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PAPPARDELLE WITH ARTICHOKES, PEAS, AND PROSCIUTTO

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Pappardelle with Artichokes, Peas & Prosciutto

It’s long past time to bust the myth that artichokes don’t go with wine. This pasta dish is perfectly wine friendly thanks to an assist from pasta, sweet peas, and meaty prosciutto. Chill a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and prove it to yourself. If you can’t find fresh baby artichokes, substitute frozen artichoke hearts rather than marinated hearts.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound (340 g) fresh pappardelle or fresh egg pasta sheets or ½ pound (225 g) dried pappardelle
  • 14 to 16 fresh baby artichokes, about 1-1/2 ounces (40 g) each, or 1 package (9 oz/ 250 g) frozen artichoke hearts (see Note)
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • Pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 cup (150 g) shelled English peas or frozen petite peas, thawed enough to separate
  • 2 ounces (55 g) thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, shredded by hand
  • Freshly grated pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions

If using fresh egg pasta sheets, start at one of the sheet’s narrow ends and loosely roll the sheet like a jelly roll, leaving a 1-inch (2.5-cm) tail. With a sharp chef’s knife, cut ribbons about 5/8-inch (15-mm) wide. Grab the noodles by the exposed ends, lift them up, and they will unfurl. Repeat with the remaining sheets.

If using fresh baby artichokes: Fill a large bowl with water and add the juice of the lemon. To trim the artichokes, peel back the outer leaves until they break off at the base. Keep removing leaves until you reach the pale green heart. Cut across the top of the heart to remove the pointed leaf tips. If the stem is still attached, cut it down to ½ inch (1.25-cm), then trim the stem and base to remove any dark green or brown parts. Cut each heart in half and cut each half into 2 to 3 wedges, depending on size. Immediately place in the lemon water to prevent browning.

If using frozen artichoke hearts, thaw, cut each heart in half, then cut each half into 2 to 3 wedges, depending on size.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and hot pepper flakes and sauté until the onion is soft and sweet, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat if needed to keep the onion from browning. Add artichokes to the skillet (drained first, if fresh) along with the mint sprig, 1 cup (250 ml) water, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, cover, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the artichokes are almost tender, 10 to 15 minutes. There should still be several spoonsful of flavorful juices in the skillet. Remove the mint sprig.

Cook fresh or frozen peas in the boiling water until tender, then lift them out with a sieve and add them to the artichokes along with the prosciutto. (Do not discard the boiling water; you will need it to cook the pasta.) The sauce should be juicy; if it seems too dry, add a splash of boiling water from the pot. Taste for salt and keep warm.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and boil until al dente. Fresh pasta will take only 1 to 2 minutes, depending on freshness. For dried pasta, consult cooking time on the package. Just before draining, set aside 1 cup of the hot pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the warm pot. Add the contents of the skillet and toss gently with tongs, adding a little of the reserved pasta water if the sauce seems dry. Add 1/3 cup (25 g) of grated cheese, toss gently, and immediately divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Pass additional cheese at the table for those who want it.

Suggested Pairings:

Hart Winery ~ 2018 Sauvignon Blanc – Citrus notes of guava and tangerine, a subtle herbal undertone and a clean peach finish.

Masia de la Vinya Winery ~ 2016 Sauvignon Blanc – Lemon zest, guava, passion fruit & pineapple.

Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2018 Chardonnay – Lightly oaked with French oak imparting rich flavors of vanilla, butterscotch, creme brulee and caramel

Ponte Winery ~ 2018 Reserve Chardonnay – Barrel aged for 10 months in new French oak barrels, this limited-production, subtly buttery reserve is well-balanced with a slight minerality on the finish.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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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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Cheese & Salumi Board

Monday, March 2nd, 2020

Cheese & Salumi Board

Ahhh….the beloved cheese board! Add what you love; omit what you don’t. It’s yours to compose. Good cheese counters typically have many selections , like truffled cheeses, luscious triple-cream cheeses, and mini cheeses meant for two. Add roasted nuts, dried fruits, condiments, and crackers. You can purchase mixed nuts in honey but making your own is a cinch. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Rosé or Sparkling Wine.

Ingredients

Nuts in Honey:

  • ¼ cup (85 g) honey
  • 3 tablespoons mixed toasted nuts (walnut pieces, toasted almonds, pistachios)

If the honey is stiff, put the jar in a saucepan of barely simmering water over low heat until the honey liquefies enough to pour. In a small serving bowl, combine the honey and the nuts.

Suggested Cheeses:

  • Laura Chenel Aged Crottin
  • Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam
  • Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor

Accompaniments:

  • Crackers and flatbreads
  • Sliced baguette
  • Prosciutto di Parma, thinly sliced
  • Sopressatta, thinly sliced
  • Black and green olives
  • Dried apricots, Medjool dates, and other dried California fruits
  • Roasted pistachios in shell


Suggested Pairings:
Carter Estate Blanc de Noir Sparkling ~ Notes of strawberry and raspberry with a lovely structure that finishes off-dry with just the slightest hint of sweetness.
Hart Winery 2018 Rosé of Sangiovese ~ Lightly pink, near-dry, delicately scented and flavored Rose′ wine.
Miramonte Winery 2018 Rosé ~ Hints of watermelon, honeydew, sugar-dusted cantaloupe, fresh flowers, strawberry + watermelon candy and a sleek finish
Thornton Winery Brut Rosé ~ You’ll appreciate its complex aromas and flavors along with a lingering finish.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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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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Meet the Husband-and-Wife Teams of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

Friday, January 31st, 2020

All’s Fair in Love and… Wine?

With gorgeous vistas, world class wines, happening tasting rooms, friendly and knowledgeable people, amazing culinary options, and year-round perfect weather, there are few better places to spend Valentine’s Day – or any day, really – than Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. But, what if you work in Wine Country? And, what if you work in Wine Country with your significant other?

Thinking about taking the next step with your honey and opening a winery? After catching up with some of Temecula Valley’s iconic winery couples, we learned that it is indeed possible to keep the romance alive, even when it means spending all day together on the job. It just involves lots of wine, functional plumbing, and occasionally leaving work at work, which, according to these dynamic duos, is harder that it sounds.

Les & Dorian Linkogle

LES AND DORIAN LINKOGLE, BRIAR ROSE WINERY

Les is the winemaker and the visionary force behind the winery. Dorian focuses on the administrative and hospitality-driven side of the business. They have been together for over 45 years, 20 of which have been spent operating the winery together.

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Les: Dorian and I were high school sweethearts.

TVWA: Awwwww. What is the best part about working together?

Dorian: Sharing our passion for this wonderful wine culture with one another.

TVWA: What is the worst part?

Les: You never stop working. You don’t take the necessary time off away from the winery, and the business dominates almost all of your conversations.

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

Dorian:  One harvest, under the light of the full harvest moon, Les set up a table in the middle of the vineyards. The table was complete with tablecloth, candle, wine and two glasses. Much to my surprise he wanted me to experience the magic of the energy of the vineyards just prior to harvest. As I sat there with him, I did experience the energy and sense of awe as I viewed the beautiful fruit hanging from the vines in the shadow of the moonlight, and I truly did feel the energy of the vines just as he had described.  It was an enchanted evening; one I will never forget.

Deane & Christine Foote

DEANE AND CHRISTINE FOOTE, FOOT PATH WINERY

Deane is the winemaker and works in the tasting room. According to Deane, Christine is “pretty much everything else. CFO, CEO… she’s the boss.”

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Deane: We met 20+ years ago while working at Teledyne in the City of Industry.

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

Deane: Seeing each other all the time and enjoying it.

TVWA: Do you ever not enjoy it?

Deane: When we have occasional differences in opinion on what should be done next. But she keeps me in line.

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

Deane: Our first date. We have been together ever since.

Nick & Cindy Palumbo

NICK AND CINDY PALUMBO, PALUMBO FAMILY VINEYARDS & WINERY

Nick is the winemaker and Cindy, like Christine, is “everything else.” This seems to be a theme among winery couples!

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Nick: We met at Texas Lil’s in 2000, back when Old Town was a one-horse town. Cindy had chicken pox and I asked her if she wanted to go to “Wally World.” Truth. We got married in 2003.

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

Nick: The best part is we live and raise our kids onsite, in a healthy and beautiful environment. We live a healthy lifestyle, doing what we believe in and showing our kids that working hard and staying true to what you believe in is rewarding in many ways.

TVWA: What is the worst part?

Nick: The worst part is we never seem to “get away.” That said, we live and work where other people dream of “getting away” to!

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

Nick: It’s tough to pinpoint just one anecdote. Raising family, multiple farm animals and crazy customers over the years has afforded us years’ worth of stories. However, one that stands out is when a long-time customer requested a taste of our Sangiovese on his death bed. Seriously. It brought tears to our eyes.     

Ray & Loretta Falkner

RAY AND LORETTA FALKNER, FALKNER WINERY

Ray is the Chairman and CFO, in charge of all winery operations, including production and sales. He is also in charge of the on-site restaurant, Pinnacle. Loretta is the President and CEO, in charge of all weddings, special events and the gift shop. They have been together for 22 years, 19 of which have been at the winery.

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Ray & Loretta: We met through friends in Dallas, TX, where we were living prior to moving to California

in 2000. While we each came from different work backgrounds (technology and fashion retail), we merged talents to build our winery operation. We had previously worked together at a start-up internet company in Dallas named Shabang.  

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

R&L: The best part is sharing in the successes when they occur. It also makes it easier to “bring work home” when there are work issues that are best discussed in great length in order to arrive at the best possible solution.

TVWA: What is the hardest part?

R&L: The most difficult part is when there are wide differences of opinion and neither of us wants to give in. We can usually get over the stubborn positions to reach a compromise though. Sometimes it is also difficult to get away from work when you see each other most hours of the day.

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

R&L: One of them was the creation of our “Luscious Lips” wine and label.  Loretta felt that the winery should produce a visually catchy label that customers would be attracted to and purchase.  She decided two lips on the label would be the selling point.  Numerous employees and friends were asked to provide “lip imprints” so we could decide what to use.  All employees and friends were involved in the selection process. Ray wanted the lips embossed on the label so you could feel the lips as well as see them.  The next step was the wine itself – a Syrah with about 3% residual sugar. It was a true collaborative effort, and Luscious Lips has been an extremely successful wine ever since. 

Akash & Elena Patel

AKASH & ELENA PATEL, AKASH WINERY

Akash is the owner and director of the winery, and Elena is the wine club manager. They have been together for 9 years.

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Akash & Elena: We met at school in 2004.

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

A&E: Working together to create a place that people love coming to visit. A place, that if it wasn’t ours, we would visit. Plus, watching our joint visions come to life right in front of our eyes.

TVWA: What is the worst part?

A&E: There is no worse part! (Cough cough)… Not being able to shut off work after hours, and talk about things other than the winery.

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

A&E: We’ve only been at it for 12 months, so we are still in our honeymoon phase of love and peace. Right now it is all memorable.

Carrie & Charlie Peltzer
Photo Courtesy of @paigecreative / @temeculavalleyvibe

CARRIE & CHARLIE PELTZER, OWNERS, PELTZER FARM & WINERY

Charlie is a professional investor in “rusty gold” and antiquities. Carrie is a designer. Together, she dreams it and he builds it! Much of what you see around Peltzer Farm & Winery are products from this duo. They have been together for 24 years.

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Carrie: My aunt and uncle lived on the same street in Orange as Charlie and introduced us. At the time, we both had significant others… BUT, I later found out Charlie had two farm pups named Bonnie and Blue and I quickly fell in love with all of them. He’d take them to work with him every day. It was adorable. The rest is history and it’s been bliss ever since!

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

Carrie: My favorite part about working with Charlie is coming up with an idea, spinning it around my head, and putting it on paper. Charlie takes once glance and he’s off building it. He loves projects (most of the time) and I love ideas – it just works.

TVWA: What is the worst part?

Carrie: The fact that you can’t just shut it off… without three glasses of wine, that is.

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

Carrie: One of my favorite stories is from while we were building the Crush House. Starbucks was getting

rid of some of their furniture for a remodel. Charlie, being Charlie, picked up a couple of leather chairs they threw out and brought them home. We ended up putting the two chairs in the middle of the Crush House. Every day at 4 or 5 pm when we were done with the day, we would sit in those chairs, relax, talk about what was next in the build, dream about the future of the place, and crack a cold one. They’re still in Charlie’s workshop to this day!

Steve & Valerie Andrews

Valerie & Steve Andrews, Oak Mountain Winery

Steve is the President and Valerie is the Vice President of this dog-loving winery. They have been together for 22 years.

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Valerie:  We met online on a singles site

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

Valerie: We have the same work ethics. We create our next project together, from planting our vineyards over 20 years ago, to building our 10,000 square-foot wine cave. Steve has the technical ideas and expertise while I am the creative, artistic side.

TVWA: What is the worst part?

Valerie: There is no worst part.

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

Valerie: In the very beginning we bottled our small amount of wine with a gravity feed, 4-spout bottler. Steve had the tote of wine raised on a forklift so, by gravity, the wine would flow to the bottler that we had set on the ground. I was in charge of putting the bottles under the spouts and then pulling them off when full for Steve to cork. Well, sometimes the bottler would lose its prime, so I had a syringe to suck the wine back to prime. It didn’t work very well, so I just would suck on the end of the spout to get the wine going again. Eight hours later there was a very happy, very drunk Val. Steve still laughs about that one.

Gerry & Rosie Wilson

GERRY AND ROSIE WILSON, WILSON CREEK WINERY

It is impossible to talk about Temecula Valley Wine Country Couples without thinking about Gerry and Rosie Wilson of Wilson Creek Winery. These two lovebirds have been together for a whopping 65 years! Read the story of how they met here.

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

Rosie: Being together and sharing this journey. Knowing what each other is doing each day.

TVWA: What is the worst part?

Rosie: There isn’t one.

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

Rosie: When we were building the winery, someone told us that the Balloon and Wine Festival was to be at Lake Skinner the next day. We felt that we should have something to show people driving by our property that we were building a winery, so we constructed a sign that said “Wilson Creek Winery” and added a white oval at the top that said “Open Soon.” We slogged through the mud and rain and installed it. Well, with all the problems that occurred along the way, we opened nearly TWO years later. I guess we gave the word “soon” a new meaning!   

Bill & Jenifer Wilson

BILL & JENIFER WILSON, WILSON CREEK WINERY

It looks like Gerry and Rosie started something much bigger than their relationship when they got together, because this other iconic Wilson Creek Couple has been together for 32 years!

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Bill: I was going to a bar early because a person I had never met and haven’t seen since forgot his ID!

Jenifer was there following a Heart Association fundraiser, hoping to find a handsome doctor, but met me instead.

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

Bill: We see each other every day!

TVWA: What is the worst part?

Bill: We see each other every day!

TVWA: Do any moments stand out for you during your time working together?

Bill: It was when we were building the winery, living in a double wide with no electricity & no running water, with a 4 year old and a 2 year old. One day, my wife hands me a training potty dispenser for me to empty, and proclaims, “It’s not your daughter’s.” That was extremely motivating to hurry up and get the construction done! 

Phil & Carol Baily

PHIL & CAROL BAILY, BAILY WINERY

Another famous Temecula Valley couple, Phil and Carol Baily were among the first to settle in Temecula Valley and build the region to what it is today.

TVWA: How did you two meet?

Phil: We were introduced to each other by our sisters in 1967 in Whittier, California where we both were raised. Our sisters felt that we were a perfect match; they were right, because five months later we were married, and this past November, we celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary.

TVWA: What is the best part about working together?

Phil: Every part of our business is the result of both of us working hard and working together.  Every major decision was made by the two of us hashing things out, not being afraid to take the steps to begin, and adjusting as things evolved and the environment changed. And we’re not done yet.

Special thanks to all the winery folks who contributed to this piece. For more about Temecula Valley Wine Country and all the passionate people who make it so special, click HERE.

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February Winery Events

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Akash Winery
Valentines Valenwines Dinner with Naughty Pig Butchery / February 14 / 6.30pm – 10.30pm / $125pp / Includes 6-course meal carefully paired with Akash wine / Limited seats available / Please visit www.akashwinery.com for advanced reservations and additional information.

Avensole Winery
Romantic Valentine’s Weekend Menu at Avensole / February 13th – 15th / $160 per couple, includes one glass of wine per person / Join us for a romantic four-course prix-fixe couples dinner in the Restaurant for Valentine’s weekend! Try our seasonal hand-crafted cocktails – Tickled Pink, P.S. I Love You and Avensole’s Passion. To view full Valentine’s menu, please visit our website: www.avensolewinery.com/restaurant. Reservations are recommended.

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 / See website for reservations at www.avensolewinery.com

Baily Winery
Port Vertical Tasting at The Estate Tasting Room / Feb 14, 15, & 16
Hourly seating’s from 11am – 3pm / $35 per person plus tax / Tasting will be 3 vintages of Port (2003, 2006, 2009) plus a charcuterie plate and dessert for two. Tasting will take place at Baily Estate Tasting Room located on Pauba Road / Reservations with a credit card required call Lisa 951-972-9768.

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.

Bel Vino Winery
Valentine’s Day Bash / February 14 / 6pm-10pm / $5pp pre-paid admission on our website or $10pp at the door / Enjoy a variety of vendors, music by DJ Mike Dillinger, beer garden featuring Garage Brewery. Full Bistro will be open / Please visit www.belvinowinery.com to reserve.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Love is a Work of Heart / February 14 / Seating at 5pm-5:30pm or 7pm-7:30pm / $76.50 Wine Club | $85.00 General Public / We invite you to join us this Valentine’s Day to experience the work of heart that our Executive Chef, Anthony Bar, has created for this very intimate evening by indulging in a delightful four-course dinner accompanied by live music. A wine pairing option is available/ Price is per person plus tax and 20% gratuity. Reservations are recommended (951) 587-8889. Make a reservation or view the menu online: www.callawaywinery.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

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
13th Annual Super Chili Bowl / February 2 / 3pm-8pm / Chili Competitor (10 total): $15pp, Wineclub attendee: $25pp, non-wine club attendee $40pp / Join us for Food, Wine, Beer and Football in the Barrel Room. The chili competition kicks off at 3pm. Do you have what it takes to win? Price includes Chili Tasting, snacks, wine or beer. Price increase day of event / Please call 951.491.0825 to reserve and for additional information or visit www.cougarvinedyards.com

Sweetheart Special, Valentine’s Day / February 14 / 11a-8p / Lunch for two with a view! Make your reservation for this Heart Themed meal. Includes heart-shaped pizza, Caesar salad, 2 glasses of wine or beer, 2 heart shaped triple chocolate Ghirardelli brownies and a long stem red rose while seated in our Adirondack chairs. Reservations required; space is limited. Price is for 2 people, Wine club $50 ($60 for 6-8p), non-wine club $55 ($75 for 6-8p) / Please call 951.491.0825 to reserve and for additional information or visit www.cougarvinedyards.com

Monthly Cooking Class with Executive Chef Alex Alimirante / February 26 / 5pm-7pm / Wine club $60pp, non-wine club $65pp / Learn to make Gnocchetti under the guidance of Chef Alex!  Go home with the recipe and special gnocchi paddle after making and tasting your pasta / Please call 951.491.0825 to reserve and for additional information or visit www.cougarvinedyards.com

Danza del Sol Winery
Lovers’ Flight / Enjoy a Valentine’s couple paired tasting in the Club House / February 13 / Limited seating available at 11am, 1pm and 3pm / Sparkling greeting followed by 5 wines, cheese, & dessert pairings. Cost: $45 per Couple – Member; $48 per Couple – Non-members / For reservations call 951-302-6363 x21 or online at www.danzadelsolwinery.com/events

It’s LEAP YEAR…An Extra Day, Come & Play! – Blind Tasting Event in the Club House / February 29 / 3pm / How well do you know Danza wine? Come test your wine knowledge! / Cost $30 per person – Member; $35 per person – Non-Member / For reservations call 951-302-6363 x21 or online at www.danzadelsolwinery.com/events

Europa Village
L’Amore at Europa Village Valentine’s Dinner / February 14 and 15 / 6:00pm-8:00pm / Tickets: $129; Société $116.10 Treat your sweetheart to an evening of romance and wine, all things lovely and divine at our Valentine’s Day Dinner L’Amore at Europa. Enjoy an intimate candlelight 5-course gourmet dinner paired with Europa Village wines. For reservations please visit www.europavillage.com

Bridal Show / February 20 / 4:00pm-7:00pm / Tickets: $5/ Tickets at the Door: $10 / Congratulations, you’re officially engaged! Please join us at Europa Village and meet some of the best wedding vendors in Temecula. Our Bridal Show is the perfect opportunity to tour all of our property and meet our event managers.  Enjoy a day in wine country filled with sparkling wine, appetizers, and prizes / For tickets please visit www.europavillage.com

A Night of Comedy with Amy Ashton and Friends / February 20 / 6:00pm-8:00pm / Tickets: $58.00; Société $52.20 / Come out to Europa Village for a fun night of wine, food and laugh-out-loud comedy with headliner Amy Ashton and comics from HBO, Netflix, and Comedy Central! The Amy Ashton and Friends Stand Up and Talk Show includes lots of laughs, advice, and prizes! / For tickets please visit www.europavillage.com

Falkner Winery
Valentine Heart Cork Wall Art / February 9 / 12pm-2pm / $45 per person or $80 per couple / Includes a glass of champagne, all your painting supplies needed and your corks. The perfect Valentine’s gift for your loved one! We only have 20 slots available so please get your reservations in! / Please visit www.falkerwinery.com  for reservations.

Valentine Lunch Specials / February 14th – 17th / 11:30am-3pm / Valentine Lunch Special for 2 in the Pinnacle Restaurant $65 for Two + tax (regular menu available) For full menu please visit www.falknerwinery.com. Reservations required please call 951-676-8231 option 4

Valentine’s Dinner in the Pinnacle Restaurant / February 14 / 5:30pm-9:30pm / Prix Fixe menu. $134+tax per person ($124+tax wine club) Early Bird Seating at 5:30pm $114+ tax per person ($104+tax for wine club) For full menu please visit www.falknerwinery.com / Entertainment provided by Harmony Road Duo / Reservations required please call 951-676-8231 opt. 4 or visit www.falknerwinery.com

Valentine’s Dinner in the Pinnacle Restaurant / February 15 / 5:30pm-9:30pm / Prix Fixe menu. $134+tax per person ($124+tax wine club) Early Bird Seating at 5:30pm $114+ tax per person ($104+tax for wine club) For full menu please visit www.falknerwinery.com / Entertainment provided by 15th- LDR Acoustic Blend / Reservations required please call 951-676-8231 opt. 4 or visit www.falknerwinery.com

Wine Appreciation Class / February 15 / 10am-12:30pm / Designated for all levels of wine knowledge; $45/person /$40 Connoisseur/ $20 VIP / RSVP’s required 951-676-8231 x. 109 or email wineclub@falknerwinery.com

Fazeli Cellars
A Winter Evening in Paris / February 14 / Seating times varies / $185 | $160 Members (per person) / Join Fazeil Cellars Chef Daragh Matheson and treat your special someone to a 5-course wine and food pairing dinner along with live music. To view a complete menu and additional information please visit http://shop.fazelicellars.com/res-391379/Valentines-Day-2020.html

Leoness Cellars
Dinner by Candlelight in The Restaurant at Leoness
/ February 14 / Seating 5:30pm – 8:30pm / 4-course wine paired menu / Wine Club Members $110 pp + tax; Non-Wine Club Members $125 pp+ tax / Please note a 72 hour cancellation policy with a $40 cancellation fee /  For reservations, please call 951.302.7601 ex 4

Peltzer Family Cellars
Paint and Sip with Pretty Paints Party / February 6 / 6pm-9pm / $50 per painter / Pretty Paints and Peltzer Winery are pouring on the Galentine’s Fun with a step by step Paint & Sip Workshop in the Crush House. Create your own monogrammed name with wreath on wooden pallet. Template included! We’ll all be finding our creative side in the unique tasting room, which is unlike any other in Temecula’s Wine Country. We can’t wait! Live music & DJ! / To reserve please visit reserve at etsy.com/shop/prettypaintsparty 

Saturday Night Fever / February 15 / 6pm-9pm / $10 entrance includes a glass of specialty Sangria / We’ve got the fever… Saturday Night Fever to be exact! Boogie on down for a groovy night at Peltzer complete with a DJ, Baja Eats, and all the disco drinks your heart’s desire. Dress in your 70’s best and enter in our costume contest! Can you dig it?  / 21+ only; please reserve at www.peltzerwinery.com

Dueling Pianos / February 20 / 6pm-10pm / $45 per ticket includes a complimentary glass of our Signature Sangria / Give the gift of music to your friends, fam, or significant other for Valentine’s Day! Join us in the Crush House on February 20th from 6:00-10pm for a high energy, totally amazing, interactive dueling pianos show with The Killer Dueling Pianos. This fan fave event sells out quickly, so make sure to purchase your tickets in a hurry! Crush Club Members will receive 10% off tickets and 20% off wine. Food truck eats will be available for purchase at 6:00 so that y’all can grab a bite and a drink before the show starts at 7:00! *Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable* / (21+) Reserve at Peltzerwinery.com

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

Somerset Vineyards & Winery
Monty Monday’s
/ Come out & enjoy wine and live R&B music featuring Monty Seward! Every Monday starting Feb. 10th / 6pm-9pm / Open to the public; no cover charge. Optional reserved seating for two (2) available for $50; advanced reservations required. Cost includes a bottle of wine, charcuterie board and reserved seats for the music night. For more information and to reserve, please visit our website at www.somersetvineyard.com

Un-Valentine Package / February 14 / 5pm-9pm / $70 Public, $60 Wine Club Members / Enjoy a meal that includes a pizza and salad to share, a welcome glass of sparkling wine, hand-dipped chocolate strawberry, and one glass of wine per person/ DJ – Vreal for entertainment / To reserve, please visit www.somersetvineyard.com

Tasting Class with Certified Somm / February 16 / 10:30am-2:30pm / The four-hour class price ranges from $55 – $120 depending on individual tickets, couple tickets, member or non-member / An Entertaining Learning Experience with a Knowledgeable & Experienced Educator Instruction and Tasting with Certified Sommelier & Wine Educator George “Frankie” Franceschi. Reserve your seats for an entertaining, enthusiastic learning experience about the history of wine grape varietals, their origins, their climate preferences, and wine culture and producers. Class is informal with the opportunity for interaction / For reservations please visit www.somersetvineyard.com

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Valentine’s Day Dinner / February 14 /5:30pm-9:00pm / Celebrate your special someone with a romantic wine country three-course dinner and wine pairing. Our Executive Chef and winemaker have paired up to make this truly a night to remember / Cost: $150 per person, $199 with wine pairing / Reservations required; please visit www.wineresort.com for more information.

Cupcake & Wine Pairing / Fridays and Sundays in February / 3:00pm / Cost: $55 per person, $50 Wine Club / Available throughout February, Fridays and Sundays at 3 p.m. During the month of February, South Coast Winery offers a special Wine and Cupcake Pairing in the Tasting Room. Five award-winning wines from the vineyards will be paired with various flavored cupcakes by local baker Carly Magee / Reservations required please visit www.wineresort.com 

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
Café Champagne’s Valentine’s Dinner / February 14 / 5:00pm – 9:00pm / A special 3-course treat for your sweet. Dinner will be accompanied with a live violinist / $84.00 pp. plus tax and gratuity / Call for Reservations (951) 699-0099 or visit www.thorntonwine.com

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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Fun Facts About….Late Harvest Wine

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Late Harvest Wine Grapes

Many wine-lovers have yet to discover how delicious a late harvest wine can taste – especially when paired with cheese and honey, chocolate or a fruit-based dessert.

The perfect sweet dessert wine for Valentine’s day, late harvest wine is simple to understand and easy to find here in Temecula Valley!

Here are five fun facts about late harvest wine!
Facts courtesy of Snooth and Wikipedia

1) “Late harvest” refers to wines made from grapes left on the vine longer than usual and picked later than normal. Late harvest grapes are often more similar to raisins, but have been naturally dehydrated while still on the vine.
2) Late harvest wines are made around the world with almost every grape imaginable. Grapes like zinfandel and riesling are ideally suited to produce late harvest wine and are among the most popular.
3) Grapes used for late harvest wines go through their full growth cycle and then some – becoming super sweet and losing acidity as they ripen.
4) “Noble rot” is the term for the edible mold that causes grapes to lose nearly all of their water content. This natural process begins to take place in late September and can last until late October.
5) Late harvest grapes are often hand-picked. Sometimes, the usable grapes from one vine may only produce enough juice for a single glass.

Looking for a great bottle of Temecula Valley Late Harvest Wine? Check these wines out!

Late Harvest Viognier, Danza del Sol Winery; $38
Late Harvest Malbec, Doffo Winery; $69
Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Europa Village; $24
Late Harvest Grenache, Lorenzi Estate Vineyards & Winery; $36

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Dungeness Crab and Avocado Tostadas

Friday, January 31st, 2020

Dungeness Crab and Avocado Tostadas

Unlike the bean- and cheese-laden tostadas served in many restaurants, these are featherlight and heart healthy. The salad-like topping helps stretch the costly crabmeat, and you’ll save money by buying a cooked crab and extracting the meat yourself. Packaged tostada shells come in a variety of sizes; use any size you like. Serves 4

Ingredients
2⁄3 cup (130 g) finely diced tomato
1⁄3 cup (40 g) finely minced green onion, white and pale green part only
1⁄4 cup (10 g) chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 serrano chile, finely minced
2 large, ripe avocados
2 limes, 1 halved, 1 quartered
Kosher or sea salt
8 corn tostada shells, about 5 inches (13 cm) in diameter
1 head pale, crisp romaine lettuce, about 6 ounces (185 g), halved lengthwise, then very thinly sliced crosswise
1⁄2 pound (250 g) Dungeness crabmeat
1⁄3 cup (75 g) crema (Mexican-style sour cream)
Mexican-style hot sauce or Tabasco sauce, for serving (optional)

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the tomato, green onion, chopped cilantro, garlic, and as much of the minced chile as you like. Halve and pit the avocados, then scoop the flesh from the skin and add to the bowl. Squeeze the juice of 1∕2 lime over the avocado. Using a fork, mash the avocado coarsely, incorporating the other ingredients in the bowl as you work. Season with salt and add more juice from the other 1∕2 lime as needed to achieve a guacamole with good flavor.

Top the tostada shells with the guacamole, dividing it evenly and spreading it to the edges. Top each tostada with the romaine and then with the crab, dividing them evenly. Drizzle each tostada with 2 teaspoons crema. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately with the lime wedges and with the hot sauce, if desired.

Suggested Pairings:

Callaway Vineyard & Winery – 2016 Special Selection Chardonnay ~ Pairs with herb chicken, pork chop, grilled shrimp and pasta with cream & butter sauces.

Chapin Family Vineyards – 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ~ Pairs well with fish, salads, and soft cheeses.

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery – 2017 Sauvignon Blanc ~ A mouth-watering, deeply satisfying delight, with pleasant herbal and grapefruit aromas on the nose.

Wiens Family Cellars – 2018 Chardonnay ~ Green Apple, Meyer Lemon, Almond.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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