / Indulge your senses with a romantic prix fixe Valentine’s 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 / Includes one glass of Explore wine or beer per person. Special cocktail for the weekend: P.S. I Love You Martini / Cost: $150 per couple / Please call our concierge to make your reservations: 951.252.2003 ext. 301.

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 x305 to reserve.

Gourmet Cheese Artisanal Tour & Wine Tasting / Available on Friday of each month / 2pm-4pm / For the ultimate Wine Country experience, delight in an educational tour through our vineyards. Avensole Winery boasts some of the oldest vineyards in Temecula Valley, combined with the newest amenities, and has become the destination for wine lovers. Conclude this tour with a culinary treat pairing 7 Avensole wines with local gourmet Mangia Cheese, guided by our wine experts / Cost: $75 / Reservations required. Please call 951-252-2003 x305 to make a reservation.

Live Music in the Restaurant and Marketplace Friday and Saturday from 5p-8p / Guests of Avensole’s Restaurant are in for a culinary treat. Avensole offers a charming place to savor eclectic foods and delicious wines in a lively atmosphere.  The vibrant indoor and outdoor setting creates a perfect venue to gather and relax with your friends and family while you sip you favorite Avensole wines and enjoy the wide array of craft beers and cocktails offered / All free and open to the public. Please feel free to call our Concierge 951.252.2003 x301 and reserve table for dinner or join our bartenders for drink at our bar / For a list of entertainment schedule please log on to

Live Music on the Tasting Room patio Saturday & Sunday from 1p-4p / Enjoy live music at the Tasting Room patio with views over the vineyards. Gourmet Mangia cheeses are available for purchase to complement Avensole wines, and cheese and charcuterie platters are available to order from the Restaurant / All free and open to the public.  Open seating at the Tasting Room patio.

Baily Winery
Valentine’s Day Lunch at Carol’s Restaurant / February 10, 11 & 12 / 11:30a-3:00p / Enjoy a 3-course Valentine’s special lunch menu. Live Music by Chuck Sacayan on Saturday and Sandii Castleberry on Sunday / $29.95 per person plus tax and gratuity / Please call for reservations at 951676.9243

A Valentine Candlelight tasting for 2 / Feb. 10, 11 & 12 / 11:30a-3:30p with seating’s every hour at Baily Estate Tasting Room / Special Cabernet Sauvignon and Port tasting, charcuterie and chocolate plate for two / Cost: $35 per person / Seating is extremely limited so reserve today. Call 951.972.9768.

Bel Vino Winery
Sweetheart Dinner / February 14th / 6:00 to 9:00 pm / Treat your valentine to an evening of romance filled with exquisite wines, five course meal and wine pairing, dancing and as our gift to you a bottle of Prima Port / Cost:  $85 per person for Wine Club Members, $99.95 per person for non-members / For reservations please call 951-676-6414 for reservations, visit, or visit the winery to purchase tickets.

Friday Night Live at Bel Vino / Every Friday 6p-10p / Free admission / Wine, Beer and specialty cocktails in the Barrel Room / Happy Hour from 6pm-7pm; select Bel Vino Bistro menu offered from 6p to 8:30pm / 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.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Valentine’s Dinner at Meritage / February 14th / Seatings at 5-5:30, 7-7:30, 9-9:30 / This is a gourmet four course, prix fixe menu served with an Amuse Bouche and a long stemmed rose. Featuring Live Music / $75.00 per person, tax and gratuity not included / The menu can be viewed online at For Reservations call 951.587.8889

 Cupid’s Flight Couples Wine Tasting / February 11th through 14th / 10:30am – 5:00pmach person may choose from a trio of wines to sample, 2 oz of each,  which also includes  chocolate covered strawberries and a long stemmed rose (roses are available while supplies last)

Chocolate covered strawberries can be purchased additionally, in a serving of 6, for $20.00. Long stemmed roses can be purchased for $5.00 each / $37.50 per couple/ $30 for wine club members / Purchases can be made in the gift shop, or by calling 951.676.4001. No reservations required.

Prix Fixe Friday at Meritage and Live Music / 5pm to 8pm / For $35 guests may enjoy a starter, an entrée and a dessert / Reservations are 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. 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
10th Annual Super Chili Bowl / February 5 /  2pm-8pm / Calling all Super Chili Cooks!  It’s time to show off your best dish!  Only 10 competitors each year for the coveted Top Chili Cook title!  Sign up soon as these spots go quick.  Chili competition kicks off at 3pm.  Wine club attendees are $25, Non-wine club $30.  All paid parties of 4 -6 can reserve the location of their table!  Please let us know your group name and desired location!  Tables are on a first come basis but there’s not a bad seat in the house. Price includes chili tasting, food and wine or beer.  Price increases by $5 day of the event / Email  or Call 951-767-8398 for more information. 

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

Danza del Sol Winery
Get Sauced / February 12th / 3:00 PM / GET SAUCED!! for Valentine’s. Join us for a fun-filled afternoon of food, wine, and culinary entertainment in our Club House! / Price: $58.60 – $65.00 / Please visit us at for reservations and information.

Live Music on the Patio at Danza del Sol / Every Saturday from 1pm – 5pm / Enjoy great wine and great music! / Feb. 4 – Sean Wiggins / Feb. 11- Tim Apple / Feb. 18- JD Priest / Feb. 19- Two Fish / Feb. 25- Tony Suraci / Please check our website for additional information.

Europa Village
International Languages of Love / Feb. 11 / 4pm & 6pm / We invite you to “taste” with your ears, and then with all your five senses, as we take you a multi-sensory journey of live music, wine, and cuisine from France, Spain and Italy. Tasting is 90 minutes in length / $79 per person. Please call (951) 695-7175, ext. 207 or visit our website for tickets.

L’Amore at Europa / Feb. 14 / 6pm – 8pm / Europa Village presents an intimate candlelight 5-course gourmet dinner paired with Europa’s fine wines. Dinner prepared by award-winning Chef Dean Thomas. $125 per person. Please call (951) 695-7175, ext. 207 or visit our website for tickets.

 Wine Education Class – Italian Wines / Feb. 19 / 11am & 2pm / Hosted by our in-house sommelier, Dr. Doug Garman, you will learn about six Italian wines Europa offers with a light food pairing / $35 per person. Two classes available at 11am and 2pm / Please call (951) 695-7175, ext. 207 or visit our website for tickets.

 Live Music every Sunday / 1:00-4:00pm / Free to the public / Live entertainment on our outdoor Veranda / 2/5 – Astra Kelly / 2/12 – Jimmy Patton / 2/19- Sebastian Sidi / 2/26- Joe Baldino.

Falkner Winery        
Valentine’s Lunch at the Pinnacle / February 11 through February 14th / Valentine Lunch Special for 2 in the Pinnacle Restaurant / Cost: $59 for Two + + (normal menu also available)  Extended Sat hours 11:30-4:30. Sun-Tues 11:30- 3:30 / Reservations required 951-676-8231 option 4 or online at

Valentine’s Dinner in the Pinnacle Restaurant / February 14th / 5:30-9:30pm / Early seating 5:30 $99++ ($89++ Wine Club) Regular seating $115+ tax per person ($104+tax wine club) / For full menu please visit / Live Entertainment provided by Jeff Johnson / Reservations required 951-676-8231 option 4 or online at

Sip N Paint Class “Wine” / February 16th-Couples (or Individual) / 6-8 pm / Includes all materials & Wine available for purchase by glass or bottle / $35 per person or $60 per couple / Reservations are required. Please log on to

Wine Appreciation Class / February 18th / 10am -12:30pm / Designated for all levels of wine knowledge / $45/person /$40 Connoisseur/ $20 VIP; $70/person with lunch option / RSVP’s required 951-676-8231 x. 109 or

Fazeli Cellars
Fazeli’s First Valentines Dinner / Feb. 11th & Feb. 12th / Begins at 6:00pm / Come enjoy champagne upon your arrival and enjoy an elegant 5 course meal paired with wine and specialty drinks. Enjoy a strawberry and chocolate fountain, dessert bites and coffee to finish off this romantic evening. Enchanting music will be performed by Diego Mondragon / Limited space available so pick your Valentine date soon! / Cost: $120 Non-members, $100 club members / For reservations please visit

Vintners Musical Showcase / February 18 / 6p-10p / Variety of up and coming musicians – Food, wine and beer available for purchase / For reservations and information please visit

Salsa Night with Salsafama / Saturday, February 25 / 7p-10p / A 45-minute free lesson (no partner required) followed by dancing, dancing, dancing.  Glass of Sangria with entrance / Cost: $15.00/non member – $10/member / Food and beverage available for purchase / For reservations and information please visit

Legacy at Fazeli Cellars / Every Friday evening of each month / 6p-10p / 3 course dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine and live entertainment / Cost: $99.99/non member couple, $79.99/member / For reservations and information please visit

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

Leoness Cellars
A Midwinter’s Dream Dinner / February 14 / 5p to close / Four-course, wine-paired dinner for two with limited reservation available. Dine in The Restaurant at Leoness with a special pre-fixed menu for two, specially paired with your favorite Leoness Cellars wines / Cost, menu information and reservation: $100 per person. Reservations can be made on our website:

Longshadow Ranch Winery
Legends of the Wild West Dinner Theater & Variety Show / Feb. 10 & 17 / 7pm- 9:30pm (Doors open at 6pm)  / An amazing hand written organic Western themed comedy production featuring the finest dancers, vocalists & actors available. We are so proud to have Broadway veterans from Tony award winning productions in this show. Family friendly as always but a great date night as well. / Buffet style supper includes Western spaghetti in ample portions with ranch style meatballs, steamed mixed veggies and garlic bread, Dessert to follow. *Vegetarian option available. Please specify in reservation notes. Wine, beer, soda and bottled water available. Coffee available with dessert / VIP tickets $35**; Gen. Adm. $25** / **A two drink minimum is required and not included in ticket price. VIP ticket includes – priority service and seating. Front of the line for meet-and-greet/photos with performers on stage / This will be an outdoor event so dress accordingly. Inclement weather will result in rescheduling. No refunds on ticket purchases / For tickets and reservations, please log on to:

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery
Valentine’s Day Brunch / February 12 / 10:00am – 12:30pm /  Celebrate ‘Love Day’ a little early with mimosas, brunch and more/ Tickets are $35/person, $25/under 21 / Tickets available online at Space is limited!

Live Music Friday & Saturday / 6p-9p / Free to the public
Live Music Sunday / 2p-5pm / Free to the public
Please check our website for a schedule of performers.

Masia de la Vinya Winery
Live Music on the Patio at Masia de la Vinya / Every Saturday from 12pm – 5pm / Enjoy great wine and great music! / Feb. 4 – Astra Kelly / Feb.11- Fandango / Feb.18- Tralian Rox / Feb. 25- Dustin Jake/ Please check our website for additional information.

Miramonte Winery
Live Music & Entertainment / Every Friday and Saturday / 7p-10p / Free to the public / No reservations required / Friday line up: Feb. 3rd, JD Priest- Wildly soulful. All-American rock, incredibly popular local favorite! February 10th, Ruben V- Latin & salsa music! /Feb. 17th, Mickie Arnett- 90’s rock and covers! / Feb. 24th,  Alaina Blair- Country/pop with some rock and soul! / Saturday line up: Feb. 4th, Midnight Satellites- Gutsy, modern rock performers. Big sound! / Feb. 11th, Bluefish- Big rock sounds from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s! / Feb.  18th, Missy Andersen- Known as a Southern California’s top blue’s diva! / Feb. 25th, The Core- Eclectic variety of jazz, rock, pop, & soul! /For additional information please visit

Mount Palomar Winery
Tequila Tastings / Saturdays and Sundays through the month of February / 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM / Mount Palomar Winery is hosting Temecula’s only tequila tastings on our beautiful outdoor patio! Enjoy samples of top shelf Asombroso tequilas, made from 100% blue agave. You’ll enjoy 5 samples of fine tequila, including San Francisco World Spirits Competition double gold award winners and a bonus margarita sample / Prices and availability subject to change, more at / Tickets: $25 at the door

Paint Nite in the Barrel Room / Feb. 5, 11, 12, 18, 25 /1:00p – 3:00p / 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!) / Tickets:

Valentine’s Day in Annata Bistro/Bar / Feb. 14 / 4:00p – 9:00p / There is nothing more romantic than a four course meal, a glass of sparkling wine, and a stunning view of the Temecula Valley. Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Annata Bistro/Bar and enjoy a beautiful evening in Temecula Wine Country. We’re offering an exclusive menu only available for Valentine’s day, including an appetizer, soup or a salad, your choice of four delectable entrees, and a delicious dessert / Reservations at:

Oak Mountain Winery
Valentine’s Dinner / Feb. 11 / 6:00pm / Enjoy an elegant four-course dinner at The Cave / Cost: $90 for pp., $85 for Club members / Reservations is required. Please log on to to view a full menu and to reserve or call 951.699.9102

Ponte Winery
Valentine’s Day at The Restaurant at Ponte / February 14 / 5:00p-8:00p / Join us at The Restaurant at Ponte on Valentine’s Day for live music and a romantic dinner featuring a special menu / Cost: Entrées range in price from $21 – $135 / Reservations required: 951-252-1770.

Live Music in The Restaurant at Ponte / Every Friday and Saturday night / 5:30pm-8:00pm / Enjoy live music while dining at The Restaurant at Ponte Winery / Free to attend / Visit for more information.

Live Music in The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn / Every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday / Head to Temecula Wine Country’s only cocktail bar open late every day, The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn. The Cellar offers live music every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night! Sip to the sounds of a variety of musicians, from jazz sax and alternative contemporary to rock blues! / Time and Entertainment schedule varies / Free to attend / Visit for an entertainment schedule.

Happy Hour in The Cellar Lounge at Ponte Vineyard Inn / Every Monday-Thursday / 4pm-7pm / 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, wine and more!

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Wine, Dine and Painting / February 5 / 10:00 – 1:00pm / Wine, Dine and Painting Class hosted by Jill Roberts of Art + Vino, the original and most popular Art and Painting class in the Temecula Valley! Take in the views and tap into your inner Picasso, then enjoy a fantastic lunch at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant! This package comes with two-three hour instruction and supplies to paint your masterpiece, and follows with a select lunch menu and glass of wine to enjoy at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant / Cost: $70 Wine Club | $75 Non Wine Club / Reservation Information: Purchase online or call Wine Club at 951-587-9463 Ext. 5250

Valentine’s Day Dinner at The Vineyard Rose / February 14 / 5:30 – 9:00pm / Treat your sweetheart to a memorable Valentine’s Day dinner in The Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Chef Jason Rivas will serve up a special gourmet menu as guests enjoy an intimate evening in the dining room overlooking the surrounding vineyards. Please visit our website to view our 5-course dinner menu / Cost: $125pp – includes a specially selected South Coast bottle of wine / Call (951) 491-8077 for reservations. 

Bridal Showcase / February 26 / 10:00am – 3:00pm / You’re invited to our Bridal Showcase South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Enjoy our Award Winning Sparkling Wine and delectable hors d’oeuvres; envision yourself on your wedding day in our romantic locations. Wedding Specials and promotions will be offered for weddings booked on Sunday, February 26th, 2017 only. Space is limited, signed contracts and nonrefundable deposits must be submitted to receive special offers. Meet with our Exclusive Vendors as they offer complimentary expert wedding advice, décor ideas and day-of discounts / Cost: FREE / Reservation Information: RSVP to 951-587-9463 Ext. 7275

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, 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.

Indulgent at GrapeSeed Spa / Through February 28th / Now you can enjoy an ancient method of relaxation with a four handed tandem massage. Energy, balance, and relaxation are heightened with the choreographed massage that ignites complete euphoria. Our Indulgent Package Includes: 50-Minute Tandem Massage, Poolside Lunch, Glass of South Coast Wine / Cost: $239 / Call our GrapeSeed Spa to book today! (877) 552-1731 .Service cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts. Available February 1st through 28th, 2017.

#RoséAllDay / Every Sunday in February / 5:00pm – 6:30pm / Gather your friends for GrapeSeed Spa’s popular Vino Vinyasa class. Our talented yoga instructor will lead you on an amazing 80 minute journey focusing on chakras within. This session features four of our most popular Rosé wines! / Cost: $30 / Call our GrapeSeed Spato book today! (877) 552-1731. Service cannot be combined with any other offers or discounts. Available February 1st through February 28, 2017.

Sunday’s Live Musical Entertainment in Vintner’s Garden / 2pm-5pm /Join us for live music entertainment in our Vintner’s Garden / For a schedule of entertainment please visit

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

Thornton Winery
Valentine’s Dinner at Café Champagne / February 14 / 5:00p – 9:00p / 4-course meal, music and your Valentine will receive a rose. / Cost: $82.95 / For reservations please call 951.699.0099.

Vindemia Winery
Valentine’s Wine & Cheese Tasting / Offered February 10th – 20th / 11am-5pm / Calling all red wine lovers! Join us at Vindemia Winery for a special Valentine’s wine and cheese pairing in our romantic outdoor tasting room and scenic patio. Our high-quality wines and incredible views are sure to make the occasion memorable / $20 for 5 tastes with cheese pairings, bread, and olive oil / No appointment needed.

Wiens Family Cellars
Reserve Zinfandel & Chocolate Dinner / Feb. 10 / 6:30pm-9:30pm / The ultimate wine and chocolate lover’s dinner! Each chocolate infused course is perfectly paired with a vintage Zinfandel to create a pairing that is pure ecstasy! Romantic candlelight, beautiful décor, and great company make this the ideal Valentine’s date night. In addition, we will have bottles of the vintage Zinfandels, only available at the dinner for purchase to take home / Cost: $100 Regular $80 Wine Club / Purchase tickets

Wilson Creek Winery
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): $46.95, Buffet only: $36.95, Children: $14.95 / Reservations can be made at

Valentine’s Day Dinner at Creekside Grille / February 14 / Accepting reservations between 6-7:30pm / T your sweetheart to a fabulous and delicious 4-course dinner including a long stem rose and a bottle of Sparkling Wine surrounded by a romantic view and live entertainment /$120 per couple + tax/gratuity / For reservations Call 951-699-9463.


Winter in Wine Country

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

So, what exactly goes on in the vineyards when it’s winter time?  The annual growth cycle of Temecula Valley’s grapevines consummates in autumn with leaf fall followed by vine dormancy. After harvest, typically August-October in Temecula, the vine’s roots and trunk are busy storing carbohydrate reserves produced by photosynthesis in their leaves. Once the level of carbohydrates needed by the vine is reached, the leaves change from green to yellow and start to fall off the vines. Usually after the first frost, the vine enters its winter dormancy period. During this time, winemakers get a break from the bulk of their farm work as the vines sleep and start to prepare for the next wine season.

During this dormant period, according to Wiens Family Cellars winemaker Joe Wiens, the vines don’t need a lot of attention. Wiens puts on a little water to keep the roots moist and let them sleep. “We get to breathe a sigh of relief after the long hours of crush but have plenty of other things to keep us busy” says Wiens. Blending, barrel work, and bottling, in addition to brushing up on wine knowledge, new techniques, and attending winemaking seminars to continually improve are some of the things that keep him busy.

Nick Palumbo, winemaker and owner of Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery shares: “Winter time is busy! The good news is it gets cold here in Temecula, so the vines go into dormancy and that gives us a chance to get caught up in the cellar after a long harvest season. That means topping barrels, assessing previous vintages and getting ready for bottling as well as general maintenance. Mulching is done if needed and pruning all needs to be done just after the holidays. Weed and pest control (gophers etc) as well as going through the irrigation system and getting that dialed in for the spring are all on the to do list. We also don’t forget to prep for much needed rain events. We need to make sure if and when we do get rain, it doesn’t erode our soils and farm roads. Winter is a good time for winemakers to take off the cellar boots, put on the farm boots, and get out in the quiet cold mornings alone and start making next years wine which will be hanging on the vines sooner than we think.”

At Danza del Sol Winery, Art Villareal, the winery’s winemaker, stays busy during winter processing wines from the recent harvest. This includes filtration, cold stabilizing, racking, and placing wine into barrels. “There is no downtime in winemaking. We are always processing wine from the previous harvest and preparing for the upcoming bottling season” says Villareal. As far as vineyard maintenance goes, Villereal says patience is key and waits for the vines to go dormant and then prunes them back. He also states Temecula is special as the winter keeps the vines asleep only as long as necessary and ensures a longer period of time to mature the clusters during the growing season.

With all the activity in the valley during the winter, a visit to Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is an entertaining winter option. Many wineries offer behind the scenes tours where guests can see some of the winter viticulture and winemaking processes happen in person. While visiting, guests can stay at one of the many local inns, hotels, or resorts.


Roots Run Deep in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

Friday, August 19th, 2016

IMG_7797_Family-1024x683In Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, the family that wines together, stays together. At least that’s what it seems like given the number of family owned and operated wineries that populate the region.

What started out as Marcelo Doffo’s retirement project slowly evolved into a full-fledged, family-owned and operated winery, Doffo Winery, known for producing small-lot, hand-crafted reds. Upon his official retirement on January 1, 2016, Marcello turned the business over to his three children to run it. Son Damian serves as acting CEO and winemaker, and daughters Samantha and Brigitte serve as event coordinator and tasting room manager respectively.

“Our family bond has never been stronger, and we all share the same vision and goal, and the direction in which we are heading with our winery,” said Damian. “In all honesty, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I think we all share that same sentiment.”

The Doffo family shares many things, but most importantly, they are unified in their belief that quality winemaking starts in the vineyard. To this end, they hand-plant vines, meticulously prune and even play classical music for their vineyards to “soothe the grapes.” They also share a love of motorcycles. The Winery is home to MotoDoffo, the family’s private collection of over 100 racing and vintage bikes.

The Wilson Family opened Wilson Creek Winery because they all wanted to be together after parents Gerry and Rosie Wilson retired. Originally from Minnesota, the Wilsons had no experience as vintners other than making dandelion and rhubarb wine in their basement in the 1960s. Today, Wilson Creek is one of largest and most widely recognized wineries in Temecula Valley, and still run by family. Bill Wilson is CEO; Mick Wilson is COO; Deanna Wilson works in sales and distribution and Jennifer Wilson works in merchandising. The family can regularly be found on the grounds, meeting customers and working closely with winery staff. All would say Gerry and Rosie are the glue that holds everything together.

Some wineries are a union of not one but two families. Gary Winder started Stage Ranch Farm Management Inc. (parent company of Temecula Valley Winery Management) in the early 1970s. He was joined by Mike Rennie in the 1990s and together they focused on growing their vineyard operations, ultimately founding Leoness Cellars in 2002. Leoness is largely run by their families, including Rebaux and Jesse Steyn, Gary’s daughter and son-in-law. The staff describe the team as “more of a family group” than a traditional collection of employees, which they attribute to their unique family dynamic.

Lorimar Winery is owned by brothers-in-law Lawrie Lipton and Mark Manfield– the name is actually a hybrid of Mark and Lawrie. Lawrie’s daughter and son-in-law couldn’t escape the family business, both working there as well. And, one can’t visit Wiens Family Cellars without running into one of the Wiens– a whopping 19 family members are involved with the winery and brewery. “We are a tight-knit family and have always done things as a group,” said Jeff Wiens, owner and general manager. “So having a family business seemed a natural fit.”

Be sure to visit these and other Temecula Valley Southern California wineries this September, during California Wine Month. For more information, visit


Celebrate California Wine Month, Temecula style!

Friday, August 19th, 2016

california_wine_month_300x250Throughout September, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country will be celebrating California Wine Month, as well as the people, personalities and passion that go into making the great wines our region produces year after year. California Wine Month was created by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers and proclaimed by Governor Jerry Brown to highlight the state’s rich wine history and all that its vintners and growers add to the lifestyle and economy of the Golden State.  This year, we’re celebrating in a big way! Here’s a sampling of the exciting events and promotions taking place in September:

SIP Temecula Wine Tasting Passport
Monday-Friday throughout September
We’ve created this exclusive weekday passport to provide our guests the opportunity to taste award-winning wines produced in Temecula Valley Wine Country. On your self-guided tour, you will visit many family owned wineries throughout the rolling vineyards in our valley. You choose when, and which wineries to visit out of the 19 participating wineries listed on your passport. Visit during September’s wine month and receive a complimentary commemorative wine glass with your SIP Passport.

“Crush on Temecula Wines” Restaurant Month for Wine
Throughout September
Tom & Jerry, bread & butter, Barnes & Noble… Food & wine. Some matches are made in heaven. Whether you live here or are visiting, come get a crush on Temecula Valley wines at participating restaurants throughout September. This “restaurant month for wine” gives food and wine lovers the chance to explore Temecula Valley wines in special tasting flights being featured at the Temecula’s favorite restaurants. Revisit old favorites and discover new ones, all while enjoying the culinary creations of the region.

CRUSH ~ A Wine & Culinary Showcase 
Saturday, September 17 – 7:30-10:00p
The expansive lawn at Wiens Family Cellars provides the perfect venue for guests to meet and mingle with our winemakers, winery owners, chefs and other guests for an enchanted evening under the stars. THE Wine and Culinary showcase event of the year features 100 plus wines poured by over 30 Temecula Valley wineries. And they’re all in one place! Food samplings will be supplied by winery restaurants, local restaurants, and caterers.

People’s Choice Blind Tasting and Awards Celebration
Thursday, September 29 – 10:00a-10:00p
Come be part of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country history at the first annual People’s Choice Blind Tasting and Awards! Let your palate guide you through dozens of Temecula Valley’s best wines. Rate them and help crown the region’s favorites at an elegant wine dinner and celebration. Never been to a blind tasting? Rest assured you won’t be blindfolded. You will simply not know which wines you are tasting until they are revealed after the event, allowing for total objectivity in your tasting.

For more information or to join in on the celebration, please visit


Summer Whites for Every Palate

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016


There are few better ways to cool off on a sunny summer day than with a cold, crisp glass of white wine. This season, Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country invites wine lovers to sip their way through the region’s stunning whites. With so many delectable selections—from those made from lesser-known varieties to unique blends—Temecula Valley vintners offers a refreshing bottle to suit every palate.

Viognier: This darling of the wine world is widely produced in the region, and is a great alternative to Chardonnay because of its traditionally rich, luscious mouth-feel.

South Coast Winery Viognier 2015, $20: An aromatic peach and nectarine bouquet with a rich, velvety finish, from the winery that just was just named the 2016 California Golden State Winery of the Year for the fourth time. No other winery has received the coveted “Golden Bear” four times in the history of the competition.

Van Roekel Estate Viognier 2014 (Maurice Car’rie Winery), $22: This award-winning, estate-grown Viognier boasts notes of apricot and Asian pear, with hints of citrus blossom.

Sauvignon Blanc: Always a warm-weather favorite, this aromatic varietal grows well in Temecula Valley terroir. Many local wineries offer bright, fruit-forward bottlings perfect for picnics and outdoor dining.

Monte De Oro Sauvignon Blanc 2015, $19: Made from 100% estate-grown fruit, this wine was selected as the white dinner wine for the 2016 Daytime Emmy Awards. Citrus and tropical fruits round out this well-balanced summer sipper.

Oak Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2015, $21: Succulent melon and grapefruit mingle together in this medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc. A light influence of French Oak adds unexpected complexity.

And now, for something completely different: Temecula Valley has a huge selection of lesser-known French, Italian, Spanish and even Portuguese varieties. Summer is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone and discover a new favorite.

Palumbo Grenache Blanc 2014, $28: Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave it 91 points, describing it as “texturally grippy and tense, with flavors of yellow pear, lemon rinds and ever-so slight stone fruit, with tongue-tingling acidity deep into the finish.”

Ponte Vineyards Vermentino 2015, $31: This native Italian grape finds great expression in Temecula Valley. Notes of passion fruit, pink grapefruit and apricot give way to a crisp, refreshing, food-friendly finish.

A little from column A, a little from column B: Temecula Valley offers not only stellar red blends, but some fantastic proprietary white blends as well.

Mount Palomar Shorty’s Bistro White NV, $19: This unusual, award-winning blend of Palomino (a grape commonly used in making sherry), Cinsaut (a red grape) and Viognier is bright and easy-drinking, with notes of pineapple, peach and honeysuckle.

Robert Renzoni Cantata 2015, $22: This blend of 60% Pinot Grigio and 40% Viognier offers a crisp bouquet of apple and pear on the nose with a hint of pineapple on the finish.


Summer Wine Pairing Guide

Friday, July 1st, 2016

Wine glasses on picnic table --- Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

Ah, the sizzle of summer is upon us. Whether you’re spending your hot summer days and long summer nights relaxing at the beach, chowing down at a backyard barbecue, or picnicking in the park under a shady oak tree, these cool and crisp whites, rosés and sparkling wines will please every palate. All of these wines can be purchased online or in the tasting rooms, so choose your favorites this week! Here’s our guide to beating the heat in the most delicious way:

Lorimar Winery 2014 Chardonnay – Crisp, tart green apple, Bartlett pears and honey suckle with a medium length finish.
Monte de Oro 2014 Pinot Gris –Wine opens up with peach and apricot flavors couples with pears, lemon/lime, guava and kiwi accents.
Briar Rose Winery Citronier– Aromas of exotic fruit with a brilliant lemon flavor. Sure to bring a smile to every summer celebration

Oak Mountain Winery 2015 White Merlot – Sweet cherry and raspberry aromas characterize this wine. Soft, round, juicy cherry and berry flavors form structure and a full, rich texture.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2014 La Rosa (Rosé of Sangiovese) –Light strawberry citrus flavors are layered with hints of cranberry, passion & tropical fruit, and a hint of pink grapefruit.
Falkner Winery 2014 Irresistible Rosato –This semi-dry white wine tastes of ripe pear, cinnamon, apple pie, and spice.

Wilson Creek Grand Cuvee Sparkling Wine –Light and refreshing, and very fun. Great in Mimosas! A fun party sparkling wine.
Maurice Car’rie & Van Roekel Winery Pomegranate Sparkling Wine– This lively refreshing California Sparkling Wine is bursting with refreshing flavors of pomegranate – a perfect accompaniment to your summer picnic basket.
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Pinot Grigio Sparkling – Finished as a “Brut” this is a Pinot Grigio with wonderful nuances of pears and apples, a touch of tropical fruitiness and crisp acidity.

Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis


Temecula Valley Winery named California Winery of the Year!

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

winery-of-the-yearWe were so excited to learn that our very own, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, has once again been named California Winery of the Year for an unprecedented 4th time!

Sacramento has just released the results from the nation’s oldest and most prestigious wine competition, and Southern California Temecula Valley’s South Coast Winery Resort & Spa has been named the 2016 California Golden State Winery of the Year.

Records were broken this year at the California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition as South Coast Winery was the first and only winery in the competition’s history to be presented with a four-time championship, naming it the 2016 California Golden State Winery of the Year. South Coast Winery brought home the first California State Winery of the Year award to its Southern California Temecula Valley home in 2008 and then followed it up with a back-to-back win in 2009. It earned the top title in the California State competition again in 2013 and now celebrates its fourth win for 2016.
South Coast Winery Winery of The Year 2016

Dating back to 1854, the California State Wine Competition premieres only wines made with fruit grown in California; and there were 2,854 wines judged from 750 of the state’s top wineries during this year’s competition.

“South Coast Winery is truly honored to be bringing this recognition to Temecula Valley Wine Country, especially with only 13 years of wine production. This award is a reflection of the dedication and the collaboration between our soil and vines, the vineyard team and our talented winemakers. I’m humbled to be a part of it,” states Jim Carter, the owner/vintner for the Southern California winery resort.

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Carter and the entire South Coast Winery team!


Wine Country Recipe ~ Prawn & Avocado Salad with Creamy Orange Chive Dressing

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

timthumbThis zesty and colorful salad with lemony prawns and a bright tangy dressing is the essence of California living. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Pinot Grigio or Rosé.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoons sea salt

¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 pound prawns (about 24), peeled and deveined

¼ cup full fat plain yogurt

3 tablespoons minced chives

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced orange zest

2 teaspoons minced lemon zest

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon sea salt

6 handfuls mixed lettuce greens

3 navel oranges, peel and pith removed with a knife, cut into ½-inch dice

2 large avocados, halved and pitted, flesh cut into ½ inch dice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges


In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the prawns and mix well.

Place a steam basket or rack in a large saucepan. Add water to a level not quite touching the steamer. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the prawns, cover and steam for 3 minutes.

Remove the prawns from pan and set them aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with the yogurt, chives, mayonnaise, orange juice, vinegar, orange zest, lemon zest, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt.

To serve, place a handful of mixed greens on each plate.

Top each serving with diced orange and avocado pieces, and prawns.

Drizzle each salad with dressing.

Season with pepper and garnish with a lemon wedge

Suggested Pairings: 

Baily Winery ~ 2014 Rosé of Sangiovese – Fun, fruity and full of character.

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2015 Pinot Grigio – Soft candied aromas of honeysuckle, almonds and leche fruit.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese – A summery bouquet of rosy red fruit and flowers: strawberry, cherry, raspberry, rose petal and cherry blossom fill the nose and palate of this perfect warm weather wine.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2015 Pinot Grigio – This wine offers subtle notes of green apple, lemon and pear, with a crisp refreshing finish.

Recipe & photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California


The Art of Wine Labels

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

RenzoniWineLabelYou can’t judge a wine by its label—but a beautiful “cover” certainly can’t hurt. Temecula Valley wineries are putting just as much creativity and originality into their label designs as they are in their wines. And the results are inspiring.

Wine labels are the first thing that attracts a consumer when contemplating which wine to choose. Some first-time shoppers even choose a wine by the label–after all, the label builds the anticipation of what’s inside the bottle. It’s the quality of the wine itself that makes customers loyal fans.

Temecula Valley vintners are adorning their bottles with art that is not only beautiful, sometimes even fun, but often tells a sentimental story. The label of Lorimar Winery’s 2014 Chardonnay bears scenic photographs of the vineyard from which it came, in each of the four seasons. The images were taken by Temecula-based photographer Bodhi Smith, and the four-image work, called “Seasons of Del Oro,” is for sale on coasters and as an art piece at the winery.

Oak Mountain Winery’s Double Trouble 2013 Riesling has a bright blue label depicting Buddy and Bandit, the two beloved Queensland Heelers of vintners Valerie and Steve Andrews. The label is a watercolor painting by local artist Tamra Gerard. The artwork also can be found in “Winery Dogs of USA” book #3.

Robert Renzoni Winery’s 2013 Fiore di Fano, a Super Tuscan blend of estate-grown Cabernet, Sauvignon, Brunello Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, has special meaning to owner and winemaker Robert Renzoni. The classically styled painting that adorns the label was a gift from a special friend he met on a journey to his family’s hometown, Fano, Italy.

Wiens Winery’s Red Crowded is a red-wine blend so-named for the “crowd” of varietals in each vintage, such as the Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Cabrenet Franc, Sangiovese and Syrah in the 2014. Red Crowded is one of a series, which also includes White Crowded and Pink Crowded (rosé) blends, fancifully designed featuring appropriately colored red, white and pink birds by local artist Kelly Vivanco. All three designs are available on posters and t-shirts.

Falkner Winery’s 2014 Risque Riesling is illustrated with a sleek black pump and tube of vibrant red lipstick in a classy nod to consumers, often women, according to owner Loretta  Falkner, who like a bit of sweetness in their white wine. Risque Riesling is part of Falkner’s sweet Seductive Series, which also includes a red blend and rosé.

South Coast Winery vintner Jim Carter commissioned artist Tamra Gerard to paint a portrait of his dear Aunt Ruby as she might have looked in the 1920s for his Ruby Cuvée. Both the label and the carefully crafted sparkling Syrah in the bottle are intended to capture the effervescent charm of Ruby Carter, who was always the belle of the ball. The art can be found on t-shirts, posters, coasters and magnets in South Coast’s gift shop.

Newly opened Fazeli Cellars pays homage to owner BJ Fazeli’s homeland with a series of wines named for acclaimed Persian poets. The 2012 Ferdowsi Cabernet Franc is named for Abu Ferdowsi, widely known as the most influential figure in Persian literature, and is designed by BJ’s daughter, Romy Fazeli. The artwork features a stylized grapevine symbolizing Fazeli’s “Our Roots Run Deep” motto.

These are just a few of the beautifully designed wine labels from Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. Not only are the wines carefully and passionately crafted, so are the labels.

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