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Temecula the Region

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The Temecula Valley.  Southern California Wine Country.

The history of winemaking in California began with the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. As the mission chain advanced northward from San Diego, vine cuttings were planted at each of the new missions, with some mission sites more successful than others at producing wines. Among the most successful of the missions was Mission San Gabriel, just north of present-day Los Angeles, whose wines were generally regarded as the finest of all the mission wines. By the early 19th century the California wine industry was concentrated in Southern California, with a number of successful wineries being established in what is today downtown Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley, and other favorable locations, including, somewhat later, Cucamonga Valley. During much of the 19th century Southern California provided most of the wine produced in the state, eventually being supplanted by Northern California as the wine production center of the state.

In the late 1960’s Southern California grape growing and winemaking began a revival in the Temecula Valley with the planting, beginning in 1968, of substantial wine grape acreage. The first wines from the new vineyards were produced by Brookside Winery in their Cucamonga winery, but in 1974 the founding of Callaway Winery marked the beginning of winemaking in the Temecula Valley. Since then numerous additional wineries have been built, some with restaurants and overnight facilities, including luxury resorts.

Temecula Valley is a remarkably beautiful wine region of rolling hills, with high mountains, reaching as high as 11,500 feet, forming the backdrop. Vineyard plantings range from 1500 to 2500 feet above sea level, with daytime temperatures modified by cooling ocean breezes flowing over the coastal range to the west.The region has proven to be unusually diverse in the grape varieties that thrive and produce exceptional wines here, ranging from cool-climate grapes such as Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Chardonnay, through the moderate-climate Bordeaux varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc, to the warmer-climate Mediterranean varieties, including Viognier, Syrah, Grenache, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo.

The wine-tasting experience in Temecula Valley is a very special, personal one, with wines reflecting the exceptional diversity of our region. Most wineries are small, all are family-owned, and it is one of the few remaining California wine regions where winery visitors are likely to run into the owner, winemaker, or other winery principals in the tasting room. While some of the wineries have impressive gift shops, others are focused primarily on their wines, giving visitors a diversity of experiences. All produce exceptional wines, each in their own style, some focusing on a very limited number of wines, while others offer a wide range of wines. The wineries of Temecula are, above all else, friendly and personable.