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PAN-SEARED SALMON WITH CORN AND POBLANO SALAD

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Pan-Seared Salmon

Wild-caught California salmon is one of the culinary highlights of summer in the Golden State. A fresh corn salad with a Mexican accent is the perfect complement and would be just as compatible with halibut fillets, scallops, or shrimp. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Grenache Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 2 large poblano or Anaheim chilies 
  • 2 ears yellow corn, husked 
  • 1 cup (40 g) very coarsely chopped cilantro 
  • ½ small red onion, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • Juice of 3 limes, or more to taste 
  • 1 large avocado, ripe but firm, diced 
  • 3 ounces (2/3 cup/85 g) coarsely crumbled queso fresco 
  • Kosher or sea salt 
  • 1 serrano chili, finely minced (optional) 

Salmon

  • 4 six-ounce (175 g) skin-on salmon fillets 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Lime wedges for serving 

Directions:

Make the salad: Preheat the broiler. Put the poblano or Anaheim chilies on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until blackened on all sides. Let cool, then peel, remove stems and seeds, and dice. Turn the oven to 425°F (220°C). 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the corn to the boiling water and boil 30 seconds, then remove the ears with tongs and plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain when cool and pat dry. With a chef’s knife, cut away the kernels. You should have about 2-1/2 cups (350 g). 

 In a large bowl, combine the diced poblano or Anaheim chilies, corn, cilantro, red onion, olive oil, and juice of 3 limes. Add the avocado and queso fresco and toss gently.  

 Season well with salt and add more lime juice if desired. If the salad is not spicy enough for you, stir in some or all of the minced serrano chili.  

 Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast-iron skillet and put the skillet in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Season the salmon with salt. Place the fillets in the skillet, skin side down, and bake until they just flake when probed with a paring knife, about 10 minutes.  

 Serve salmon immediately with the salad on the side. 

Suggested Pairings:

Churon Inn Winery ~ 2019 Sauvignon Blanc – Well balanced with citrus flavors

Hart Winery ~ 2019 Grenache Rosé – With notes of cherry, watermelon and cranberry.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2019 CS Sauvignon Blanc – Rich citrus and stone fruit aromas are complemented by subtle hints of lemongrass and a crisp, lingering finish.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ 2017 Grenache Noir Rosé – Light in body, crisp in acidity and very dry, this rosé is the perfect wine for any cuisine and any festivity.

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Getting to Know Temecula Valley’s Rockstar Tasting Room Staff

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

We as wine lovers always like to hear how winemakers and winery owners got their start. We often think of them as local celebrities; their appearance in the tasting room is always met with hushed whispers and a great sense of excited anticipation – maybe they’ll sign my bottle! Or pour me a barrel sample! And they certainly deserve this rockstar status. However, there is another group of winery rockstars that equally deserve the spotlight – the tasting room staff who keep our glasses filled and hearts full.

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is known for its warm and welcoming tasting rooms. This is in no small part thanks to the remarkable men and women who bring their passion and engaging personalities to work every day, and to the stories they share with visitors about our region. Let’s meet a few Temecula Valley tasting room legends.

Walter Carter

Walter Carter, Director of Hospitality, Danza del Sol Winery & Masia de la Vinya Winery

This Temecula Valley rockstar is no doubt one of the best-known personalities in Temecula Valley. Not only is he the consummate wine and hospitality pro, being a Certified Hospitality Industry Professional (CHIP), a 2-time Xenia Spotlight on Service award winner, and a Certified Sommelier, his infectious personality is legendary in both the tasting room and across the region as a whole. Originally hailing from Tampa, Florida, he has lived in Temecula for eight years.

TVWA: Tell us about your family. Kids? Dogs?

WC: Jamie Carter is my wife, and we have a blended family of six kids.

TVWA: Wow – six kids! No wonder you love wine. Speaking of which, tell us about your first “a-ha!” wine moment?

WC: After working a shift in a restaurant in Florida, the chef prepared gorgonzola-crusted lamb chops, which he then paired with a Chianti. It changed the way I saw wine FOREVER! I describe this as my coming to wine (not Jesus) moment. The way the wine elevated the food, and vice versa, was something I’ll never forget.

TVWA: Do you have a favorite wine pairing?

WC: Gorgonzola-crusted lamb chops paired with a Chianti (of course), and 2009 Danza del Sol Syrah paired with blue cheese cheesecake.

TVWA: We think we may already know the answer, but do you have a signature tasting room style or move?

WC: The “Walter Pour” – an exaggerated long pour with a smile.

TVWA: Can you share one of your most memorable tasting room moments?

WC: Meeting my future wife. She was hired a couple of months after I was. I didn’t know it at the time, but she would end up being my best friend in the whole wide world.

TVWA: What does life look like for you outside of the winery? Got any hobbies?

WC: Golfing, and I love to cook. I love a good grill session, crock pot recipe, air fryer (just got one and I love love love it), you name it. I find it therapeutic when I have time to put together a nice meal for my family to enjoy. That is something that is very important to me.

Diana Geenen


Diana Geenen, Hospitality Operations Manager, Leoness Cellars

This Upland, California, native has been in Temecula Valley for the past 6 years. She is the proud mama of three dogs and a bearded dragon, and enjoys painting, cooking, exploring the restaurant and craft brewing scene, and gardening. She has also been part of the same book club for 11 years! Now that’s commitment!

TVWA: What was your first “a-ha!” wine moment?

DG: When I first heard of blind tasting. I was amazed this was possible! Ever since then, I really concentrate on the characteristics of different varietals and regions and try to commit them to memory. I really enjoy practicing blind tasting with my co-workers. 

TVWA: What is your favorite wine pairing?

DG: When I’m feeling extra fancy, Sauternes and Foie Gras. Though, nothing beats a ribeye steak and a beautiful bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon! 

TVWA: Do you have a signature tasing room style or move?

DG: One of my favorite things that we do at Leoness is side-by-side comparisons. For example, the same varietal but from two different vineyards tasted side-by-side can show the guest how a vineyard really influences the end result. We are so lucky to have our Vineyard Series wines. Guests have so much fun talking about the wine this way and can pick their favorite. It’s great to witness their A-HA! moment!

TVWA: Can you share one of your most memorable tasting room moments?

DG: I think the most memorable moment for me was Valentine’s Day 2019. We had the biggest storm in Temecula, and all the roads were flooded. I barely made it to the winery, and we were actually forced to close for the day, along with many other wineries, because the weather conditions were so unsafe. Water was coming into the tasting room and into our barrel room. It was truly a sight I’ll never forget!

Raymond Murgo

Raymond Angel Murgo, Tasting Room Manager, Falkner Winery

Raymond is originally from Anaheim, California, but has spent the past 9 years in Temecula. He married his high school sweetheart, Ana, with whom he has two daughters, Angelina (age 11) and Avani (age 8), as well as an English Bulldog named Coco Lola, whom he affectionately refers to as his “fur baby.”

TVWA: What was your first “a-ha!” wine moment?

RM: My first A-HA was when I worked for Buzz and Kimberly Olson at Tesoro Winery. I had just turned 21 and, up to that point, I’d tasted wine maybe twice at family gatherings. It was an ‘06 Merlot, blue label, with the vineyard’s decal. It was the fabled unicorn; when we had a bottle out, it was like a golden treasure. So, I opened up the bottle and poured glasses for Buzz and me, and I and remember looking at how beautiful the deep blue hue was. I began swirling the glass and watching, almost in slow motion, the wine glide from side to side. We raised our glasses and took that luscious sip. Black cherry and plum, finishing with a softness… the vanilla just rolled on the back of your palate. We talked for a great while, finishing that bottle, but I wouldn’t believe, at 21 years of age, I had found what my love and passion would be. 

TVWA: What is your favorite wine pairing?

RM: My favorite wine pairing has to be Falkner Winery’s Amante Super Tuscan paired with the Spanish Octopus we serve at our on-site restaurant, The Pinnacle. Chef Jason just knows his way with it to keep the tenderness, and the Amante accentuates the red plum, roasted pepper, and roundness. You would think I’d go with white wine, but no way! I learned with many of the dishes at The Pinnacle Restaurant that our Amante is a killer treat! 

TVWA: Do you have a signature tasting room style or move?

RM: So my family, friends, and wine club member have sent me some insightful characteristics when I asked them about this (and some direct messages that are strictly meant to stay in the tasting room… those had-to-be-there moments!). But what I have gotten mostly as feedback is that I make wine approachable to all visitors. I am able to tell a story about the world of Temecula Valley Wine Country with knowledge, ease, and laughter! It’s almost as though I bring them into the backyard, and we can just relax for those 45 mins… it’s home. 

TVWA: Can you share one of your most memorable tasting room moments?

RM: My most memorable moment had to be when Kyla Pratt, an actress who played in one of my childhood favorite movies called “Love & Basketball,” stopped by to visit. She was so fun; she even got behind the bar with me and started pouring for her party. It was just another one of those times that it felt like we were all friends and family hanging out. 

TVWA: What does life look like for you outside of the winery? Got any hobbies?

RM: Outside of the wine world, I’m a huge family man. With my Mexican-American lifestyle we have a party to go to every weekend, prior to COVID. I love taking my girls to family adventures. I can’t breathe without my Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe fanatic), and Anaheim Angels. I played almost every sport from the age of 7 years old and up. So, when I can rally the troops, we get together and play basketball. But, one of my hidden passions is that I love history and literature, especially historical fiction. I am currently writing a biography about my family and linking the social norms and experiences from the 1990s to present. It’s a whole lot of fun learning where you came from to practicing the foundation for your future grandkids. 

Laura Kessens

Laura Kessens, Wine Consultant, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

This Scottsdale, Arizona native has been in Temecula for a whopping 20 years! When not charming guests with her warm personality and wine knowledge at Robert Renzoni Vineyards, she spends her time cooking, going wine tasting, and hanging out with friends and family, especially her two daughters.

TVWA: What was your first “a-ha!” wine moment?

LK: Hart Winery

TVWA: What is your favorite wine pairing?

LK: A glass of wine and a sunset!

TVWA: Do you have a signature tasing room style or move?

LK: I’m not going to tell you what it is! You’ll just have to come experience it for yourself!

TVWA: Ha! Fair enough. Can you at least share one of your most memorable tasting room moments?

LK: Some guests asked me where I liked to go wine tasting. I told them. The next day, they came back to me with the wine they had bought and wanted me to sign a bottle for them… wow.

Danaé Wegner

Danaé Wegner, Tasting Room Manager, Peltzer Family Cellars

Even though Danaé was born in Lake Arrowhead, California, she definitely considers Temecula her hometown. This makes sense given she has been here for 25 years! Her love of wine infuses even her life outside of the winery. She loves to create lavish charcuterie spreads and host friends and family for what her friend and Certified Sommelier, Art DeCaro, has lovingly dubbed “Wine Family Dinner.” She also loves to snuggle her “big baby bear” (AKA a very large Newfoundland dog) named Amber Jean.

TVWA: What was your first “a-ha!” wine moment?

DW: For my 21st birthday, my wine-loving Aunt Georgi took my sister, Dara, and I out to the Mission Inn in Riverside to celebrate. We stayed up all night talking and drinking her favorite go-to everyday bottle, St. Francis Zinfandel. I realized that evening that wine creates moments, which create memories, and I was in love. 

TVWA: Do you have a favorite wine pairing?

DW: As a Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 certification holder, I enjoy only the finest food and wine pairings, like Peltzer’s DOCG Prosecco and the Pizza con Rucola from our friends at Spuntino’s!

TVWA: Do you have a signature tasing room style or move?

DW: Reaching up on my tip-toes in order to pour a glass of wine across the bar for thirsty customers. Being 5 feet tall creates strong calves in this industry!

TVWA: Can you share one of your most memorable tasting room moments?

DW: While taking a group through a tasting, it seemed apparent that one of the younger gentlemen wanted to be sure that I knew he was wildly experienced in the world of wine. I asked if he had ever had our premium sparkling wine. No, he had not. Well, it is very exclusive and I would have to go ask my manager if I could pour it for him. 

Permission granted! I went into the back and pulled out our Non-Vintage Pellegrino. It was his favorite wine of the day, and his friends appreciated his slightly shorter wine snob stance. We keep in touch, and I attended his wedding in 2016.

Rebecca Barone

Rebecca Barone, Wine Server, Monte de Oro Winery

Although Rebecca was born in in Northern California, she has called Temecula home for the past 19 years. Her 21-year-old son and his wife are serving in the Air Force, and her 18-year-old daughter just graduated high school. She has been married for 29 years, and has an adorable little Chihuahua named Cheerio.

TVWA: Do you have a favorite wine pairing?

RB: My favorite pairing is a big red with some salty Manchego or Parmigiano cheese.

TVWA: Do you have a signature tasing room style or move?

RB: I would say my style is honest and authentic but also fun and knowledgeable.

TVWA: What does life look like for you outside of the winery? Got any hobbies?

RB: My hobbies – other than wine – are being with my family, reading, hiking, and being outdoors.

Huge thanks to all the amazing winery staff who contributed to this piece. Got a favorite Wine Country tasting room rockstar? Tell us on social media and we will give them a shout out!

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Great Grilling Wines for Dad

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Grillin’ with Wine

Barbecues are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the day with Dad.  And all that grillin’ just screams for a good red wine.  But if you’re thinking it’s too warm for red, think again!  With these few tips, finding the perfect warm weather sip won’t have to put your love of red on hold.

  • Chill out!  Pop your bottle of red wine in the fridge for about 30 mins – or in an ice chest for about half that – and you’ll be amazed at how much more refreshing it will taste.
  • No or Low Oak wines are generally fresher and fruitier.
  • Low to Moderate Alcohol levels usually equate to lower tannin levels for a wine that won’t weigh you down.
  • Light to Medium bodied wines tend to be easy on the palate, bright and light.

So, whether you’re in the backyard or on the beach – serving burgers and brats, or steak and grilled veggies – there’s tons of options for pairing your favorite Temecula Valley wine with whatever you’re serving up.

If the mainstay is red meat, a spicy Zinfandel or Syrah would be perfect.  If you’re looking for a more mellow choice, a fruit forward Merlot always works; it’s also great with chicken, pork chops or fish.  If your fave is a Cabernet, go ahead and drink what  you like.  But try not to shortchange your options.  Go for a nice red blend for the best of all worlds.  And don’t forget about a blush wine; there’s nothing a nice dry rosé can’t do for spicy ribs and coleslaw – or a plate of spicy hot wings!

A  few Temecula Valley wine suggestions for your next barbecue:

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2014 Grenache – Black cherry, black pepper, dried herbs, and sweet spice.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2016 Four Torch GSM – Shows best at about 65 degrees. That’s roughly 15 minutes in your refrigerator before serving.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2015 Big Fred’s Red – Aromas of blackberry, cherry and allspice with flavors of dark fruit, tobacco and caramel on the finish.

Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2014 Merlot – Offers flavors of chocolate, plums, licorice, black cherries, blueberries and blackberries as well as jam, with aromas of black fruits such as black cherry, blackberry and cassis. الإباحية العربية من الدرجة الأولى بمشاركة نجوم إباحيين عرب ممتازين متوفرة بأفضل جودة على موقع xnxxarabsex.com سكس هو مؤشر مثالي على أنه حتى لو كانت الفتيات العربيات متواضعات المظهر ، إلا أنهن ما زلن ساحرات في نفوسهن ، ومستعدات لأي شيء لنشوة جنسية مذهلة نحن نجمع فقط الإباحية العربية الممتازة ، ونفتقد الباقي. إذا كنت على استعداد للاستمتاع بما تخبئه لك أشهر الممثلات الإباحية العربيات ، فتوقف قليلاً ولن تنسى هذا المشهد أبدًا يخلعون كل ما يخفي أشكالهم التي يسيل لها اللعاب ، ويستعدون لممارسة الجنس الذي لا ينسى مع أصدقائهم الرائعين.

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Mother’s Day Specials in Wine Country

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day!

Although the wineries and winery restaurants are only open for wine pick-ups and food take out, there are still plenty of wine country ways to show your Mom just how much she means to you! Here are just a few special offers!

Akash Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Includes one bottle each, Riesling, Parlez-Vouz Rose, Akash blanket, two small wine glasses, and Pretty Paints virtual succulent workshop.
Price: $140 + Club discount. Please visit us online www.akashwinery.com or call 951.888.1393 to order in advance!

Avensole Winery

AVENSOLE WINERY
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Because She’s Mom! Where family begins, and love never ends… Celebrate Mom and show your love and appreciation this Mother’s Day with the perfect relaxing warm weather sip – our beautiful 2016 Cinsault Blush! (100% Cinsault: rose-water, jasmine, lemon zest, brilliant cherries, cranberries.)
Price: Enjoy a 10% discount on three bottles of Avensole 2016 Cinsault Blush! Discounted price is $25.16 per bottle and available through Mother’s Day weekend. (Wine Club Member enjoy a 30% discount.)
How to order: We are offering complimentary Home Delivery within Temecula for orders of 3-bottles or more – please call us at 951-252-2003 x312 to place an order for Home Delivery or for Curbside Pick-up at the Tasting Room.
We are also offering complimentary Shipping for orders of 3-bottles or more delivering in California. Please email wineclub@avensolewinery.com to place an order to be shipped.

Bel Vino Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: “For Mom Duo” – one bottle of our Brut Bubbly and one bottle of our Peach Mango Bubbly
Price: $29.94 plus free shipping.
How to order: Please visit us at https://www.belvinowinery.com/ecommerce/package-deals.html

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Mother’s Day program offer: Case Sale: 40% Off Wine Club | 30% Off Non-Club on these select wines.
2016 Winemaker’s Reserve Calliope Red2016 Winemaker’s Reserve Roussanne, 2016 Special Selection Rose of Sangiovese, 2017 Late Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bottle Sale: 30% Off Wine Club | 20% Off Non-Club must purchase 6+ bottles.
UPS Ground Shipping included on all orders of 3+ bottles.
30% Off all Mother’s Day Merchandise (available at the winery only)
How to order: callawaywinery.com/shop or purchase at the winery or call 951.676.4001 for curbside pick-up.

Cougar Vineyard and Winery
Mother’s Day Mimosas: Choice between Cougar Bubbly or Dolce Bubbly bottle, fixings for a Charcuterie board for two, fresh organic estate oranges you can juice at home or garnish the sparkling bubbly with.
Special Price: Wine club $40, Non-Wine Club $45.
How to Order: Call 951.767.8595 or come in, we are closed Mother’s Day so pre-order and pick-up Saturday the latest.

Doffo Winery
Date: Saturday 5/9/2020 ~ Mother’s Day Dinner and Show for locals!
Wines included: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon and Paulina Sparkling
Take and bake dinner to include (feeds up to 4 people): Chef’s Traditional Caesar Salad, Choice of Homemade Vegetarian Lasagna OR Homemade Meat Lasagna and Italian Lemon Cream Cake for dessert.
Show Time: 7:00p.m. Zoomlink will be provided for flamenco guitarist Nocy nocymusic.com
Sale Price: $99.00 per person (Regular Price $175.00) – Must pre-order by Wednesday 5/6/20 by 2:00p.m. Be sure to ask us about our Mother’s Day Wine Bundles too!
How to order: Please call 951.676.6989 or visit www.doffowines.com. Dinner pick up between 11:30-4:30 on 5/9/2020.

Falkner Winery
Mother’s Day Special Wine Offer: 3 bottles of our red Luscious Lips wine for the price of 2.
Sale Price: Normal price is $53.85; special price $35.90.
How to order: Purchase on our website of www.falknerwinery.com or email wineclub@falknerwinery.com. Offer good May 7-11. We provide curbside pickup on Wednesdays between 11-3pm. Normal shipping in CA would be $9 but free shipping is available on any orders of 6 bottles or more.

Fazeli Cellars
Mother’s Day Special Wine Offer: 3 Pack Special: 2 Norooz & a bottle of Bubbly
Price: $60 Non-Members, $48 Members
How to order: Visit us online https://shop.fazelicellars.com/prod-391581/Mothers-Day-Special.html or via phone 951-303-3366 for curbside pick-up.

Leoness Cellars
Mother’s Day Special Wine Offer: Includes 12 bottles of 2019 White Merlot plus FREE shipping! You may also utilize our curbside pickup service at our production facility at Temecula Valley Winery Management: 27495 Diaz Rd. Temecula, 92590 {ARV: $288 + shipping, for a limited time}
Price: Members: $209 – Non-members: $239
How to order: Our call center and pickup location is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11-4pm. Call (951) 302.7601 ex 1 with your order or use the link: http://www.leonesscellars.com/mobile/dept-411056/White-Merlot-Case-Special.html
Enter promo code: MOMSMERLOT at checkout

Masia de la Vinya Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Bubbles & Brie – Join Grazing Theory and Masia Sunday, May 10th at 11 am for a virtual workshop and pairing.
Price: $55 + tax Bubble Trio (Masia NV Brut & NV Magrana, Danza’s NV Espumosa). Brie Tier Kit: $65
How to order: Bubble Tier: https://www.grazingtheory.com/events
Bubble Trio: https://www.masiadelavinya.com/dept-389751/Wine-Specials.html

Mount Palomar Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: “Give Momma some sugar” & “Thank you is best said with a bottle of red”
$25 for 2014 Castelletto Sangiovese / $15 for 2016 Cinsaut Blush, Riesling, Mont Noir Red Dessert Wine
Order online at www.mountpalomarwinery.com or at Mount Palomar Winery 11 AM to 5 PM daily for curbside pickup.

Peltzer Farm & Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Bubbles & Blooms, a locally grown mason jar bouquet from Kendall Farms, 1 bottle of DOCG Prosecco, and 1 bottle of 2019 Syrah Rosé. Plus we’re offering to schedule facetime shopping sprees in our Farmer’s Market. Items can be reserved for 24 hours and picked up in the Crush House.
Price: $85.95 ($66.85 for Crush Club members)
How to order: Pre-order on peltzerwinery.com by Wednesday 5/6 – For local delivery, email tastings@peltzers.com

Ponte Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Ponte’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide takes the guess work out of buying something special for the Mom in your life. Our gift sets include a little bit of everything – from our estate grown wine to dips, seasonings, oils and more!
Price: $48-$300 – There’s something for everyone!
How to order: Visit shop.pontewinery.com and view our Mother’s Day Gift Guide, or visit our Tasting Room during regular business hours (Direct URL to our gift sets: https://shop.pontewinery.com/Shop-Wines/Wine-Flights)

Oak Mountain Winery – Cave Cafe
Mother’s Day Special Menu Offer: 24 Hour Slow Cooked Prime Rib with choice of sides, spinach salad with cherries, candied almonds, Merlot vinaigrette and Strawberry cheesecake cinnamon rolls for dessert.
Price: $89 for 4 people: 2 sides / 4lbs and $169 for 8 people: 4 sides / 8lbs
OR
Shrimp Alfredo: Sautéed Shrimp & Fettuccine inhouse made sauce, spinach salad with cherries, candied almonds,
Merlot vinaigrette.
Price: $59.95 for 4 ppl. and $119.95 for 8 ppl.
How to order: Call the winery to order in advance for pick-up 951 699-9102
We are also offering Mother’s Day bundle of 1 bottle of Red or White Wine (from select menu) 1 bag popcornopolis popcorn, 6 chocolate covered strawberries and 1 finch berry soap for $47.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Mother’s Day Rosé Wine Bouquet – Includes 1 Bottle each of 2017 Grenache Noir Rosé, 2016 Tempranillo Rosé, 2017 Muscat Canelli Rosé, 2018 Merlot Rosé.
Price: $60, $45 for wine club
How to order: This package can be ordered at: http://store.wineresort.com/cart/prod/Mothers-Day-Ros%c3%a9-Bouquet__20MDROSEBOUQUET.aspx
Mother’s Day Pamper Pack: Includes Grapeseed Spa Robe, one bottle of Pinot Grigio Sparkling, Vineyard Rose Sparkling, South Coast Wine Glass, 1 pack of 3 Green Tea Under Eye Treatments, 1 10 fl. oz. Jar of Kopari Coconut Brown Sugar Scrub, 1 Kopari Lip Gloss.
Price: $175, $150 for club
How to order: This package can be ordered at: http://store.wineresort.com/cart/prod/Mothers-Day-Pamper-Pack__20MDPAMPERPACK.aspx
We also have various Mother’s Day merchandise that can be found here: http://store.wineresort.com/cart/cat/Home/Merchandise.aspx

Thornton Winery
Mother’s Day Special Menu offer: Thornton Winery is cooking for you with our curbside take-out. Moms show their love all year long so be sure to show your love on her special day! You can still treat mom and make sure she does not do the cooking.
Menu: Slow Braised Short Rib, choice of two sides and Meyer’s lemon cheesecake for dessert!
Price: $35.00 plus tax
How to order: Pre order by Friday May 8th (951) 699-0099.

Wiens Family Cellars
Mother Day Wine Specials: Special packages are available from Tuesday 5th through Monday 11th
Rose Package $51 member – $63.75 non-member
1 bottle each 2018 Rose of Pinot Noir, 018 Pink Crowded and Brut Rose
White Wine Package $54 member – $67.50 non-member
1 bottle each 2018 Albarino, 2018 Fume Blanc and 2019 White Crowded
Red Wine Package $87 member – $108.75 non-member
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Shipping included for orders over $50. Flat Fee $10 for orders under $50.
How to order: Visit us online www.wienscellars.com or call the winery at 951.694.9892 for curbside pick-up.

Wilson Creek Winery
Mother’s Day Dinner Offer: Mother’s Day Dinner Packages – complete meal – serves 8
Price: Prime Rib – $295. | Glazed Ham – $250. | Citrus/Herb Roasted Chicken – $275
How to order: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/dept-417070/Creekside-Grille-Preorders.html
Mother’s Day Wine Package: Nero d’Avola, Blanc De Blanc, Cellar Select Chardonnay
Price: $109.97
How to order: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/prod-417072/Mothers-Day-Wine-Package.html
Special Celebration Label Sparkling Wine 30% off. Price $15
How to order: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/prod-417072/Mothers-Day-Wine-Package.html

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How to Host a Virtual Wine Tasting

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Virtual Wine Tasting

Article courtesy of Decanter.com
Sylvia Wu

What should you think about and prepare before hosting an online tasting? We get advice from China’s first Master Sommelier, Lu Yang MS…

Staying home under lockdown doesn’t mean you can’t keep up your wine tasting practice. And it can still be a social event with friends, thanks to the selection of video calling options that are now available. Here are some top tips to get the most from your virtual wine tasting…

Getting prepared
Lu Yang MS, founder of Grapea Wine Education and regarded as one of the finest wine educators in China, has been holding weekly online wine tastings while the country has been in quarantine. He said wine lovers have three things to think about before organising a virtual tasting.

First is to find the right time; ‘after dinner is a good time, the end of the day, when people can sit down and taste’.

Next is to choose the appropriate software. ‘In China we use WeChat more often, but Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype or Microsoft Teams are all available and easy to use. The key is to choose one that all of your group can access and use with ease.’

Finding the right crowd is equally important, said Lu. ‘Even for professionals, we feel awkward sitting next to people we barely know at a wine tasting event. With virtual tasting, that awkwardness could be enhanced. So choose your crowd carefully, if this is the first virtual tasting you host – maybe start with friends that you know well and are relaxed around.’

Choose a theme
Lu’s advice on picking some wines to taste: ‘It always helps if you have a theme in mind – you can make it a vertical tasting from the same producer, or a horizontal (same vintage) range from a certain region.’

A theme is also important to keep people focused, ‘by the end of the tasting, your guests are more likely to have a sense of accomplishment if you’ve had thorough discussions around one topic.’

Get creative
Simply lecturing your guests on your wine knowledge across the screen can be rather dry. It’s time to get creative, said Lu, who suggests two ways to play blind tasting games online.

Game A
‘If you and your guests can get hold of the same range of wines, either from shops or from online stores, ask the shop keeper or a family member to put the wines into individual blind bags, and get them numbered before the tasting.

‘Now you are ready for a ‘cloud’-based blind tasting. You can decide either to keep scores and make it a competition, or ask your guests to take turns and guess about each wine.’

Game B
Another approach, which skips the hassle of bagging and numbering the bottles, is to simply ask everyone to pour the same selection of wines into their glasses.

‘Invite one guest to randomly choose a wine, taste and describe it to the others, and see if people can spot the exact same wine from their glasses.’

But for either game you choose, ‘make sure you have a range of bottles to try, so you have plenty to talk about.’

Three to four bottles are a good starting point, if it gets to more than five bottles, how to finish them afterwards could be a problem – something to keep in mind when planning the tasting.

‘It won’t be sensible to drink too much when you are on your own,’ Lu warned.

Advantages?
‘Frankly, there’s no advantage in virtual tastings compared to a real one. When sharing wine, you’d want to physically meet people, feel their passion and see the smiles on their face.

‘But in these difficult times, virtual tastings are a viable option for us to stay connected and share a passion.’

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Running Low on Wine? Consider Shopping Online

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Wine at home

With most of us spending a LOT of time at home these days, it may come as no surprise that our wine intake has increased. According to a recent Forbes article, national online sales increased by almost 250% in the month of March, while Drizly, an alcohol-delivery app active in 26 states, reported a 300% increase in sales over last year.

Typically, the United States alcohol industry is governed by what is known as the “three tier system.” Wines must pass through a wholesaler or distributor before they are sold through a retailer to the customer. And, as one would imagine, a layer of pricing is added with each tier – winery, distributor, retailer – ultimately reaching the consumer and the final price that they pay for the product.

However, in most states, it is legal for a wine consumer to purchase wine directly from the winery. This “Direct to Consumer” or DTC model cuts out the additional layers of pricing that the wine would go through to reach the retail or restaurant market. Further, as a result of the COVID-19 situation, wine businesses have fought to get the normally strict interstate shipping laws to open up, allowing wineries to ship their products directly to consumers across the country – in many cases, to states they were previously prohibited from shipping to.

This DTC model is what Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is founded on. Nearly all of the wines produced in Temecula Valley are not available at wine shops, in restaurants, or on the shelves of large grocery chains. They are available at the winery and through the wine club, for purchase, consumption, and online orders. And, thanks to these relaxed interstate shipping laws, more consumers than ever have access to wines they previously did not – including Temecula Valley wines.

In celebration of our wine consumers – and the potential growth of the DTC model – we have compiled 5 of the best reasons to join a Temecula Valley wine club right now.

1) You are supporting a local business.

This is perhaps the most important reason of all to sign up for a wine club at your favorite winery right now, or simply order a few bottles online. Most Temecula Valley wineries are family owned and operated and have been forced to lay off or furlough large numbers of employees as a result of the pandemic. We want there to be a wide range of wineries still open for us when this is all over. By purchasing directly from the winery, you are helping them stay in business and foster greater diversity and quality in the wines available to consumers. Large wine brands that are in national distribution are far more likely to weather this storm than small, family-run operations. Let’s make sure it’s not just grocery store wine that’s available to us when the world gets back to normal.

2) Temecula Valley wines cannot be found anywhere else.

Don’t you love being the person who shows up to the dinner party with a bottle of wine no one has ever heard of or tasted before? Everyone has a little bit of a desire to be an early adopter or the first to discover a best-kept secret. With few exceptions, Temecula Valley wines cannot be found at your local grocery store. This is your chance to pop and sip some truly unique bottles of wine that are representative of a time and a place, and reflect an unmarred journey from grape to your glass, straight from the winery itself.

3) Your wines are carefully curated by the pros.

When you sign up for a wine club, the selections you receive each month or quarter, depending on your club’s set up, are hand-selected by knowledgeable staff who are closely connected to their consumers and hoping to surprise and delight them with each shipment. They thoughtfully choose their featured wines according to what they believe is showing well and ready to be enjoyed. You can rest assured that you are in good hands when the winemakers and winery staff, who have intimate knowledge of each product and vintage, are picking your next sips.

4) It’s something to look forward to

Everyone loves to get mail. And this is the best kind of mail ever! How much better to know that you are scheduled to receive a delightful wine surprise every few weeks than simply realizing you are low on wine and buying whatever the grocery store has stocked right now.

5) Wine club memberships come with a lot of perks

A typical wine club membership doesn’t just include wine shipments. Memberships often come with a host of other great benefits, from substantial discounts on other wines, free shipping perks, free tastings, and access to exclusive events like library tastings and winemaker dinners, to name a few. Many wineries also offer different wine club tiers to suit different preferences and budgets – for example, all whites, all reds, mixed selections, or “reserve”-style memberships that offer access to past vintages and other small-production bottlings.

Plus, rumor has it, the wine club pick-up parties are pretty legendary… once we are able to have them again!

Bottom line: The next time you find yourself running low on your favorite juice, think about exploring some of the different wine clubs out there in Temecula Valley. Shop around – there are plenty to choose from. Or, simply place an order online for a few bottles to be sent directly to you. There are so many great discounts on wine and shipping right now, so there has never been a better, more consumer-friendly time to stock up on wine. For more information on wine club memberships and other “Sip From Home” promotions, visit www.temeculawines.org.

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Your Toughest Wine Questions Answered!

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country Rockstars Weigh in on Common Questions about Wine

Wine is supposed to help us relax, connect with others, and provide a feast for all the senses. But then why does it sometimes seem so complicated? From indecipherable tasting notes to words like “dry,” “tannic,” “aromatic,” and “sulfites” that leave us scratching our heads, it’s a wonder we don’t need a PhD to drink the stuff!

Fortunately, the experienced and deeply knowledgeable rockstars of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country are here to help! We tapped a few of our best and brightest to answer some of your most frequently-asked wine questions.

Q: What are “tannins”?

Renato Sais

A. Renato Saís, Winemaker, Akash Winery

Wine aficionados talk a lot about tannins, but what are they? Tannin basically refers to the dryness, bitterness, and astringency of a wine (typically red wine). It is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and the fruit skins of grapes used to produce the wine. Tannins can also come from the barrels that are used when aging many wines. These wood tannins are absorbed into the wine where various flavors become apparent.

Tannins start out tasting really dry, and it is through aging and manipulation, that we are able to transform a harsh “tannic” wine into a smooth, elegant, developed red wine. Tannins can be manipulated in different ways in the different steps of winemaking: Crushing and destemming, fermentation, aging and fining of the wine prior to bottling.

Because tannins are found in the skins of grapes, they are more present in red wines than they are in rosé or white wines. This is because red wines are fermented with skins, whereas whites and rosés typically aren’t.

Q. Speaking of dryness… What does it mean when we say a wine is “dry”?

Gus Vizgirda

A. Gus Vizgirda, Winemaker, Wilson Creek Winery:

It means the wine has a bad sense of humor.

Kidding… Simply put – “dry” is the opposite of “sweet.”

All wines start out as sweet juice made from the particular grape varietal; for example, Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. During the fermentation process, yeast consumes the sugar producing alcohol. So initially, the winemaker starts with a tank that’s 100% Chardonnay grape juice, and 0% wine. As fermentation progresses: Day 3 of fermentation 83% juice and 17% wine, Day 5 of fermentation 53% juice and 47% wine, so-on and so-on. As fermentation continues more sweet grape juice is fermented and converted into wine until the desired “Dryness” level is obtained. In general a “Dry” wine will have a grape sugar level at 0.4 – 0.6% (99.6 – 99.4% of the grape juice has been fermented by the yeast).

An interesting note is that the fruitiness of the grape remains with the dry fermented wine. In some cases, this fruitiness is intense and is often confused with sweetness.

Sweet wines are wines where not all of the sweet grape juice is fermented in the wine.

Q. Ok… Dry is the opposite of sweet, which can be confused with fruitiness. Can you explain what the difference is between a sweet and a fruity wine?

Danaé Wegner

A. Danaé Wegner, Tasting Room Manager, Peltzer Winery

A balanced wine encompasses a few elements that need to be cohesive: tannin, acid, sugar, and alcohol. Sugar is the most recognizable to our palates naturally, which is why us wine nerds often call sweet wines the “gateway wines.”

The difference between sweet wine and fruity wine is simple: we can measure sugar, but fruit is perceived. For example, there are grapes that are wildly aromatic and exude sweet floral notes like lilac and orange blossom, or ripe fruits like strawberry and white peach such as Viognier, Gewürztraminer, and Muscat. These wines may have a perceived sweetness due to the recognition of sweeter fruit notes but could technically be dry.

A term y’all may have heard thrown around your local tasting room is “residual sugar” or R.S. This is the sugar content in the wine after the winemaker stops the fermentation process. A sweet wine ranges from 3% R.S. to upwards of 15%. This resulting percentage goes all the way back to farming!

In the vineyard, we measure sugar level in Brix, which is sugar by weight. As the berries ripen on the grapevine, their sugar level rises, which signals to the farmer that the fruit is ready to be harvested. A higher Brix level means a higher potential alcohol content because during fermentation, the natural and added yeast consume the sugar and produce alcohol, along with carbon dioxide and heat. 

How do we enjoy both fruity and sweet wines? With sweeter wines, try an opposing, spicy food pairing like pepper jack cheese. With a fruity wine, try something that is also fruity to create a congruent pairing. Everyone’s palate is different, but we should all strive to find a purpose for every style of wine we encounter. Cheers!

Q. Why do some wines give me headaches?

Michelle Vener

A. Michelle Vener, Tasting Room & Wine Club General Manager, Fazeli Cellars

Okay…stating the obvious first – drinking too much and not hydrating will give you headaches.  To avoid this, consume responsibly and hydrate. Let’s assume that this is not the problem. Next…

The common misconception is that wine headaches are caused by sulfites in wine. This is false. Sulfites do cause a few people sensitivity/allergy (1%) but they are found in so. many. things. From dried fruit, to deli meat, to tomato paste and even cereal- and the symptom would be more asthma-like, not a headache. If you aren’t having reactions from dried apricots and salami, you are likely not allergic to sulfites.

Tannin and histamines – ding ding ding…we have a winner! This is where it’s at folks. Some people have the misfortune of having a sensitivity/allergy to tannins, and histamines. This is caused by two different substances found in the skin and stem of the grapes.  Without getting super geeky and going on about Phenolic flavonoids, biogenic amines and enzymatic reactions, suffice it to say that this is a real thing and there is a solution!  If you suffer from this allergy you can take a histamine blocker (like Claritin) before enjoying a glass of wine and your problems will fade away (in more ways than one!).

Q. So how DO I know if I am allergic to sulfites?

Jennifer Buffington

A. Jennifer Buffington, Owner, Cougar Vineyard and Winery

Like many other allergens, the symptoms of an allergy to sulfites include: hives and itchiness, flushing, itchy throat, dizziness, trouble breathing and in some cases upset stomach, diarrhea and vomiting. People who suffer from asthma, are much more likely to have an allergy to sulfites.

A sulfite allergy is an adverse immune response. It is when the immune system reacts negatively to sulfites. It can be treated with antihistamines or oral steroids. In rare cases, it may cause anaphylaxis and an epinephrine auto injector will be necessary to treat the person.

Sulfites are a natural by-product of yeast metabolism in the wine making process, so all wine contains small amounts of sulfites. Some wine makers add sulfites which can cause allergic symptoms to be more intensified.

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How to Still Experience Wine Country During Uncertain Times

Thursday, March 26th, 2020


And provide much-needed support to local businesses in the process

While you may not be able to visit your favorite wineries right now because either they are closed or you are practicing social distancing, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Wine Country! Here are a few ways to stay connected:

  1. Order some of your favorite sips. And be sure to try some new ones! Most wineries ship direct, so now’s the time to build that wine cellar you’ve always dreamed of. Not only will this give you a steady supply of wine while you are laying low at home, but it also helps these small business – many of which rely on visitation to survive – stay afloat during this tough time. We still want there to be wineries to visit when this is all over, right? The time is now to support local businesses in the ways that we can. Many wineries are offering great specials on individual bottles, gift packs, and shipping rates at the moment, so take advantage.
  2. Get creative with wine tasting! We are seeing some of our favorite media platforms and social media influencers hosting live virtual wine tastings. Stock up on a few bottles and join in the conversation. This will help you feel connected AND teach you the art of wine tasting. Host your own with your friends online if you’re up for it!
  3. SHARE…virtually. Again, small businesses need your help right now more than ever. With all of the at-home wine tasting you are doing, post your thoughts online! Share your tasting notes and impressions on social media, being sure to tag wineries and regions. These businesses will appreciate it.
  4. Review. Finally get around to doing all those Yelp, Facebook, and Google reviews you swore you were going to do after all of those positive customer service experiences you had not too long ago.
  5. Brush up on your wine studies. Taking a wine class or working toward a certification right now? Use this time to work through some of the material, take practices tests, or do timed “exam conditions” tastings. You will regret not taking advantage of the time you may find yourself with right now when life picks back up – hopefully sooner than later.
  6. Reach out. Send a message of support to your favorite winery, tasting room staff, or winemaker letting them know you appreciate them, and asking how you can help. This is a small gesture that goes a long way right now.

We will get through this. Let’s all stay positive, be kind, and do our part to make sure we come out the other side of this stronger than ever. Don’t forget to wash your hands!

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Get to Know the Rockstars of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Five Temecula Valley Winemakers Share Their Story

With over 40 different wineries in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, there is a lot to discover. While the tasting rooms and world class wines are part of what makes the region so special, the people and personalities behind these wines are the true driving force behind this remarkable destination. Let’s get to know some of them.

Tom Stolzer Thornton Winery

Tom Stolzer, Winemaker at Thornton Winery

Tom dreamt about being a winemaker while studying biochemistry at San Francisco State University in the 1980s, eventually falling in love with everything wine-related while visiting wineries in Napa and Sonoma on the weekends. 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry and a LOT of wine from every region in the world later, Tom’s wife encouraged him to follow his dream of making wine commercially. He earned his winemaking stripes working alongside some of Temecula’s most iconic winemakers, including Wilson Creek’s Gus Vizgirda (then at Maurcie Car’rie), and South Coast Winery’s Jon McPherson and Javier Flores. Now the winemaker at Thornton Winery, he is working on defining his own style, with the goal of making “wines with pure fruit, balance and finesse…that reflect the character that Temecula Valley gives to the fruit.”

We caught up with him recently and asked him a few questions.

Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association: Why did you choose Temecula Valley as a place to make wine?

Tom: Initially, I chose Temecula Valley because it was the closest established wine region.  After moving to Walla Walla, Washington to continue in the wine business, I realized that my heart belongs in Southern California, for family reasons as well as for my appreciation of the Temecula Valley as a wine region.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Thornton Winery?

Tom: Thornton Winery has a long history of producing quality wines.  First, it was a sparkling wine house, with 100% of production to Méthode Champenoise produced sparklers.  We are now about 40% sparkling with the rest being red, white and rosé table wines.  I hope to see Thornton carry on that rich tradition, while we pick up the momentum left by our past winemakers and continue to make better and better wines.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Temecula Valley?

Tom: Temecula Valley has a great history and potential, and there are some wonderful wines being made here already.  I hope to see us focus on those varieties that are best suited to our climate and region, and become a destination for serious consumers who will come to the Temecula Valley for world class wines that they cannot find in any other region of California. 

David Allbright
Monte de Oro Winery

David Allbright, Winemaker at Monte de Oro Winery

Science always came easily to David. His love and passion for winemaking eventually came to life as he began to study and understand the interplay of biology, chemistry and geography in the world of wine and winemaking. He cultivated a particular interest in Oenology – the science of winemaking – and was able to build the various lab skills so essential in clean and precise winemaking techniques. He then got his official start as a winemaker under Tim Kramer of Leoness Cellars, working seasonally in the cellar and supporting the bottling crew.  David describes his approach to winemaking as “really straightforward.” He stresses the importance of “wine integrity,” believing that if we label the wine as Cabernet Sauvignon, then that’s what it should taste like. He calls this the “quality of being honest.”

Here’s what else he had to say:

TVWA: Why did you choose Temecula Valley as a place to make wine?

David: I like to think Temecula Valley chose me.  My first visit to Temecula Valley was in 1992 when I was a United States Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, and I decided to visit some of the Temecula wineries.  A few years later, after graduating from Texas State University, I returned to Temecula and began working at Callaway Winery in 2001 under Tim Kramer as the assistant tasting room manager. In 2018, Temecula Valley Wine Country celebrated its 50th anniversary of the first commercial vineyard starting in 1968. That’s my birthdate! Maybe there’s a connection!

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Monte de Oro Winery?

David: Although Monte De Oro just celebrated its 10-year anniversary as a winery, it is really only in its second phase of growth and construction.  The first phase was the planting of 72 acres of vineyard in 2002, followed by the building and completion of the beautiful tasting room and winery in 2009.  Lastly, we will complete the final phase of a full-on natural gravity flowing wine production facility.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Temecula Valley?

David: I like to think I’m still a spring chicken in this winemaking community, so I truly believe the future belongs to the up-and-coming junior winemakers of Temecula Valley. These winemakers have been so fortunate to have learned from their mentors, and are now coming into their own in creating great, premium wines in their own personally-inspired style.

Justin Knight
Danza del Sol Winery

Justin Knight, Winemaker at Danza del Sol Winery

Like David & Tom, Justin was always drawn to chemistry and making things with his hands, which naturally led him to winemaking as a career path. His first job in wine was in the tasting room at Danza del Sol over 12 years ago, where he first developed an interest in the production side of the business. He then began to work under winemaker Mike Tingley and assistant winemaker Renato Sais, learning the ropes and further cultivating his passion. He eventually climbed the ranks from cellar hand to lab tech to cellar master and ultimately assistant winemaker under Arturo Villareal. In 2018, he was promoted to head winemaker for both Danza del Sol and sister property Masia de la Vinya, an achievement he credits not only to his education at UC Davis, but also to his three mentors, Mike, Renato and Arturo.

Justin describes his winemaking style as “an old-world approach, while incorporating new age techniques.” He aims to keep things simple, guiding the grapes to where they need to be in order to show best. “Simple yet elegant. Robust yet balanced,” he says. “Each varietal has its own story to tell; it’s my job to put it into words.”

TVWA: Why did you choose Temecula Valley as a place to make wine?

Justin: I consider myself a native to the Temecula valley, so to me the choice was easy. I’ve lived in Temecula for about 20 years, grew up playing soccer in this valley, and graduated from Great Oak High School. I wouldn’t want to be making wine anywhere else. Not only is Temecula my home, but its unique climate can produce some amazing wines.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Danza del Sol?

Justin: This year marks the 10-year anniversary for Danza del Sol Winery. The future is looking brighter than ever. We have plans on increasing our acreage and expanding our new wine selection. Look forward to trying our newly bottled whites, including Albariño, Chenin Blanc, and Grenache Blanc, starting this Spring.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Temecula Valley?

Justin: The sky’s the limit for the Temecula Valley, as more acres are planted, and more wineries built. The word continues to grow that this valley can compete with any wine region in the world. I recently heard someone say, “San Francisco has Napa, San Diego has Temecula.”  

David Bradley
Vindemia Winery

David Bradley, Owner &  Winemaker, Vindemia Winery

David and his wife Gail purchased land near South Coast Winery in 1999 to plant a vineyard and launch hot air balloons. After purchasing another vineyard, the couple started to learn how to grow wine grapes, ultimately inspiring them to make wine and open a winery. When asked about his winemaking philosophy, David says it’s not making wine in Temecula that’s difficult; it’s growing the grapes. “Our warm climate demands new techniques to produce age-worthy, well-balanced wines that have the potential to become really good wines. This requires ongoing education and experimentation,” he explains. “So Vindemia’s approach is not to stand still.”

So we cornered him and asked a few more questions.

TVWA: Why did you choose Temecula Valley as a place to make wine?

David: The choice of place was completely based on our hot air balloon business, California Dreamin’, moving from North San Diego to the Temecula Valley.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Vindemia?

David: Vindemia’s goal has always been to produce estate wines that fit the potential of the region at the very highest quality. Our future is based on this production, and our willingness to invest in this goal with people and technology. We will grow as the quality of our wine grows.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Temecula Valley?

Temecula Wine Country has experienced explosive growth. Wine regions seem to cycle and slow down over time to absorb new wineries and vineyard planting. To find a home for new small plot vineyards and expanded varietals, the quality of farming for these grapes will need to rapidly improve as lower quality vineyards are removed. Temecula Valley’s reputation is slowing and carefully growing into acceptance for producing high quality wine. Temecula needs more experienced and seasoned winemakers [to come join us out here].

Craig Larson
Callaway Vineyard & Winery

Craig Larson, Winemaker, Callaway Winery

Craig started his winemaking career as a cellar working in Washington State. His passion to create inspired him to become a winemaker, ultimately landing him at Callaway Winery in Temecula Valley, where he produces wine he describes as having “European influence – the expression of terroir and varietal character.”

TWVA: Why did you choose Temecula Valley as a place to make wine?

Craig: I chose Temecula Valley for the Southern exposure, and the opportunity to create wines from Southern grape varieties. 

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Callaway Winery?

Craig: I see Callaway continuing to pursue the research and development of unique grape varieties and wines.

TVWA: What do you see as the future of Temecula Valley?

Craig: I see more winemaking coming to the valley, and the development of viticulture here.

Huge thanks to these talented and passionate winemakers for taking the time to contribute to this story. Find out more about what’s happening in Temecula Valley at TemeculaWines.org and VisitTemeculaValley.com.

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March Winery Events

Friday, February 28th, 2020

Friends toasting with wine

Akash Winery
Yoga Class & Wine / Every Saturday and Sunday / 9:00am-10:00am / Tickets are $25 and includes one glass of rosé or sauvignon blanc wine at conclusion of the yoga class / Tickets can be purchased the day of the class or in advance at www.akashwinery.com       

Avensole Winery
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 x312 to reserve.

Gourmet Cheese Artisanal Tour & Wine Tasting / Available on Friday of each month / 12pm / For the ultimate Wine Country experience, delight in an educational tour through our picturesque vineyard vistas and conclude this tour with a culinary treat of artisanal wine pairings featuring 7 Avensole wines / Cost: $75 / Reservations required online at link: www.avensolewinery.com

Baily Winery
Estate Library Tasting / Every Thursday-Sunday / Available 11am-4pm / Enjoy exclusive library tasting of 5 different vintages (varietal will vary monthly). Tasting will take place at Baily Estate Tasting Room located on Pauba Road / Tours are available upon request / For reservations and pricing information please call Lisa at 951-972-9768.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Sebastian Sidi Live in Concert / March 14 / 8:00-10:00pm / General Admission $30.00, VIP Seating $45.00 / Callaway Vineyard & Winery proudly presents, piano virtuoso and performing artist, Sebastian Sidi with special guest artist saxophonist, Shashaty, guitarist Javier Lima and special performance by comedian, Janice Remland. Sebastian combines elements of Rock, Classical and Latin creating a unique genre of its very own. You will hear instrumental favorites such as “Phantom of The Opera”, “Chiquitita”, Love Story’s “Where Do I Begin” and many others including some of Sebastian Sidi’s original compositions! Doors open at 7:00 pm for seating and red-carpet event / Purchase Tickets: https://sebastiansidi.com/shows

An Evening with Mama Medium Jennie Marie / March 26 / 7:00pm to 9:00pm / General Admission $75.00 / Enjoy an evening out with friends and be entertained by Jennie Marie, Star of TLC’s Mama Medium. Share in the laughter and healing as she delivers messages from passed loved ones / Doors open at 6:00 pm. Live group reading is from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Cash bar open during the event. Must be 18 years of age and older / Tickets can be purchased at www.jenniethemedium.com   

Prix Fixe Friday & Sunday at Meritage / 5pm to 8pm / For $40 guests may enjoy a starter, an entrée and a dessert / Live Music offered on Friday nights Reservation is not necessary. For menu information call 951.587.8889

Brunch Specials every Sunday at Meritage / 11am / Cost is $30 / 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 2pm / 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, but for 10 or more highly recommended / For more information call 951.676.4001

Carter Estate Winery and Resort
Elegant Food & Wine Pairing / $45pp; $40pp Wine Club Member / 1pm & 3pm Monday-Sunday / Your guided experience includes a specially selected flight of five of our Carter Estate wines paired with perfectly matched culinary bites from our Chef. Learn about the history of our beautiful Temecula Valley & get a behind-the-scenes look at how our award-winning Sparkling wines are made. Our Wine & Food Pairings are approximately 90 minutes & limited to eight guests.  Make your reservation today!  Must be 21 or older / Reservation Information: Reservations recommended – Book a pairing on CarterEstateWinery.com

Venezia Late Night at Carter Estate Winery / Every Friday / 6:00pm-9:00pm / Join us in the Carter Estate Tasting Room every Friday night for live music. Available for purchase are wine by the glass or bottle and delicious food / Free Admission. No reservations required

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Salsa and Bachata Dance Lesson / March 15 / 2:00-6:00pm / Tickets are $20pp for Wine Club and $25 for Non-wine club / Dance lesson and then dancing in the Barrel Room. Space is limited and this will sell out!  In conjunction with Salsafama. Entry includes a glass of Dolce Bubbly upon arrival, Dance lessons 2-3p followed by Salsa dancing from 3pm to 6pm. Dolce drink specials throughout the event / Tickets available through our events web page at www.cougarvineyards.com or call 951.491.0825.

Falkner Winery
Black & White Salsa Bachata / March 7 / 6:00-10:00pm; Beginner Salsa & Bachata Lesson 6pm-7pm; social dance 7pm-10pm / Salsa and Bachata Dance Show!  Dress Black and, or White and come take some lessons and dance the night away in front of an awesome vineyards view from the beautiful Pinnacle restaurant at Falkner Winery! Salsa & Bachata lessons and Social Dance are free.  / Includes a glass of Sangria. Tickets are $20 @ the door or visit https://store.falknerwinery.com/categories.aspx?Keyword=salsa

Vertical Cabernet Tasting with George Myers / March 28 / 10:30am-12:00pm / $50 per person plus tax; $45/person plus tax for Food & Wine Club members / Come and have some fun with George!  You will be able to taste (5) of some 90-point Cabernet’s from our Library and a short class to go with! To make reservations, contact Holly at 951-676-8231 x109 or email wineclub@falknerwinery.com

Fazeli Cellars
Cooking Experience with Chef Daragh / March 26 / 6:30 – 9:30pm / $80 | $70 Members / Opening our season of cooking demonstrations with Certified Culinary Instructor Daragh Matheson (CCE, CEC) Fazeli Cellars will explore many of the classical recipes and traditional techniques used in professional kitchens around the world. We begin by our season in Italy learning to easily produce and handle fresh pasta. Each class is engineered to pair perfectly with a Fazeli Cellars wine to complete this interactive series / To reserve your spot please purchase tickets here: https://shop.fazelicellars.com/res-391443/Cooking-Experience-3262020.html

Peltzer Family Cellars
Supercross Watch Party / March 14 / 4:00-9:00pm / $10 entry includes a raffle ticket to win a signed pro jersey & dirt bike gear kit. A portion of ticket proceeds goes to benefit Road 2 Recovery / Come watch the Indianapolis Supercross LIVE with us on the B I G screen in the Crush House. We’re teaming up with Road 2 Recovery to raise funds for their amazing organization that aids AMA licensed professional motocross/supercross and action sport athletes with financial assistance while recovering from debilitating injuries. They also provide emotional and motivational support to these athletes and their families / Tickets can be purchased at https://peltzerfamilycellars.orderport.net/product-details/3304/314-Supercross-Watch-Party-Ticket

Nashville Nights / March 21 / 5:00-10:00pm / $20 entry or Early Bird Specials of $34 with entry + 2 beer tickets / $40 with entry + 2 wine tickets / Line Dancing | 5 – 6 pm. We’ll have an instructor for those who wanna learn Music line-up: Lee Koch Music | 6:30 – 7:30pm; The Highwayman Show | 7:30 – 10pm |Tony Suraci and his 10-piece all-star band capture the essence of Outlaw Country as defined by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. Guest singer Payton Howie tops off this dynamic performance! It will be night to remember! / For additional information and to purchase your tickets, please visit https://peltzerfamilycellars.orderport.net/merchandise/ticketed-events

Ponte Winery
Brunch at Bouquet Restaurant
/ Every Saturday & Sunday / 7:30am-3:00pm / Offering indoor & outdoor seating options, Bouquet is the perfect spot to gather for a gourmet brunch. Enjoy a relaxing ambiance with stunning fountain courtyard, pond & vineyards views / To view menu and for reservations please visit www.pontevineyardinn.com

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Behind the Scene Wine Tour / Available daily / 1pmand 3pm / $45pp; $40pp Wine Club Member or Military / 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, reservations are required with prepayment, and are non-refundable. Guests must be over 21 years of age to attend.

Thornton Winery
B.I.G. – Brothers Igniting a Groove / March 20 / 6:00p-9:00p / $25 cover fee Order tickets through our web site: www.thorntonwine.com / Dinner tables available; guest dinner order required. Call (951) 699-0099 to make your table reservations.

JOURNEY CAPTURED – Journey Tribute Show / March 27 / 6:00p-9:00p / $20 cover fee / Order tickets through our web site: www.thorntonwine.com / Dinner tables available; guest dinner order required. Call (951) 699-0099 to make your table reservations.

Wilson Creek Winery
Bubble Brunch Buffet / Every Sunday 10am-3pm / $51.95, Buffet only: $41.95, Children: $16.95 / Enjoy all your breakfast favorites, omelet stations, waffle stations, seafood stations, carving stations and dessert stations with beautiful vineyard views / Buffet (+ unlimited sparkling). Now serving Bloody Mary’s! / Reservations can be made at www.wilsoncreekwinery.com or call 951.699.9463 for additional information.

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