Facebook
Skip to main content

Blog

Five 2023 Wine Country Resolutions We Can Get Behind in Temecula Valley

January 4th, 2023

2023

New Year, new you, right? No? That’s okay! You were probably pretty awesome, to begin with.

Either way, the start of a new year is a time to reflect on what we’ve achieved over the past twelve months, what obstacles we’ve faced, ways we can challenge ourselves, and ways we can pursue even more happiness in our lives.

And what brings more joy to life than wine? We can think of no better way to celebrate all that this crazy world has to offer than experiencing the warm, welcoming region of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. But, it’s a new year, so why not use this fresh start to see what’s new at your favorite wineries, and experience the region in different ways?

With that in mind, we’ve come up with five great New Year’s Resolutions you can put into play right now in Temecula Valley. Happy sipping!

2023 Is the Year I… Get Out of my Wine Comfort Zone

Are you someone who seems to always gravitate to the same wine or style of wine? Perhaps you love full-bodied reds. Or sweet and cheerful sips are your go-to. Part of the “Anything but Chardonnay” crowd? The beauty of wine is that there are so many combinations and permutations on what a wine can taste like based on where the fruit is grown and how the winemaker crafts the final product that it’s nearly impossible to either categorically like or not like any given wine! One Chardonnay may be rich, full-bodied, and oaky, while another may be razor sharp, fruit-forward, and fresh. One Cabernet Sauvignon may be velvety and soft, while another one may be earthy and structured. That’s what makes the world of wine so exciting.

This is doubly true of the region of Temecula Valley, where we grow literally dozens of different grape varieties produced in many different styles from light and sweet to hearty and brooding, and everything in between. This year, make a point to try something new, like one of the many emerging grape varieties you may not have been familiar with, but that thrive in our Mediterranean climate, like Arneis, Fiano, Vermentino, Barbera, Montepulciano, and Mourvèdre. You might just discover a new favorite, or learn that your palate isn’t as picky as you thought it was!

2023 Is the Year I… Get to Know my Winemaker

When you learn more about what’s in your glass, the wine just seems to taste better. There’s something about understanding the journey from vine to grape to glass, and hearing the stories behind the wines we love, that enhances our appreciation of them. This year, why not make an effort to meet the talented people who work day-in and day-out to bring you delicious sips year-round?

The beauty of a smaller, family-winery-driven region like Temecula Valley is that the chances of you meeting a winery owner or winemaker while you’re wine tasting are actually pretty high. They’re even better if you’re out and about on a Monday through Friday! Don’t be afraid to ask tasting room staff if the winemaker is around. Chances are, he or she would be delighted to meet you and maybe even share a tank or barrel sample with you if you’re lucky.

2023 Is the Year I… Get my Hands a Little Dirty

And… if getting to know your winemaker makes your wine taste better, just think of how you’ll feel if you help make the stuff!

Temecula Valley is known for offering tons of great hands-on experiences that allow you to get even closer to what’s in your glass than you would simply uncorking and pouring.

Become a winemaker for a day at Bottaia’s immersive Blending Lab workshop, which invites you to try your hand at creating the perfect blend that you can bottle, label, and take home with you. Or, join Doffo Winery’s Barrel Club, in which you will participate in all aspects of winemaking, from harvest, to production, to bottling, and, of course, sipping.

During the harvest season, many wineries offer grape stops and other interactive experiences that encourage you to get a little dirty and find out just how much work goes into crafting that perfect bottle of wine for your table.

2023 Is the Year I… Discover the Magic of a Perfect Pairing

There’s that perfect sip of wine. And there’s that delicious bite of food. And then there’s the absolute magic that happens when the flavors of that perfect sip of wine mix and mingle with that delicious bite of food to create something even more mouth-watering together.

One of Temecula Valley’s greatest features is the selection of dining options among the vines. Unique to the region, Temecula is permitted to allow restaurants to co-exist within wineries, which is uncommon in many other domestic wine regions. A trip to Wine Country isn’t complete without experiencing the up-and-coming foodie scene that is happening in Temecula Valley, all while you sip the world-class wines from this Southern California mecca.

From casual bites like the delicious deli sandwiches and salads at Cougar Vineyard and Winery’s Sangio’s Deli, to al fresco pizzas and other Italian specialties overlooking the vines at Mama Rosa’s Trattoria at Robert Renzoni Vineyards, to more formal fine dining options like Bolero Restaurante at Europa Village or The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars, and plenty of options in between, you’re bound to discover the beauty of the perfect food and wine pairing.

Several wineries also offer tasting experiences specifically geared around food pairings, like Bottaia’s Seated Tasting with Charcuterie Pairing or Avensole Winery’s upcoming Winery Tour experiences which include seasonal wine pairings and exclusive tastings of their award-winning wines.

2023 Is the Year I… Learn that Less Can Be More

If you’re someone who has opted for Dry January, kudos to you! There are plenty of options for non-wine-related activities in Temecula Valley. However, if, like us, taking a WHOLE month off from wine sounds a bit daunting to you, why not explore some of the lighter style wines that Temecula Valley has to offer?

As we’ve said before, not all wines are created equal, and this is true for alcohol levels in wine. A quick check of your wine label will tell you the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) of the wine you are sipping. These can range anywhere from 5% for, say, a Moscato d’Asti, to a whopping 16%+ for some California red wines. Fortified wines are even higher.

Knowledge is power when it comes to what’s in your glass, so don’t be afraid to ask your server for the ABV of the wine you are being poured, or simply ask for a glass of something on the lighter side (be sure to double check though! Just because something tastes light doesn’t mean it’s got a low ABV).

Other options include choosing wines that are traditionally lower in alcohol, like some of the excellent, Champagne method sparkling wines that Temecula produces. Visit Carter Estate Winery and Thornton Winery to explore some of these selections. Or, try sharing your wine flight with your tasting partner and sip an ounce each instead of the full Monty on your own. Most servers in Temecula will happily accommodate this. Lastly, don’t be afraid of that dump bucket! All the pros use it!

However you choose to embrace the New Year, we hope it brings you plenty of delicious sips and memorable wine experiences in Temecula Valley.

Share

January Events 2023

January 4th, 2023

Drinking Wine With Friends

Akash Winery 
Laughs by the Glass | Jan 6th | 6:15pm doors open, 7:00 showtime | Cost $20 General Admission, $40 Reserved seating | Join Frankie Marcos and his all-star rabble-rousing comedians for an evening of laughs (and wine!) 

Altisima Winery 
New Year New Me: Wine and Body Event.  | Jan 17th | 4:00pm – 8:00pm | Sound bath sessions, with self-care & wellness-themed vendors to help renew the mind, and body and help you rewind, and unwind, while you drink wine! 

Cougar Vineyard and Winery 
Yappy Hour | Jan 15th |  2:00pm-5:30pm |  New Year, New Tricks! Bring Fido, the event will be outside on the patio, picnic area and lower patio. 

Danza del Sol Winery
Wine & Crime | Jan 21st | 5:00pm to 7:00pm | Full Menu available along with food truck &/or charcuterie | Visit our website for event details: https://www.danzadelsolwinery.com/Reservation-Events 

Doffo Winery 
Winemaker Dinner | Jan 21st | 6:00pm to 9:00pm | Join Winemaker’s Damian & Nadia for an intimate, midwinter inspired 3-Course Dinner, each course perfectly paired with signature Doffo family wine | Visit our website to purchase tickets: https://doffowines.com/events/ 

Falkner Winery 
Wine Appreciation Class |January 21st | 10:00am -12:30pm | https://tinyurl.com/4e6jsz65 

Comedy Night | Jan 28th | 6:00pm-9:30pm 

Fazeli Winery

Salsa Night “Fiesta Friday” | Jan 20th | 6:00pm Doors Open, 7:15pm Beginner Salsa and Bachata Class, 8:15 pm Dance, Dance, Dance! | No partner or experience needed! (21+ only) | General Admission: $25 (+ tax) / $20 members – AT THE DOOR (7pm) $35 (+ tax) | Ticket prices Include a glass of Sangria (food available for purchase) | Full Bar, Baja Shrimp Food Truck, Dancing and Fun! | *All ticket sales are final/no refunds https://shop.fazelicellars.com/res-393577/Salsa-Night-1202023.html

Salsa Night “Black & White Theme” | Jan 28th | 6:00pm Doors Open, 7:15pm Beginner Salsa and Bachata Class, 8:15 pm Dance, Dance, Dance! | No partner or experience needed! (21+ only) | General Admission: $25 (+ tax) / $20 members – AT THE DOOR (7pm) $35 (+ tax) | Ticket prices Include a glass of Sangria (food available for purchase) | Full Bar, Baja Shrimp Food Truck, Dancing and Fun! | *All ticket sales are final/no refunds https://shop.fazelicellars.com/res-393578/Salsa-Night-1282023.html

Frangipani Winery  
Happy 18th Anniversary Frangipani Estate Winery | January 14th | 12:00pm -4:30pm | Celebrate with us 18 years of wines with some shopping fun with a variety of vendors, food available for purchase, music, and wine specials! 

Masia dela Vinya Winery
Pop, Fizz, Clink – Bubble Bar | Jan7th & 8th | Kick off the first weekend of the New Year | Mimosa Flights & Specials 

Trivia Night | Jan 27th | Food Truck & Prizes for winning teams | For all event information visit: www.masiadelavinyawinery.com/events 

Maurice Car’rie Winery / Ultimate Vineyards 
80’s Night | Jan 20th | 5:00pm-8:00pm | Live music, small bites, wine specials, and raffle | Ticketed event, please call to purchase tickets (951-676-1711) 

Monte De Oro Winery 
Signature Food & Wine Series | Jan 8th | 11:30am-1:30pm | Join us for our Signature Food & Wine Series, featuring the culinary creations of Chef Alfred paired with our award-winning wines! | Purchase Tickets at: https://shop.montedeoro.com/Reservation-Events  

Blind Tasting – Varietal TBD | Jan 20th | 6:30pm-8:30pm | We will be sampling offerings from various world renowned wineries to see how they compare to Monte De Oro’s best vintages | Purchase Tickets at: https://shop.montedeoro.com/Reservation-Events  
 
Wine Bingo | Jan 27th | 6:30pm-9:00pm | It’s time for Bingo, Monte De Oro style! Join us for a night of calling numbers and sipping your favorite MDO wine! | Purchase Tickets at: https://shop.montedeoro.com/Reservation-Events 

Peltzer Family Cellars
Last Day of Peltzer Ice Rink | Jan 8th | 10:30am -7:30pm | tickets + sessions online at https://www.peltzerwinery.com/peltzer-ice-rink/  

Hog the Mic Night | Jan 19th |21+ Only | 6:00pm-9:00pm | Open event | Karaoke night with Lillian Thomas in the Crush House | The Mac Truck for local bites. 

Peltzer Bridal Open | Jan 21st | All Ages | 6-8pm | Open event | Bridal open of Peltzer preferred partners, complimentary apps, and raffles | Located at our Crush House. 

Do It For Her 5k | Jan 22nd | All Ages | 6-10am | more details + tickets online:  https://racewire.com/register.php?id=13219 | Charity run for ‘The Heather Janikowski Foundation’, all proceeds benefit the foundation and a local family currently battling cancer. 

Wilson Creek Winery 
The Library Seated Wine Tasting Experience | Fridays 12pm-5pm | Saturday-Sunday: 11am – 5pm | Cost: $40 | Join us for an intimate sit-down tasting experience as we dive into Temecula’s best reds and whites! | In addition to the selection of vintage varietals, guests will be able to taste their favorite wines and learn more about how each wine has evolved through the years | Charcuterie boards and small bites will be available for purchase during this tasting | Walk-ins welcome with availability. 
 
 

Share

Red Wine Chocolate Sauce

January 4th, 2023

Red Wine Chocolate Sauce

Who doesn’t love chocolate sauce? Add a little red wine and it’s a win-win. This recipe makes enough for you to have a jar for indulging yourself and still have some to package up as delicious gifts for your friends and family. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups red wine, we use Merlot
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup, (1) stick, of salted butter, sliced into tablespoons measures
  • 24-ounce semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½-¾ teaspoon of your favorite chili powder, optional for a bit of heat. We used Boonville Barn Piment d’Ville
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes approximately: 4 cups

Directions

Combine the cream and red wine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the liquid is warm, steam is rising from the top and small bubbles are forming around the edges of the pot.

Add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Let the mixture come to a boil.

Once boiling reduce the heat to low and stir in the pieces of butter until melted.

Turn off the heat and add the chocolate chips to the mixture. Stir continuously until the chocolate has completely melted. Add the vanilla extract, chili powder if using and salt, then stir to combine.

This chocolate sauce is best served warm not hot. It can be used right away and taste great but will be thin. If allowed to sit at room temperature to cool the sauce will thicken more within an hour, but will remain warm and pourable.

To store:

Transfer the desired amount of Red Wine Chocolate Sauce to a jar or storage container with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To reheat and serve:

The chocolate sauce will firm up in the fridge. To reheat, simply transfer the desired amount of chocolate sauce to a microwavable container and heat in 15-second intervals until the mixture melts back down to a sauce consistency.

Suggested Wines:

Baily Winery ~ 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon This wine offers warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint

Callaway Winery ~ 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon A classic Cab that is all about the fruit and spice with aromas of tobacco and dried fruits

Churon Winery ~ 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon This popular Cab offers delicious aromatics

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

Share

December Winery Events 2022

December 1st, 2022

Cheers

Akash Winery 
Ugly Sweater Competition and Santa Paws | December 18 | 11am – 6pm| Come join in the fun and get pictures with your pet and Santa! 

Altisima Winery 
Paint and Sip | Dec 1 | 1pm -4pm |Visit:  https://altisimawinery.com/events/paintandsip/ for more information 

New Years Eve Dinner | Dec 31 | 7pm – 10pm | Visit: https://altisimawinery.com/ for more information. 

Callaway Winery 
New Year’s Eve at Meritage | Dec 31 | Meritage at Callaway invites you to celebrate the new year while enjoying an amazing four-course prix fixe dinner set with spectacular sunset vineyard views. A very special New Year’s Eve menu has been curated for your dining pleasure. We look forward to seeing you there! | Visit:  https://www.callawaywinery.com/ for more information. 

Churon Winery 
Member Semi Formal Dinner Party | Dec 8 | 5pm – 8pm | Cost $20 – $30 | Special event for members. 

Cougar Vineyard and Winery 
Craft Night is Back! | December 4 | 3pm – 5pm | Cost $55, $50 members | Price includes all supplies +1 glass of wine | Snowman wine bottles! 21+ event. 

Doffo Winery 
Holiday Polenta Party | December 10 & 11 | 11:30am-3:30pm | Cost $65 includes polenta + 1 glass wine | Annual Doffo Family tradition of “polenta a la tabla” featuring carolers and holiday market. Tickets available at shop.doffowines.com.

Europa Village 
Holiday Brunch Buffet | Saturdays and Sundays Nov 26 – Dec 18 | Saturday, Dec 31 & Sunday, Jan1 | 10 am – 2 pm | Adults: $64 | Members: $57.60 | Children: $29 Members: $26.10 | Whisk yourself away into a Spanish Winter Wonderland with an incredible holiday brunch buffet every Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy festive decorations, scrumptious holiday treats, and entertainment from The Dickens Carolers | Reservations strongly recommended, visit:  https://www.europavillage.com/ | Walk-ins welcome. 

Yuletide Cocktails | Nov 25 – Jan 1 | We’re adding a little extra holiday cheer to your cup with some delectable and festive drinks. Keep the party going this holiday season with everything from a creamy eggnog to a bright and refreshing cranberry cocktail | Available at Bolero Restaurante. 

Christmas Eve Buffet | Dec 24 | 2 pm – 8 pm | Adults: $70 | Members: $63 | Children: $35 | Members: $31.50 | ‘Tis the season to gather around the table with friends, family, and loved ones. Indulge in Bolero Restaurante’s elevated Christmas Eve buffet as well as a few exclusive dinner specials | For reservations please call us at 951.414.3802.  

Europa Village Gingerbread Village | Nov 25 – Jan1 | A sweet sight worth swooning over… We invite you to stop by the Bolero lobby at Europa Village, to experience our sweet and dazzling gingerbread village that you might even be able to smell from a mile away. Created by Executive Chef Hany Ali and his culinary team, the elaborately decorated gingerbread replica of the future Europa Village Wineries and Resort is covered with individual gingerbread bricks, colorful candy, sweet treats, baked goods, and other delectable confections. 

The Nutcracker at Europa Village | Dec 1 – Dec 4 | 7 PM | The Ballet Studio & Norris Performing Arts Center brings its version of the most-performed ballet in the world to the outdoor Piazza at Europa Village for the third year in the heart of the Temecula Wine Country. The enchanting tale of a girls first love, a Magician, a Rat King, a Nutcracker, and a Prince, set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score comes to life in the magical Christmas setting at Europa | Not only will guests have the opportunity to enjoy this holiday classic, but we will also be offering a very special Nutcracker dining experience at 5:30 PM before the show. Book your tickets or one of our exclusive packages now as seating is limited. 

Temecula Valley Master Chorale Presents “The Magic Of Christmas” | Dec 11th | 6 pm |“The Magic of Christmas”, is a Holiday Concert for the whole family presented by Temecula Master Chorale with live orchestra, under the direction of David Wells.  Come experience Handel’s Christmas ‘Messiah’, John William’s ‘Home Alone’, Christmas carol SING-ALONGS, and other holiday music. Enjoy the choir, orchestra and Dickens carolers! PLUS an opportunity for visits and pics with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. This is an outdoor event among the vines and stars of Europa Village. Bring your warm winter attire and enjoy wine, hors d’oeuvres and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus! 

Frangipani Winery 
Ugly Sweater Karoke Night | Dec 9 | 5:30pm -9pm | Join us for some fun and show us your ugliest sweater..Hosted by Lillian Thomas of Sing It Like You Mean It.  

Ugly Sweater Party | Dec 10 | 6pm – 9pm. | Cost: $40; members $35 | Wear your ugliest sweater for some fun prizes | Bring an ornament to hang on our tree in exchange for our homemade ornament for your tree at home | Live music with Billy Fedak, | Pasta Bar catered by Gourmet Your Way | Reservations required 21+ event | Purchase tickets at Frangipanievents.com or call the winery at 951-699-8845 

Filipino Cusine Pop-Up | Dec 16 – Dec 18 | 11am-5pm | 10 vendor chefs creating delicious dishes for purchase. 

Gershon Bachus Vintners 
Gershon Bachus Winemakers Six Course Dinner | Dec 10 | 6:30pm -9:30pm | Cost $185, $165 members | All wines aged and served with chef’s best menu. 

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery 
Santa Dinner | Dec 4  | 5pm – 9pm | Cost $45; $40.50 members  – Child $20, $18 member | Photo with Santa | Santa reads “Twas the night before Christmas | Cookie decorating kit & more | Visit: https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-415969/Santa-Dinner.html for details 

Chanukah Celebration | Dec18 | No charge, RSVP only | Celebrate Chanukah at Lorimar with Menorah Lighting, Laktes & more! Visit: https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-415968/Chanukah-Celebration.html for details. 

New Year’s Eve Party |  Dec 31 | 6pm – 11pm | Cost: $100;  $90 members | Ring in the New Year with us at our 2nd annual New Year’s party | Visit: https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-415970/New-Years-Eve-Party.html for details. 

Masia de la Vinya Winery 
Jingle and Mingle | Dec 2 | 11am – 7pm/8pm | Live music, ornament decorating, gift shop sale, holiday cocktail & mocktail | Family friendly | Food for purchase: Simon Says pizza 3pm-7pm 

A December to Remember Vertical Dinner | Dec 10 |  6pm – 8:30pm | Cost: $135; members $125 | 4 vintages of Masia Cabernet Sauvignon paired with 4 courses by Chef Daniel from Naughty Pig | Seating is limited 

A Wine-derful New Year Karoke | Dec 30 | 5pm – 9pm | New year specialty cocktail, gift basket raffle  

Monte De Oro Winery 
Signature Food & Wine Series | Dec 18 | 11:30am-1:30pm | Join us for our Signature Food & Wine Series, featuring the culinary creations of Chef Alfred paired with our award-winning wines | Purchase Tickets at: https://shop.montedeoro.com/res-401398/Signature-Food-Wine-Series.html  

Wine Bingo | Dec 29 – Dec 30 | 6:30pm-9:00pm | It’s time for Bingo, Monte De Oro style! Join us on either Thursday, December 29th OR Friday, December 30th, for a night of calling numbers and sipping your favorite MDO wine! 
Purchase Tickets at: https://shop.montedeoro.com/Reservation-Events  

Peltzer Family Cellars 
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree | Dec 16 | 5pm -10pm  | 21+ Only | Live music and food trucks  

Christmas on the Farm Market | Dec 18 | 11am -7pm | All Ages | Photos with Santa, cookie decorating station, live music, local food trucks, local market vendors.  

Holidate Nights | Dec 29 | 6pm -9pm | Live music, local food truck, and sangria flight special  
 
Late Skate | Dec 31 | All Ages | 10:30am -9pm | Visit: https://www.peltzerwinery.com/peltzer-ice-rink/ for tickets. 

New Year’s Eve Party | Dec 31 | 7:30pm-1:30am | 21+ only | Late night skate session, local food trucks | New Year’s dress up themes | DJ and dancing | Visit: https://www.peltzerwinery.com/ for tickets 

Ponte Winery 
Shopping Night at Ponte | Dec 9 |  5pm – 7pm | You are cordially invited to join us for Shopping Nights in the Ponte Tasting Room | Casually browse our selection of one-of-a-kind gift items while sipping on your favorite glass of Ponte wine and sampling our gourmet selection of tray-passed appetizers | Don’t miss this unique opportunity to cross everyone off of your holiday shopping list with special discounts on wine and merchandise, exclusive only during Shopping Night events.  

Ponte Vineyard Inn and The Restaurant at Ponte  
New Year’s Eve Celebrations | Dec 31 | Visit: www.Pontevineyardinn.com  and The Restaurant at Ponte – www.pontewinery.com, for more information. 

Raul Ramirez Winery 
Fiesta de Navidad Con Nuestros Caballos | Dec 10 | 3pm – 7pm | Cost: $135 | Andalusian Horse show | 3 course meal buffet style with dessert, complimentary glass of wine, champagne toast | Music by the famous Flamenco Guitarist David Maldanado | Special Christmas gift and raffle | Purchase Tickets at: https://www.exploretock.com/raulramirez | Tickets are non-refundable. 

Thornton Winery 
Christmas Dinner | Dec 25 | 11:00am – 5:00pm | Menu & Pricing TBD | Call for Reservation: 951-699-0099
or Visit: https://www.thorntonwine.com/ for more information

Vitagliano Vineyards and Winery 
Christmas Sip & Shop Event  | Dec 5 – 6, 11am – 4pm | Dec 7, 3 – 8pm |  20% discount with receipt from any vendor. 

Line Dancing w/ Nita | December 18 | 1pm – 4pm | 

Wilson Creek Winery 
New Year’s Eve Party | Dec 31 | 6:30pm – 12:30am | Cost: $198 – $220 | Ring in 2023 at Wilson Creek Winery! Join us for an elegant black tie night as you dance the night away complete with a three-course handcrafted plated dinner | Open bar, dessert bar and more | Pianist and vocalist during dinner service | Dance the night away with a high energy DJ from 9:30pm-12:30pm | Rain or shine event |Visit:  www.WilsonCreekWinery.com for tickets | Tickets are non-refundable 

Share

Winter Berry Forest Cake in a Cup

December 1st, 2022

Winter Berry Forest Cake in a Cup

Rich chocolate cake with rich blackberries, raspberries, and whipped cream. This decadent classic dessert is the perfect finale after a meal between good family or friends. Super delicious to pair with a Temecula Petite Sirah.

Ingredients

Chocolate muffin mix

  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dark cocoa powder unsweetened (70%)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Berry Mixture

  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar

Garnish

  • Canned whipped cream
  • ¼ cup Mint leaves

Serves: 12

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees or 180 C.

Chocolate muffin mix: In a bowl or stand mixer, add eggs, butter, vanilla, and sugar. Whip on high to medium speed until light and fluffy. About 5 to 10 min depending on speed and mixer. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix till all are combined. Pour flour, and cocoa mixture into the whipped mixture and fold together with a spatula. By folding it you keep more air in the batter for a fluffy finish.

Lightly oil a 12-muffin tin. Evenly distribute batter into muffin tin and bake for 15 to 20 min or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove from heat and let cool.

Berry Mixture: In a medium saucepan (off heat) add water, ½ cup blackberries, and ½ cup raspberries. Whisk in cornstarch, lemon juice, and sugar. Whisk over medium heat until starts to thicken. Add remaining berries and bring to a light boil for (about 8 minutes).

Add brownie to a small glass or mason jar. Top with berry mixture. Top with whipped cream & mint.

Suggested Wines:

Thornton Winery ~ 2019 Petite SirahAromas of red and black and blueberries, black pepper, and dried herbs. A sweet jammy note at the end.

Peltzer Winery ~ 2019 Estate Petite SirahNotes of Cedar, blackberry, charred leather

Akash Winery ~ 2019 Dreamville Petite Sirah This popular Petite Sirah offers delicious aromatics

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

Share

All is NOT Quiet on the Temecula Valley Winter Wine Country Front

December 1st, 2022

Temecula vineyards

There’s plenty happening among the vines and barrels this season

While it’s tempting to feel sad while looking out at the seemingly lifeless vineyards during the winter months, once so lush and green with the promise of an abundant harvest, this is actually an important time in Wine Country. Just because the fruit has all been brought in after harvest doesn’t mean there isn’t still work to be done, and wine to be made!

Plenty is happening in the vineyard to prep the grape vines for their dormant season, and wineries are typically abuzz with barreling and bottling, keeping their teams busy until Spring bud break.  

“We barrel up and filter wines, and it’s the beginning of bottling,” says Gus Vizgirda, Winemaker at Wilson Creek Winery. “We are prepping sweet whites for bottling in January and barreling reds. We’re repairing irrigation and weeding in the vineyards.”

“It’s also when we switch from Lagers to IPAs,” he jokes.

In addition to hard work in the vineyard and cellar, there’s also a lot of planning and strategy for the next year’s harvest that takes place at this time.

“The winter season for us is defined by the completion of harvest, cooler temperatures pushing the vines into dormancy, and planning for the next year of farming,” explains Harjeet Bassi, Director of Agriculture at Stage Ranch Farm Management. “Currently we are applying soil amendments to our vines, controlling our winter weeds to ensure our vineyards are looking clean, and conducting trellis system repairs.”

In other words, things in Wine Country are very much humming with excitement… and, of course, plenty of wine tasting.

Winery owner and winemaker Nick Palumbo of Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery paints a romantic picture of historic Wine Country winters. “In Old World traditional wine regions, it was customary – and necessary – to head to the forests to hunt in order to stock up for the winter,” he explains. “With the wine put away and the vineyards going into dormancy, it allowed the vignerons a quick break before the pruning and prepping that the vineyards will need for the next season.”  

While this harkens back to times long ago, the Palumbos aren’t much different today. After enjoying a brief two-week break for some much-needed family bonding after harvest and before the work in the vineyard and cellar resumes, they make many of the same preparations as winemaking families generations before them did.

“Stocking the freezer with healthy foods for the year to come, along with time together and long mountain hikes make it all the better,” says Nick. “It’s a way we stay in touch with tradition, ensure a healthy and sustainable food source, as well as good family time that helps keep us grounded in who we really are and how in touch with nature our line of work really is. Not to mention how great those venison stew and red wine meals are during our short but cold winter here in Temecula Wine Country.”

There’s also a sense of excitement in Wine Country, as winemakers look ahead to the next season, take time to perhaps open up a few special bottles they’ve been holding for the holidays, and check in on some of those wines that have been aging in barrel. “I am most excited about the new vineyards we are planning to develop next season,” says Harjeet. “At this stage of the planning process, we are evaluating which varietals and clones we will be planting in Spring 2023.”

Adds Gus: “This is the time to ‘unwrap’ the older vintages and de-barrel them. We love seeing how they have opened up in the barrel and are excited to see what is to come for the next vintage!”

Share

November Winery Events

November 1st, 2022

Friends celebrating together with wine

Altisima Winery 
Anniversary Gala | November 5 | 7:00pm –10:00 pm | More info and tickets: https://altisimawinery.com/events/altisima-anniversary-gala/

Paint & Sip | November 3 | 1:00pm – 4:00pm | More info and tickets: https://altisimawinery.com/events/paintandsip/ 

Callaway Winery 
Annual Barrel Tree Lighting & Dinner Event | November 26 | 6:00pm-9:00pm | $35 for non-members, $25 for members | LETS GET LIT will be a fun filled evening showcasing our barrel tree lighting, a holiday market full of local, artisanal vendors, holiday wine discounts, an ugly Christmas sweater contest, live music, wine & good eats! What better way to get into the spirit of Christmas in wine country? | To purchase tickets, please visit https://shop.callawaywinery.com/  

Holiday Market | November 26 | 1:00pm to 9:00pm | The holidays are here, and we are thrilled to present a not-so-silent night, holiday extravaganza for all our lovely guests! What better way to get into the spirit of Christmas in wine country?  

Churon Inn Winery 
Succulent Craft Party | November 10th | 4:30-6:30pm | Info and tickets: https://shop.innatchuronwinery.com/res-434175/Succulent-Craft.html  

Danza del Sol Winery 
New Member Tour | November 13 |  |11:30am-5:00pm | $15; $10 for members | Join us and tour the: Barrel Room, Library Room, Member’s Club House, and Production Facilities | Enjoy a guided tasting by one of our Danza Wine Specialists | Reservations required | RSVP online or with Nathalie: n.pierce@danzadelsolwinery.com  

Membersgiving | November 19 | 1:00pm – 3:00pm | Cost $32 | Taste the 2016, 2017 & 2019 Super Tuscan varietals side-by-side | Light appetizers provided by Boards & Baskets | RSVP online or email Nathalie: n.pierce@danzadelsolwinery.com  

Europa Village 
Thanksgiving Brunch Buffet | Thursday, November 24 | 11:00 am – 3:00 pm | Adults: $89; $80.10 for members, Children: $39; $35.10 for members | The holidays have never been so quick, easy, and delicious. This Thanksgiving, Bolero Restaurante is doing the cooking for you with our delightful Thanksgiving brunch buffet, featuring traditional holiday flare and other Spanish favorites. Don’t miss out on this incredible feast that will leave no one hungry. | For reservations, please call us at 951.414.3802 or visit www.europavillage.com  

Holiday Brunch Buffet | Offered Saturday & Sunday on the following dates, Nov. 26, Dec. 18, Dec. 31, and Jan. 1 | 10 am – 2 pm | Adults: $64; $57.60 for members | Children: $29, $26.10 for members | Whisk yourself away into a Spanish Winter Wonderland with an incredible holiday brunch buffet every Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy festive decorations, scrumptious holiday treats, and entertainment from The Dickens Carolers | Reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-ins welcome. For reservations, please visit us at www.europavillage.com  

Holiday Market | November 25 through December 11 | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm | Experience the magic of the season and celebrate a holiday tradition at C’est la Vie! Join us for an enchanting holiday wonderland with our European-inspired Holiday Market. Discover seasonal gifts and decorations highlighting European craftsmanship, nutcrackers, ornaments, décor, and much more! 

Falkner Winery 
Comedy Night | November 2 | 7:00pm – 8:30pm | Hosted by Frankie M | Enjoy Falkner Wines, cocktails, food and laughter | Doors open at 6:15pm | Purchase tickets gofrankyourself.com  

Dinner with Wine Pairing and Live Music | November 19 | 6:30pm-10pm | We are open for dinner! Only happens twice a year! Enjoy some amazing food from our New Chef, Luis Sandoval | Come and dine with the owners Ray & Loretta Falkner | Reservations are available until November 15th by calling our Holly in the Wine club at 951-676-8231 ext. or via email wineclub@falknerwinery.com | Menu is coming soon but get your reservations in now! 
 
Frangipani Winery 
Karaoke Nights | November 4 | 5:30pm-9:30pm | Hosted by Lillian Thomas of Sing It Like You Mean It | Enjoy Frangipani Estate Wines, Beer, Wine Cocktails, Food, and Fun | For more information, please visit www.frangipaniwinery.com  
 
Lorimar Vineyards & Winery  
Harvest Festival |November 13 |11:00 am-5:00 pm | $10 non-members, $9 for members | Family Friendly, Live Music, Local Vendors, Food and more! | https://shop.lorimarwinery.com 
 
Sip & Shop | November 29 | 5:00pm-9:00pm | No Charge, RSVP only | Shop local vendors, wine & more! https://shop.lorimarwinery.com 

Masia de la Vinya Winery 
SIP & SHOP Vendor Market | November 5 | 11am to 4pm | Vines & Vases, Indy girl Co, Three 2 Seven Jewelry, T&T custom decor, Laluna Clay Co., Cup it designs, Mothersucca | Food truck: Jimmie and Tiffany’s Tacos | Live Music: Tim Apple 12pm to 4pm | For additional information please visit our website www.masiadelavinya.com  

Maurice Carrie Winery 
TasteGiving | November 11 | 4:30pm – 7:30pm | Wine and Seasonal Small Bites pairing | Tickets can be purchased over the phone or in the Tasting Room | open to anyone 21+ | For more information and pricing please visit us at www.mauricecarriewinery.com  

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery 
20th Anniversary Party | November 19 | 6:30pm-10pm | Tickets must be purchased in advance $65, $55 for members |contact Cindy@palumbowines.com or call (951) 676-7900 

Thornton Winery 
Thanksgiving Dinner | November 24 |11:00 AM – 5:00 PM | $79.95 Adults, $23.95 Children (10 and Over) | 3-Course Meal | Menu: https://www.thorntonwine.com/holiday-events/thanksgiving/
Call for Reservation: 951-699-0099 or visit Website: https://www.opentable.com/restref/client/?rtype=ism&restref=105913&corrid=8960f3e5-c9be-4c01-aeae-dde156e2523a 

Share

Feeling Chilly? Have Some Wine to Warm Your Spirits

November 1st, 2022

Wine by the fire

Your Complete Temecula Valley Wine Shopping List for Cool Weather and Holiday Sipping

Anyone who’s ever visited Temecula Valley in the fall and winter months knows that, while those afternoons are usually gorgeously sunny and warm, those evenings can get downright chilly. Not only is this good news for our favorite fashions, not to mention our electric bills after all those summer months of running the AC, it’s also good news for our grapevines.

Cool-weather months are an important part of the life cycle of the vine. Those vines may look barren compared to the months leading up to and during harvest when they are lush with grapes and green foliage, but there’s a lot going on underground that tells us they are actually full of life. All the energy they normally put toward producing fruit or canopy growth is now being directed toward the vine’s root systems. Roots are digging deep into the ground searching for nutrients and storing carbohydrates in the trunks of the plant to keep the vine healthy during the winter months and provide essential energy to produce new leaves and shoots during spring budburst.

Fall and winter months also give us so many great opportunities to sip our favorite Temecula Valley wines. From never-ending holiday celebrations to lots of cooking and gathering with friends and family, to that constant urge to just curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and a movie, cold weather calls for delicious wines.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorites from Temecula Valley for Thanksgiving, the holiday season, or just sipping throughout the cooler months. 

WHITE WINES:

Avensole Winery 2021 Chardonnay, $36

This robust and versatile Chardonnay has heady aromas of apple, pear, and lemon meringue pie, and a luscious flavor profile. It’s an excellent choice for Thanksgiving dinner, paired with turkey, a honey ham, or mashed potatoes.

South Coast Winery 2020 Pinot Blanc, $27

With a rich and lush mouthfeel, hints of brioche, pineapple, and citrus, and bright acidity, this wine is a crisp, quaffable selection that pairs with the whole fall flavors and holiday dishes. We especially love Pinot Blanc paired with more exotic flavors like curries, and spicy noodle dishes.

SPARKLING WINES:

Carter Estate Blanc de Noir, $39

Blanc de Noir is a classic style of sparkling wine that uses a black (noir) grape to make a white (blanc) wine. This is a rich and complex sparkling wine that demonstrates Pinot Noir character and richness, with a very fine mousse, and a delicate pink color.  Tantalizing strawberry, raspberry, and cotton candy aromas are married with a lightly toasted brioche and hazelnut bouquet that rounds out the fruit tones. It’s the perfect sparkling wine for just about any cuisine or occasion, especially a Thanksgiving toast to all that there is to be thankful for.

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvée Sparkling Syrah, $26

This is, hands-down, one of our favorite wines to pair with food over the holidays. South Coast’s Ruby Cuvée is all about bringing out the berry-fruit character of Syrah. It’s got a delicate sweet-tart finish, with hints of raspberry, cranberry, and lavender, with supple tannins and a clean, lightly sweet finish. This magenta-hued sparkler could easily replace the dish of cranberry sauce at your table as the perfect turkey accompaniment.

RED WINES:

Oak Mountain Winery 2017 Pinotage, $36

Why pair Thanksgiving turkey with one of the usuals when you can create a match made in food and wine heaven with something fun and offbeat like Pinotage? A cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, Pinotage is a medium-bodied, easy-drinking red, with flavors of field strawberries, raspberry, and plum.   It also has a pleasantly earthy kiss hidden beneath the layers of fruit that pairs beautifully with the savory but subtle turkey flavors. Bonus points if you smoke your turkey!

Danza del Sol Winery 2019 Tempranillo, $45

This traditional Spanish grape grows very well in Temecula Valley. For a mouthwatering pairing, try Danza del Sol’s Tempranillo with a generous serving of curried butternut squash bisque with a slice of grilled Manchego & ham quesadilla. The wine has generous acidity and spice that loves mingling with the richness of the soup, and the saltiness of the meat and cheese combination.

Europa Village 2019 Garnacha, $44

Garnacha – or Grenache – is one of those soft, juicy, warming wines that is a favorite at any holiday table, especially for Thanksgiving. This one is an excellent choice for roast turkey but is also a great match for roasted salmon or vegetarian lasagna.

Wiens Family Cellars 2021 Merrytage, $75 (1.5 Liter Magnum)

This wine was produced with the sole purpose of creating something easygoing while at the same time full-bodied and cold-weather-ready. According to winemaker Joseph Wiens, “If wines could be articles of clothing, this one is the fuzzy sweater.” Merrytage is a festive play on “Meritage,” using Bordeaux grape varieties to create a blend that is youthful and fruit-forward, but with weight and structure as well. Pair this wine with the traditional holiday spread. It’s a crowd-pleaser that works particularly well with roast beef and turkey with gravy.

Wilson Creek Winery 2020 Cinsault, $50

The Thanksgiving table has a bunch of different and bold flavors, so a wine that pairs with a range of dishes is important. With a kiss of fruit, some spice, and gentle acidity, Cinsault is an easy classic that always delivers. The acidity works with the richness of the meal. Light, fruity, and fresh, it works with all of the flavors at the table.

Bottaia Winery 2018 Montepulciano, $68

Nothing says cold weather wine like Bottaia’s plush Montepulciano. It’s deeply hued and rich, yet also offers balanced flavors of boysenberry, black cherry, and cola. It’s the perfect wine for a cool afternoon or evening, cozied up by the fire pit. It’s also a dream paired with hearty ragu. No matter how you choose to sip it, it will warm the soul as you enjoy the fall holiday season.

Ultimate Vineyards 2020 Rouge, $68

This estate-grown wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. It’s full-bodied with rich flavors of cherry compote, raspberry, and leather, making it the perfect pairing for hearty winter comfort foods like smoked ham or a holiday prime rib roast. It’s also delicious on its own as “contemplation” wine for sipping by a roaring fire.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2018 Estate Sonata, $50

This estate-grown blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautifully balanced, medium-bodied red that won’t overwhelm but rather complement all of the dishes on your Thanksgiving or holiday table. We love it with sourdough stuffing laced with sausage and cherries. The blend of the two wines will enhance the flavors of cherry, clove, and allspice that make this dish a holiday favorite. It’s also elegant enough to keep on the table for dessert, accentuating any cocoa flavor that make be on the menu.

Share

French Onion Grilled Cheese Panini

November 1st, 2022

Grilled cheese with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon

This amped-up version of a grilled cheese uses Munster & Swiss along with bold beefy onions sauteed with rosemary and thyme. It’s the ultimate indulgence for a fall lunch. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ingredients

  • 4 crusty panini buns
  • 8 slices of Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices of Munster cheese
  • 1 large white onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp rosemary
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • ½ cup butter

Directions

  • Cut the buns in half and butter the outsides of each.
  • Place the remaining butter into a frying pan on medium heat. Add the onions and herbs. Cook for about 7 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Add the beef broth and continue to cook until all broth is absorbed by onions. Remove from heat
  • Heat panini press or create one by placing a heavy pan on top of the grilled sandwich in a frying pan.
  • Place 1 slice of Swiss cheese on the bottom slice then add an equal part of the onion mixture. Add a slice of Munster cheese and the second slice of Swiss. Place the top bun on and press in panini press or fry in a pan with the heavy pan on top until golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove and cut in half. Server with sweet or dill pickles

Suggested Wines:

Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2020 Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Classic aromas and flavors of cherry, black currant, vanilla, tobacco, and earth.

Akash Winery ~ 2018 Spotlight Cabernet Sauvignon Aromas of black cherry and cassis balanced by bright herbal and ripe bell pepper notes. 

Leoness Cellars ~ 2018 VS Cabernet Sauvignon Pace Vineyard Aromas of boysenberry and cherry accented by notes of vanilla, olive and lavender.

Bel Vino Winery ~ Gold Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Flavors of black cherry, warm spice & black pepper. Aromas of black currants and vanilla.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

Share

Temecula Valley Wineries Pair Wine with Their Favorite Scary Movies for Some Fa-boo-lous Halloween Fun

October 3rd, 2022

Friends watching horror movie while sippin’ on a glass of wine

Usually, around this time of year, the wine and Halloween candy pairing stories start appearing everywhere. And, while we love the idea of stuffing our faces with Halloween treats while sipping Temecula Valley wines, in practice, most wine doesn’t actually taste that good with candy corn.

We think a much better sounding idea around Halloween is to pour ourselves a glass of our favorite Temecula Valley bubbly, crisp white, juicy rosé, or brooding red (or all of the above!) and curl up on the couch with a super scary movie. Nothing soothes the racing heart and sweaty palms that come from watching a spooky flick quite like a delicious glass of wine.

With that in mind, we asked our Temecula Valley Wine Country personalities to pair their favorite wines with their favorite horror movies… and the results were spine-chilling and glass-filling. Side of Smarties and Tootsie Rolls optional.

Nick Palumbo, Palumbo Family Vineyards and Winery

Movie: Cabin in the Woods

Wine: 2016 Cellar Dweller Red Blend

“It’s a not-so-common blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Mourvèdre, and 20% Grenache that’s full of mystery and intrigue. In the movie, college students are manipulated by mind altering drugs into the cellar of a remote cabin to be attacked by various dwellers.”

Valerie Andrews, Oak Mountain Winery

Movie: Hannibal

Wine: 2017 Temecula Hills Syrah

“The dark, brooding aromas of our 2017 Syrah will keep you as captivated and on the edge of your seat as the movie.”

Rick Buffington, Cougar Winery

Movie: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Wine: 2018 Kaleidoscope

“The wine is a blend of many red wines; some darker red, some lighter red, but all red (insert sinister laughter here)!”

Kristen Troxell, Hart Winery

Movie: Hocus Pocus

Wine: 2019 Tres Hermanos

“Sit and sip to the theme of threes! Enjoy Tres Hermanos while watching the three Salem witches scheme during Halloween. Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre make up this Rhône blend. The entry is soft and rich, brimming with cherry and clove flavors that lead into a velvety mid-palate with a hint of caramel – perfect for a spooktacular evening.”

Julie Hulse, Gershon Bachus Vintners

Movie: Zombieland

Wine: 2017 Caelus Petite Sirah

“We felt like the movie deserved a deep, bold wine to pair with all of the blood, guts, and humor.

Sharon Canon, Akash Winery

Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Wine: 2021 Dreamville Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

“Surely it has to be a Chianti with Silence of the Lambs… Are we classifying that as a horror movie? On a serious horror note, it has to be the original Freddy Kreuger paired with Akash Dreamville Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Because as Freddy’s screen time was kept to less than 10 minutes in the original film, the same time frame goes when it comes to a bottle of the bubbles – it’s hard to not finish it in under 10 minutes!”

Jessy Hyle, Bel Vino Winery

Movie: The Haunting

Wine: 2017 Long Valley Long Valley Red

“My favorite scary movie is the 1963 version of The Haunting. It pairs well with our 2017 Long Valley Red – a comforting wine with aromas of chocolate and cherry, and flavors of jam, toasted oak, spices, and vanilla…perfect for a scary night.”

Erin Cahoone, Robert Renzoni Vineyard

Movie: The Exorcist and Vecchio Frate. 

Wine: 2016 Vecchio Frate

There is only one wine that Father Damien Karras will reach for after a long day of exorcising demons…that is of course, Robert Renzoni’s Vecchio Frate or “Old Friar”. This deep, intense wine not only takes the edge off after a long day of exorcising demons, but it also bears the name “Old Friar” which brings Father Karras an extra veil of comfort and protection that is needed to complete his fatherly duties.

Gus Vizgirda, Wilson Creek Winery

And, as always, Gus, Wilson Creek’s well-known and much-loved winemaker understood the assignment perfectly and over-delivered, providing not one, but three brilliant pairings.

Movie: IT

Wine: Plethora

“Most people ask what grapes are blended in IT, making this wine an ideal candidate when watching IT. The flavor notes of blueberry, green peppercorn, and tobacco will help calm your nerves during the most suspenseful parts.”

Movie: Silence of the Lambs

Wine: Family Reserve Zinfandel

“Looking for a concentration of flavor, intensity of aroma, and full-bodied character? We recommend our Zinfandel. A perfect pairing with liver and fava beans.”

Movie: Leatherface

Wine: Petite Sirah

“This wine displays notes of blackberry, herbs, and ripe plum with undertones of black pepper and smokey leather, making this wine frighteningly good. Order pizza, and watch as Leatherface terrorizes his victims.”

We suggest grabbing a bottle of every suggestion, calling up a few of your favorite people and planning the ultimate wine-soaked Halloween movie marathon.

Share
  • Categories

  • Archives