New Year, new you, right? No? That’s okay! You were probably pretty awesome, to begin with.
Either way, the start of a new year is a time to reflect on what we’ve achieved over the past twelve months, what obstacles we’ve faced, ways we can challenge ourselves, and ways we can pursue even more happiness in our lives.
And what brings more joy to life than wine? We can think of no better way to celebrate all that this crazy world has to offer than experiencing the warm, welcoming region of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. But, it’s a new year, so why not use this fresh start to see what’s new at your favorite wineries, and experience the region in different ways?
With that in mind, we’ve come up with five great New Year’s Resolutions you can put into play right now in Temecula Valley. Happy sipping!
2023 Is the Year I… Get Out of my Wine Comfort Zone
Are you someone who seems to always gravitate to the same wine or style of wine? Perhaps you love full-bodied reds. Or sweet and cheerful sips are your go-to. Part of the “Anything but Chardonnay” crowd? The beauty of wine is that there are so many combinations and permutations on what a wine can taste like based on where the fruit is grown and how the winemaker crafts the final product that it’s nearly impossible to either categorically like or not like any given wine! One Chardonnay may be rich, full-bodied, and oaky, while another may be razor sharp, fruit-forward, and fresh. One Cabernet Sauvignon may be velvety and soft, while another one may be earthy and structured. That’s what makes the world of wine so exciting.
This is doubly true of the region of Temecula Valley, where we grow literally dozens of different grape varieties produced in many different styles from light and sweet to hearty and brooding, and everything in between. This year, make a point to try something new, like one of the many emerging grape varieties you may not have been familiar with, but that thrive in our Mediterranean climate, like Arneis, Fiano, Vermentino, Barbera, Montepulciano, and Mourvèdre. You might just discover a new favorite, or learn that your palate isn’t as picky as you thought it was!
2023 Is the Year I… Get to Know my Winemaker
When you learn more about what’s in your glass, the wine just seems to taste better. There’s something about understanding the journey from vine to grape to glass, and hearing the stories behind the wines we love, that enhances our appreciation of them. This year, why not make an effort to meet the talented people who work day-in and day-out to bring you delicious sips year-round?
The beauty of a smaller, family-winery-driven region like Temecula Valley is that the chances of you meeting a winery owner or winemaker while you’re wine tasting are actually pretty high. They’re even better if you’re out and about on a Monday through Friday! Don’t be afraid to ask tasting room staff if the winemaker is around. Chances are, he or she would be delighted to meet you and maybe even share a tank or barrel sample with you if you’re lucky.
2023 Is the Year I… Get my Hands a Little Dirty
And… if getting to know your winemaker makes your wine taste better, just think of how you’ll feel if you help make the stuff!
Temecula Valley is known for offering tons of great hands-on experiences that allow you to get even closer to what’s in your glass than you would simply uncorking and pouring.
Become a winemaker for a day at Bottaia’s immersive Blending Lab workshop, which invites you to try your hand at creating the perfect blend that you can bottle, label, and take home with you. Or, join Doffo Winery’s Barrel Club, in which you will participate in all aspects of winemaking, from harvest, to production, to bottling, and, of course, sipping.
During the harvest season, many wineries offer grape stops and other interactive experiences that encourage you to get a little dirty and find out just how much work goes into crafting that perfect bottle of wine for your table.
2023 Is the Year I… Discover the Magic of a Perfect Pairing
There’s that perfect sip of wine. And there’s that delicious bite of food. And then there’s the absolute magic that happens when the flavors of that perfect sip of wine mix and mingle with that delicious bite of food to create something even more mouth-watering together.
One of Temecula Valley’s greatest features is the selection of dining options among the vines. Unique to the region, Temecula is permitted to allow restaurants to co-exist within wineries, which is uncommon in many other domestic wine regions. A trip to Wine Country isn’t complete without experiencing the up-and-coming foodie scene that is happening in Temecula Valley, all while you sip the world-class wines from this Southern California mecca.
From casual bites like the delicious deli sandwiches and salads at Cougar Vineyard and Winery’s Sangio’s Deli, to al fresco pizzas and other Italian specialties overlooking the vines at Mama Rosa’s Trattoria at Robert Renzoni Vineyards, to more formal fine dining options like Bolero Restaurante at Europa Village or The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars, and plenty of options in between, you’re bound to discover the beauty of the perfect food and wine pairing.
Several wineries also offer tasting experiences specifically geared around food pairings, like Bottaia’s Seated Tasting with Charcuterie Pairing or Avensole Winery’s upcoming Winery Tour experiences which include seasonal wine pairings and exclusive tastings of their award-winning wines.
2023 Is the Year I… Learn that Less Can Be More
If you’re someone who has opted for Dry January, kudos to you! There are plenty of options for non-wine-related activities in Temecula Valley. However, if, like us, taking a WHOLE month off from wine sounds a bit daunting to you, why not explore some of the lighter style wines that Temecula Valley has to offer?
As we’ve said before, not all wines are created equal, and this is true for alcohol levels in wine. A quick check of your wine label will tell you the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) of the wine you are sipping. These can range anywhere from 5% for, say, a Moscato d’Asti, to a whopping 16%+ for some California red wines. Fortified wines are even higher.
Knowledge is power when it comes to what’s in your glass, so don’t be afraid to ask your server for the ABV of the wine you are being poured, or simply ask for a glass of something on the lighter side (be sure to double check though! Just because something tastes light doesn’t mean it’s got a low ABV).
Other options include choosing wines that are traditionally lower in alcohol, like some of the excellent, Champagne method sparkling wines that Temecula produces. Visit Carter Estate Winery and Thornton Winery to explore some of these selections. Or, try sharing your wine flight with your tasting partner and sip an ounce each instead of the full Monty on your own. Most servers in Temecula will happily accommodate this. Lastly, don’t be afraid of that dump bucket! All the pros use it!
However you choose to embrace the New Year, we hope it brings you plenty of delicious sips and memorable wine experiences in Temecula Valley.