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EASTER IN TEMECULA VALLEY WINE COUNTRY

Monday, April 4th, 2022

Easter brunch place setting

Spring has officially arrived and we’ve got bud break in the vineyards! We invite you to come out to wine country and enjoy Easter Brunch, savor a wine tasting, or simply wind down with a glass of wine.

Altisima Winery
Easter Sunday at Gaspar’s

When: Sunday, April 17, 2022
Duration: 11:00am – 5:00 pm
Price: A la carte special menu offered.
Reservation Info: Reservations should be made by calling (951) 422-2525 or online at their website of www.altisimawinery.com  for menu information and reservation.

Avensole Winery
Easter Brunch at the Avensole Winery Restaurant

Join us at Avensole Winery Restaurant for our Chef’s special gourmet brunch menu with festive seasonal mimosas!

When: Sunday, April 17, 2022

Duration: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Menu: Special Easter menu offer. Click here to view menu.

Reservation Info: Reservations recommended online at their website of https://www.avensolewinery.com/restaurant/

Europa Village Wineries & Resort
Easter Brunch at Bolero Restaurante
Easter is just a hop and a skip away! Hop on over to Bolero Restaurante this Easter for a delightful brunch complete with traditional holiday cuisine and other Spanish favorites.

When: Sunday, April 17, 2022

Duration: 10:00am – 3:00 pm

Price: $79 adult, $39 children. Click here to view menu.

Reservation Info: Reservations should be made by calling (951) 414-3802. Learn more at https://www.europavillage.com/spring-happenings/

Falkner Winery
Easter Champagne Brunch at The Pinnacle Restaurant

When: Sunday, April 17, 2022

Price: $69.95 per person

Reservation Info: Reservations should be made by calling (951) 676-8231 Ext. 4 or online by clicking here.

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery
Easter Brunch
Join us for our Easter Brunch! Enjoy a brunch buffet, Easter egg hunt, and more! Adult ticket (21+) includes bottomless mimosas! *Limit of 2 hr dining time, menu may vary depending on seating time.

When: Sunday, April 17, 2022

Duration: Two available seating’s at 11am & 2pm

Price: $90 per person (wine club), $100 per person (non wine club members)

Reservation Info: Reservations should be made online by clicking here.

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Sheet-Pan Chicken with Chickpeas, Carrots and Lemon

Monday, April 4th, 2022

seasoned chicken with vegetables on a sheet-pan

A Moroccan spice rub seasons these chicken thighs, while the chicken flavors the chickpeas and carrots that cook underneath. The cooked lemon slices will be soft and delicious. but you can set them aside if you prefer. Pair with Temecula Valley Zinfandel.

Ingredients

Spice rub: 

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, about 2 pounds (900 g) 
  • 1 can (15 oz/425 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • ½ pound (225 g) carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal 
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced from stem to root 
  • 1 small lemon, halved lengthwise (quartered lengthwise if large), then sliced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup (10 g) coarsely chopped cilantro, plus a few whole leaves for garnish 

Serves 4

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients. Sprinkle all over the chicken and set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a 9 x 12-inch (23 x 30 cm) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a bowl, combine the chickpeas, carrots, red onion, lemon, garlic, cumin, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to mix, then arrange in the baking sheet in an even layer. Arrange the chicken thighs on top, not touching, and drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil on top of each one. 

Bake on a center rack for 40 minutes. With tongs, set the chicken aside on a plate. Add the chopped cilantro to the vegetables and stir to mix and moisten everything with the chicken juices. Remake the bed of vegetables and replace the chicken on top. Bake for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes to allow the chicken juices to settle. Tilt the sheet pan and spoon some of the juices over the chicken. 

Transfer to a serving platter or to individual dinner plates and garnish with cilantro leaves.  

Suggested pairings:

Doffo Winery ~ 2019 Zinfandel This popular Zinfandel is sure to delight the senses with aromas of plum, raspberry, figs, and cherries.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2019 Zinfandel – This wine offers beautiful aromas and flavors of sweet blackberry and boysenberry fruit with hints of vanilla, allspice and black licorice framed by soft tannins and a long, silky finish.

Monte de Oro Winery ~ 2016 Zinfandel – This wine initially offers aromas of raspberries and dried cranberries with a transition to spices – pronounced cinnamon and nutmeg with slight smoky oak.

Peltzer Winery ~ 2017 Zinfandel– This wine offers aromas of pomegranate, red cherry, tart raspberry, black pepper.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California

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April Winery Events

Monday, April 4th, 2022

Spring Picnic

Altisima Winery 
Grand Opening Celebration! | April 9 at 11:00am – 5:00pm | Live entertainment, vendors, great food, and more. Come party with us! | Learn more: https://altisimawinery.com/upcoming-events

Easter Sunday at Gaspar’s | April 17 | 11:00am – 5:00 pm | Special menu offered at Gaspar’s Restaurant for Easter | Please visit www.altisimawinery.com  for menu information and reservation 

Avensole Winery 
Easter Brunch at the Avensole Winery Restaurant | April 17 11:00am-5:00pm | Join us at Avensole Winery Restaurant for our Chef’s special gourmet brunch menu with festive seasonal mimosas! Menu: https://www.avensolewinery.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Easter-Brunch-Draft-3.9.22.pdf  / Reservations recommended: https://www.avensolewinery.com/restaurant/  

Carter Estate Winery & Resort 
Crêpes & Champagne Sundays | Every Sunday April 3 – May 29th | 11am – 1pm (Not Available Easter Sunday) | Get a taste of France at Carter Estate Winery. Start your day of wine tasting off with one of our delicious sparkling wines, paired with sweet or savory French Crêpes from The Catered Kitchens! No Reservations Required | Please visit our website www.CarterEstateWinery.com  
 
Danza del Sol Winery 
Blind Tasting Event | April 9 from 3:00pm – 5:00pm | Do you know your Danza wine? Come and test out your knowledge at our blind tasting event that will be held in our Barrel Room! | Ticket info coming soon! | Reservations Required | RSVP to n.pierce@danzadelsolwinery.com  

Europa Village Wineries & Resort 
Latin Nights at Bolero | April 5th & April 19th | 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm | General Admission: $15 (Members $13.50) | Dance the night away at Latin Nights at Bolero! With a variety of Latin music, dance lessons, and select menu offerings, you won’t want to miss out on a spicy evening of fun | Learn more: https://shop.europavillage.com/Shop/Events/Latin-Nights   

Inspirational Sunrise Service on the Piazza at Vienza | April 17th at 6:00am | Join us at Europa Village for sunrise worship and musical performances with special guest Charles Graham. Admission is free. Breakfast burritos, Pastries, Coffee and Hot Chocolate will be available for purchase.  

Easter Brunch at Bolero Restaurante | April 17 at 10:00am – 3:00 pm | Hop on over to Bolero Restaurante this Easter for a delightful brunch complete with traditional holiday cuisine and other Spanish favorites. Price: $79 adult $39 children | For reservations, please call us at 951.414.3802. Learn more at https://www.europavillage.com/spring-happenings/  

Falkner Winery 
Easter Champagne Brunch at The Pinnacle Restaurant | April 17 | $69.95 per person | For reservation and menu information, please visit www.falknerwinery.com/events   

SalsaFama | April 16 | This is a free event! No reservations needed | Salsa class at 1:00pm; Dance, Dance, Dance from 2:00-4:00pm | Beer, wine, frozen margaritas, Sangria and delicious TAP’s Tacos will be available for purchase. *No outside food allowed* Dj Andre SalsaFama will be providing the music and a salsa lesson to start off the day! Seating is first come first served and the yard area will open at noonAll ages are welcome! | Please feel free to call with any questions 951-676-8231 ext. 101. 

Frangipani Winery 
Triple Threat Productions presents Diva’s on Broadway | April 30 | Doors Open 6:30pm, show starts at 7pm | $45 per person plus tax | A night of musical theater entertainment with the valley’s own Diva’s | Purchase tickets by April 28 at www.Frangipanievents.com  

Karaoke Night | April 1s & 15th from 5:30pm-9:30pm | Hosted by Lillian Thomas of Sing It Like You Mean It and Daniels Creperie serving tasty crepes during the night. 

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery 
Murder Mystery Dinner | April 13 7:00pm-9:00pm | I love the 80s to death! | $75 / $67.50WC | https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-415029/Murder-Mystery-Dinner-2022.html 

Laugh Your Glass Off | April 14 7:00pm-9:00pm | $25 / $22.50WC | https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-415122/Laugh-Your-Glass-Off.html 

Easter Brunch | April 17 | 2 seating’s at 11am & 2pm | $100 / $90 WC | https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-414975/Easter-Brunch.html 

Tribute Thursday- Stevie Nicks Illusion | April 21 | Doors open at 6pm, show starts at 7pm | To make reservations please call 951-694-6699 x109 or visit: https://www.lorimarwinery.com/dining 

Monte de Oro Winery 
Wine Bingo – Baseball Edition! | April 9 | 6:30 – 9:00pm | Join MDO as we celebrate Opening Day weekend for the MLB by repping your favorite team (hat, jersey, etc.)! We’ll be featuring 6 bingo games at this fan favorite event with wine prizes totaling over $1,200 (not counting raffle prizes)! Our Bistro is serving up a “Ballpark” inspired menu for the evening and we’ll have some fun baseball trivia throughout the night as well | Reservations at https://shop.montedeoro.com/res-399642/Wine-Bingo-Baseball-Edition.html    

The Essence of Spring Dinner | April 16 | 7:00-10:00pm | Join MDO for a one-of-a-kind dinner experience. Chef Alfred and his team have prepared an exquisite menu that captures the Essence of Spring and celebrates the return of our vines. Each course will be paired with our award-winning wines, hand selected by our team of experts | Reservations at https://shop.montedeoro.com/res-399653/The-Essence-Of-Spring-Dinner.html   

Blind Tasting – GSM Blends | April 22 | 6:30 – 8:30pm | We will be sampling offerings from various world-renowned wineries to see how they compare to Monte De Oro’s best GSM vintages. Chef Alfred and team will also be on hand to bring you some culinary creations to pair perfectly with your blind tasting! | Reservations at https://shop.montedeoro.com/res-399654/Blind-Tasting-Gsm-Blends.html  

Signature Food & Wine Series | April 24 | 11:30am-1:30pm | Our Signature Food & Wine Series is a culinary offering unique to Monte De Oro. Our food and wine experts put together the freshest ingredients and guide you through a multi-course showcase featuring Monte De Oro’s award-winning wine | Reservations at https://shop.montedeoro.com/res-399655/Signature-Food-Wine-Series.html

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa 
Blessing of the Vines | Sunday, April 10th | 5:00pm-9:00pm | Five Food & Wine Pairing Stations, Dinner Buffet & Dessert Display, Blessing of the Vines Ceremony & Sparkling Wine Toast. Dance to live music by Anyone’s Guess Band | Reservations at https://www.southcoastwinery.com/blessing  

Wilson Creek Winery 
The Creekside Grille will now be serving Dinner on Friday’s & Saturday’s until 8:00pm, Reservations recommended. Join us for Wilson Creek Golden Hours with live music every Friday night until 8:30pm. For reservations, please visit www.wilsoncreekwinery.com  

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Spring Has Sprung in Wine Country. Here’s What’s Happening in Our Vineyards

Monday, April 4th, 2022

Spring in the Vineyards

While many view harvest as the most exciting time of year in Wine Country, Spring is also a season worth celebrating as it marks the start of the growing season for the grapevine. After months of chilly weather and bare vines, the first signs of life in the vineyard begin. It’s a beautiful time to be out in Wine Country! Days are getting warmer, and bud burst has begun, marking the official kick-off to an exciting few months, watching grapes go through several stages of growth before being harvested, pressed, and produced into the delicious wines that grace our tables year-round.

“It is bud break in the vineyard, early leaves are emerging after the winter slumber and much-needed rest that all vines require to produce great fruit for great wines,” explains Greg Pennyroyal, Vineyard Manager at Wilson Creek Winery, and Professor of Viticulture at Mt. San Jacinto College. “The vineyards are all starting to develop the beautiful emerald green of early spring.”

“The early ripening white varieties started pushing out around the middle of March, and many more have followed by this time,” continues Baily Winery owner and winemaker Phil Baily. “It’s always exciting to see the dormant vines spring to life, showing little ribbons of green along the vine rows. The next few weeks will see enormous growth, as the vines enter their most photogenic time.  This is a great time to visit us!”

Owner and winemaker Nick Palumbo of Palumbo Family Vineyards compares the coming of Spring to the end of a long, restful sleep: “Our Winter pruning is done, the last of the winter storms have rolled thru (we hope!), the vines are yawning and stretching after their winter slumber, and the first few buds have started to pop. Cold mornings are keeping a few varieties in bed but some of the vineyards are reaching out as we keep a close eye on the weather. Not that we control that! Late frost can really change our growth and production, but we are lucky here in the Temecula Valley as that is rarely a problem.”

Not only are the vineyards vibrant with new life, some of Temecula Valley’s most delicious wines are flowing – bright, crisp white wines made from unique grapes like Albariño, Vermentino, Arneis, and Falanghina, gorgeous sparkling wines made in the same method as some of the best Champagnes, and rosés in all hues from pale salmon to deep magenta. Visitors to Temecula Valley can take in the stunning vineyard views at one of the many outdoor tasting areas, while enjoying the dreamy Southern California Spring weather and sipping a glass or two of world class wines.

Pennyroyal encourages wine and nature enthusiasts to look closely for the flowering taking place on the vines at this time.

“Grape flowers are very subtle, you will see them early in the season looking almost like tiny white stars in a new canopy,” he says. “Before opening up, the flower petals are held shut by a structure called the calyptra, which is like a little tight-fitting hat on the petals of the flowers. If you gently blow on them, they will pop off and float down to earth, a surprisingly entertaining pastime, especially after a glass of wine on of warm spring day.”

But so much more goes into managing our vineyards than meets the eye. They may look like they are thriving on their own; however careful attention must be paid every step of the way in order to ensure Temecula Valley wines maintain the quality levels wine lovers have come to expect when they visit.

“This time of the year the vines are experiencing their fastest growth rate, and rapidly go through the stages of bud break, flowering, fruit set, and then canopy development,” says Pennyroyal. “Just as when your children are going through their growth spurts, nutritional support is key in the vineyard. The rapid vine growth and fruit set require a well-balanced full spectrum of macro and micronutrients.”

And, while all of this work is happening, the countdown to the most exhilarating (and exhausting) time of year in a winemaker’s life – harvest – begins.

“As both a vintner and a winemaker, while many are looking at the vines, I am thinking ahead and already planning for harvest and the cellar space needed in the months to come. Exciting times for sure!” says Palumbo.

We encourage you to get out and about to visit Temecula Valley wineries this time of year. When you go, ask to speak to a winemaker, vineyard manager or worker, or even the knowledgeable tasting room staff. Pick their brain about what is going on in the vineyard right now. A glass of wine tastes so much better when you take the time to understand all that goes into producing it, from vine to grape to cellar to glass.

And, while you’re here, there may even be something more magical happening among the vines.

“There is a newly emerging branch of plant sciences called phytoacoustics, which is the study of plants’ ability to sense sound,” says Pennyroyal. “If this is true, I am confident that after a long winter of being alone the vines would love your company and will be listening for the sounds of laughter. We look forward to seeing you in the vineyard.”

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Sheet-Pan Chicken with Chickpeas, Carrots and Lemon

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

Sheet-Pan Chicken with Chickpeas, Carrots and Lemon

A Moroccan spice rub seasons these chicken thighs, while the chicken flavors the chickpeas and carrots that cook underneath. The cooked lemon slices will be soft and delicious. but you can set them aside if you prefer. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Spice rub: 

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (see note above)
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, about 2 pounds (900 g) 
  • 1 can (15 oz/425 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • ½ pound (225 g) carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal 
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced from stem to root 
  • 1 small lemon, halved lengthwise (quartered lengthwise if large), then sliced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin (see Note above) 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup (10 g) coarsely chopped cilantro, plus a few whole leaves for garnish 

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients. Sprinkle all over the chicken and set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a 9 x 12-inch (23 x 30 cm) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a bowl, combine the chickpeas, carrots, red onion, lemon, garlic, cumin, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to mix, then arrange in the baking sheet in an even layer. Arrange the chicken thighs on top, not touching, and drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil on top of each one. 

Bake on a center rack for 40 minutes. With tongs, set the chicken aside on a plate. Add the chopped cilantro to the vegetables and stir to mix and moisten everything with the chicken juices. Remake the bed of vegetables and replace the chicken on top. Bake for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes to allow the chicken juices to settle. Tilt the sheet pan and spoon some of the juices over the chicken. 

Transfer to a serving platter or to individual dinner plates and garnish with cilantro leaves.  

Suggested Pairings:

Chapin Family Vineyards ~ 2019 Zinfandel – Fruit forward, well balanced with flavors of jammy black cherry and rose petals. 

Doffo Winery ~ 2018 Zinfandel –  Aromas of plum, raspberry, figs, and cherries.

Hart Winery ~ 2018 Zinfandel – Aged 12 months in premium American oak and blend with a kiss of Petite Sirah.

Wilson Creek Winery ~ 2019 Bourbon Barrel Zinfandel – This wine displays flavors for plum and dark cherry with a bit of smokiness.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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This International Women’s Day, We Celebrate the Inspiring Women of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country wouldn’t run without the immensely talented women that make the region so special. From tasting room staff, to winemakers and assistant winemakers, to women in leadership, our Wine Country is jam packed with some fierce and fiery female power. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day – Tuesday, March 8 – is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” In celebration, we caught up with some of our favorite Wine Country women to and to ask them what this means to them, and learn more about their journey in wine.

These interviews may have been edited for brevity and/or clarity.

Emily Bloom, Enologist and Vineyard Coordinator, South Coast and Carter Estate Wineries.

Emily Bloom

Emily started her wine career as an intern at South Coast Winery in 2015, and has since expanded her role to work for South Coast’s sister winery – Carter Estate – as well. She grew up in San Diego, and always loved the climate of Southern California (what’s not to love?). “We have the ability to grow many different fruits and vegetables,” she says. “Including grapes!”

TVWA: What was the journey like for you to get to where you are today in your career?

EB: Having always been interested in agriculture, I attended Iowa State University for horticulture and worked on many different agricultural operations from tropical flowers to blueberries. I have found wine production to be creative and fun, and I cannot imagine myself in any other industry. Continued education is so important for professional growth. I have a certificate in Viticulture form Washington State University and will be starting WSET Level 4 this spring. 

TVWA: The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” – What does this mean to you?

EB: A sustainable future in the wine industry is not possible without the inclusivity of those who identify as female, non-binary, and people of color. The recognition of inclusivity in a male dominated industry is crucial to the success and growth of the industry. Bringing different backgrounds and experiences to the table offers ways to improve and diversify the wine industry. We need to remove any existing barriers to enter the wine business and open paths for a diverse world of wine making. Just as wine should be enjoyed by all, a career in the wine industry should be accessible to all.

TVWA: What sorts of things do you do to lift other women up and support them personally and/or professionally?

EB: I very much enjoy mentoring our interns who work harvest, as well as leading the tasting room staff to shadow our production work. It is rewarding to be able to teach and mentor, and it gives me continued enthusiasm for our wine industry.

TVWA: Tell us something that many people would be surprised to find out about you!

EB: Outside of wine, I love to machine knit and sew! I made matching knit beanies for the production crew a couple years ago which was a lot of fun! Being able to create things brings such a feeling of joy and accomplishment.

Olivia Bue, Winemaker, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Olivia Bue

An Encinitas native, it’s no surprise Olivia returned to Temecula in search of a winemaking position after graduating from UC Davis with a Viticulture and Enology degree, and working for Molly Dooker in McLaren Vale, South Australia, and Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley. Olivia was hired and mentored by longtime Temecula Valley winemaker Gus Vizgirda in 2012, which allowed her to take the next step as Assistant and now Head Winemaker at Robert Renzoni Vineyards, where she has been for the past 8+ years.

TVWA: How long have you been in Temecula Wine Country? What drew you to the region?

OB: What drew me to Temecula Valley was the possibility to grow with the region and make an impact in the region’s accomplishments. Our main goal in Temecula Valley is to get recognized for our quality wines beyond just southern California. If I can be part of that movement, the decision to come South 10 years ago was beyond worthwhile.

TVWA: How did you get to where you are today in your career?

OB: I grew up surrounded by incredibly strong women. My mom is a breast cancer survivor and badass woman. Her positive attitude toward life and not allowing anything to get in the way of achieving your dreams was engrained in me at an early age. I never felt inferior as a woman in a male-dominated industry. I was more insecure of my age than gender in my earlier 20s. I was learning how to make wine in school before I was legal to drink it! I truly fell in love with the science and production of winemaking before the actual taste. 

TVWA: The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” – What does this mean to you?

OB: I’ve chosen to not let discrimination deter me from achieving my goals. I’ve been lucky that being a woman has not held me back in any way. At Robert Renzoni Vineyards, the team has always advocated for me being a woman winemaker. Surrounding yourself by people who uplift and support you is key! What I love about wine is I’m judged on the final product, nothing else. 

TVWA: What sorts of things do you do to lift other women up and support them personally and/or professionally?

OB: I know many talented woman winemakers with their own personal labels, some of whom I went to school with at UC Davis, and I make sure to support their product and stock my wine fridge with their new releases.

Also, after becoming a mom 3 years ago, juggling work and family was/is challenging. Staying in touch with other women winemakers who recently expanded their families has been so motivating. It’s not easy working full time while being a mother of 2, especially during harvest, but it’s important to me for my kids to see what hard work and drive looks like. I’m so enthusiastic and passionate about making wine. It brings joy to my life which ultimately makes me a better mom. Early morning pump-overs will be part of the harvest norm for them.  Can’t wait to put them to work!

TVWA: Tell us something that many people would be surprised to find out about you!

OB: I grew up as a competitive gymnast; back flips were part of my everyday.

Patricia O’Brien, Vice President of Sales and Operations, Danza del Sol and Masia de la Vinya Wineries

Patricia O’Brien

Patricia and her husband moved to Temecula from Carlsbad 19 years ago when she was pregnant with their second child. After leaving her corporate job to be a stay-at-home mom, she quickly realized she missed everyday adult interactions. Another mom pal of hers worked at a winery and encouraged her to apply for a position as Wine Club Manager. She got the job and has been in the business ever since.

TVWA: The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” – What does this mean to you?

PO: As a mother of two very strong, sassy, smart and independent girls, I support gender equality now because I want them to have the same opportunities in sports, education, and careers as our son.  Working towards gender equality, I believe will make our future generations so much stronger. ‘Cause let’s face it; women get things done!

TVWA: What sorts of things do you do to lift other women up and support them personally and/or professionally? 

PO: Personally, I try to set an example for what it means to be present in not just my personal life but professional too.  My mother instilled in my siblings and I the Maya Angelou quote, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  So, I’m a firm believer a person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected. Here’s a few things I do to lift other women in my personal/professional life:

  1. Professional Development: At Danza del Sol Winery and Masia de la Vinya Winery we have a professional development program that assist employees who are interested in expanding their wine or wine business knowledge by participating in WSET or Sommelier certification. We also pay for our staff to participate in the TVWA CHIP (Certified Hospitality Industry Professional) program.
    1. Friendships: I also take the time to build friendships with other “women of wine” in Temecula.  Some of the best wine industry leaders I know are women who come from this Valley!  I appreciate their friendship, honesty, and value their advice.  I love that I can call them any time to seek their counsel or just to meet up for lunch or a glass of wine.  There are so many to name… you know who you are. 
    2. Appreciation: I’m a firm believer that a person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected. So, I try my best every day to incorporate one of these phrases in my personal and professional life:
      1. “Thank you, I appreciate you.”
      2. “Appreciate that, thanks.”
      3. “I appreciate the time it took for you to __________.” 

You should try it and see what results you get!

TVWA: Tell us something that many people would be surprised to find out about you! This could be a unique skill or hobby, a funny anecdote, language spoken, etc.

PO: For as strong and as badass as I’m perceived to be, I am a sucker for Hallmark Movies.  I know right, me? Yep!!!  Nothing takes my mind off the stresses of life more than a nice bottle of wine, gourmet popcorn and a predictable, over the top, sappy, two-hour Hallmark movie!  And don’t get me started about Countdown to Christmas Hallmark movies.  Don’t judge me!

Christina Falik, “Chief Wineaux,” Gershon Bachus Vintners

Christina Falik

Christina came to Temecula Valley 17 years ago from Laguna Beach, where she was raising her son with husband Ken, and running their marketing company. Being from New York, they moved inland to escape the coastal fog and enjoy the sunshine. After purchasing their 21 acres of land perched atop of a hill with “Views like Tuscany,” Christina says the wine bug hit her.

TVWA: The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” – What does this mean to you? 

CF: Equality in general is vital for the growth of our society.  For each and every person looking for a job, or job advancement, it is essential that their talent is recognized and the pay to be the same regardless of gender, creed, or race.  Anything less, is unacceptable.

TVWA: What sorts of things do you do personally and/or professionally to lift other women up and support them personally and/or professionally?  

CF: I mentor women who have little or no experience.  I will take my time to teach them a trade, show them how I manage in the world today. I stand alongside my friends and associates in their time of need and offer my help and support whenever they struggle. I also believe that being positive is essential, and sometimes that trait needs to be encouraged. Wine Production has made great strides for women and the opportunities are there for those who are not afraid of the work or the hours. 

TVWA: Tell us something that many people would be surprised to find out about you! I used to be shy and I am a Pollyanna. I look at the world through rose-colored glasses. I am pretty open these days, but it was a struggle for me as a younger person. I was not always outspoken, and I certainly did not like public speaking.  It took a lot of time to find my voice and pitch.

Wendy Holder, VP of Marketing, Wilson Creek Winery

Wendy Holder

Wendy has been in Temecula Valley for a whopping 43 years! The things she must have seen! She began her career with Rancon Financial, where she worked for 14 years with Dan Stephenson, someone she desicribes as “An entrepreneurial visionary who contributed to the early development of “Rancho California” now known as Temecula.” She credits him for introducing her to the marketing profession, and she has since grown her experience in advertising, hospitality, and entrepreneurship herself. In 2009, she joined Wilson Creek to work alongside Bill Wilson in growing the iconic Temecula winery.

TVWA: The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” – What does this mean to you?  

WH: I am pleased to see how the roles and positions women now occupy in Temecula Wine Country have grown dramatically over the years. I feel the contribution of women has never been greater and their growing success has come directly from hard work, dedication, and passion for the wine industry in the valley. These key qualities are essential in any workplace and have been the best method of overcoming gender inequalities. 

TVWA: What sorts of things do you do to lift other women up and support them personally and/or professionally?

WH: I love to share my knowledge and experience by supporting, mentoring, teaching others and building trust. Confidence encourages initiative. Initiative brings personal and professional growth. I firmly believe women who commit themselves fully to their profession or personal endeavors, seek to always learn and grow, and remain steadfast and not dissuaded by difficulties, will always excel.

TVWA: Tell us something that many people would be surprised to find out about you!

WH: I was actively involved in 4-H in my youth, showing horses, sheep, goats and dogs. I became the Riverside County Horse Show Champion when I was fifteen years old. It was during these years that I was mentored by one of my 4-H leaders, Audrey Cilurzo. Many know Audrey as one of the pioneers of Temecula Wine Country, a very intelligent and caring person with a strong business sense and a consummate professional. It was with Audrey that I poured my first glass of wine at the balloon and wine festival over 32 years

Check back for part 2 of this story on Tuesday, March 8th, International Women’s Day, as we continue to celebrate our fabulous women in wine.

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Popcorn Trio

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

Popcorn Trio with Paired Wine

When it’s movie night – or the big game on TV night, make sure the snacks belong on the highlight reel. With this trio of wine-friendly flavored popcorns, the treats may steal the show. Make one, two or all three if you’re feeling ambitious. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ingredients:

Pimentón Popcorn 

  •  Stovetop Popcorn from ¼ cup popcorn kernels 
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1 teaspoon pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika), hot or mild, or paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt 

Put the hot popcorn in a serving bowl. Add the butter, pimentón and salt and toss well.

Porcini Butter Popcorn 

  • Stovetop Popcorn from ¼ cup (55 g) popcorn kernels 
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons porcini powder or mushroom powder (see Note) 
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt 

Put the hot popcorn in a serving bowl. Add the butter, porcini powder and salt and toss well.  NOTE: You can find porcini powder at spice shops and well-stocked supermarkets, or you can make your own by grinding dried porcini to a powder in a spice mill. 

Brown Butter and Parmesan Popcorn 

  • 4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter 
  • Stovetop Popcorn from ½ cup (110 g) popcorn kernels 
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt 

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Continue cooking, swirling the pan often, until the butter stops foaming and hissing, a sign that most of the moisture has evaporated. At that point, the melted butter will begin to turn golden-brown and smell nutty. Remove from the heat. Put the hot popcorn in a serving bowl and pour the warm brown butter over the popcorn, leaving any dark solids at the bottom of the pan. Add the cheese and salt and toss well.  

Directions:

General stovetop popcorn preparation: Put 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 3 to 4 popcorn kernels in a heavy saucepan. Cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and place over medium heat. When the kernels pop, add ¼ cup (55 g) popcorn kernels and recover, leaving the lid slightly ajar so steam can escape. Cook over medium heat, shaking the saucepan occasionally, until you no longer hear kernels popping. Makes about 7-1/2 cups (1.75 liters). 

Suggested Pairings:

Altisima Winery ~ 2019 Chardonnay – Aged in half stainless steel and half new French oak barrels, this full-bodied Chardonnay is the perfect white wine for the red wine drinker, boasting strong oak aromatics, a creamy texture, and a butter finish.

Baily Winery ~ 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon –  Offers warm, rich tones with subtle, herbaceous qualities and a hint of mint. 

Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2021 Chardonnay – This chardonnay is more creamy, buttery, and oaked with French oak imparting rich flavors of vanilla, butterscotch, crème brulee and caramel.

Thornton Winery ~ Limited Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon -Very classic berry and pepper aromas came forth while subtle herbaceous notes meld with the warm toasty aromas from the oak.

Recipe and photo courtesy of The Wine Institute of California

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February Winery Events

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

Akash Winery & Vineyards
Valentine’s Dinner
| February 14th from 6:30pm-9:00pm | Join us for a 4-course dinner. Seating is for two only and space is limited to 10 tables (no group tables) | Cost $165 per person | Reservations can be made at www.akashwinery.com

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Valentine’s Day Dinner at Meritage
| February 14 from 5pm-8pm | Cost: $90.00 for wine club members.  $100.00 for General public. Price is per person, plus tax, and gratuity. A wine pairing option is available for an additional fee | Join us this Valentine’s Day for an intimate evening of fine dining, spectacular wine and romance. We invite you to indulge yourself and your loved ones in a decadent four course, prix fixe dinner with stunning sunset vineyard views.at Meritage Restaurant | Reserve your table at: https://www.exploretock.com/callawaywinery or call (951) 587-8889.

Churon Inn Winery
Valentine’s Day Dinner |
February 13 & 14 | Enjoy a 3-course candlelit dinner with live music. Includes a bottle of sparkling wine | Cost is $99 per person/$89 per person for wine club members (price does not include tax and gratuity). | To view the dinner menu and to purchase your ticket, please visit our website, https://innatchuronwinery.com

Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Heart Shaped Pizza Experience
| February 13 & 14th from 11am-4:30pm | Wineclub $60 per couple; non-wine club $65 per couple | Grab your Sweetheart and escape to the vineyards this Valentine’s Day weekend 13th & 14th. Heart-themed Lunch for Two with a View.  Your heart & belly will be full!  Email events@cougarvineyards.com for reservations

Danza del Sol Winery
Trivia Night
| Every Friday Starting Feb 11th | Join us in our Tasting Room from 7pm – 9pm | Doors open at 6:30pm for seating. Food truck & prizes available.
Lover’s Flight in the Club House | February 12th starts at 12:00pm | Bring out your significant other and enjoy a curated pairing by our winemaker and Boards & Baskets | https://www.danzadelsolwinery.com/res-405013/Lovers-Flight.html
Couples Crepe Cooking Class in the Club House | February 13th from 10am-12pm | https://www.danzadelsolwinery.com/res-405012/Couples-Crepe-Cooking-Class.html

Doffo Winery
Sweetheart Dinner
| February 12th at 7:00pm | $165 per person | Please visit www.doffowines.com for reservation and to view our four-course pre-fixe menu details.

Frangipani Winery
Yoga in the Vines |
February 12th from 10am-12pm | $45 per person includes Yoga session, Wine tasting & light brunch. 
Valentine’s Day Dinner | February 14th at 6:30pm | Enjoy a four-course all-inclusive wine paired dinner by Chef Volker Lutz with theater show entertainment by Triple Threat Productions of Elvis & Friends Theater
Show | $150 non-members: $140 wine club members
Yoga in the Vines | February 26th from 10am-12pm | $45 per person includes Yoga session, Wine tasting & light brunch. 
Visit us at www.frangipanievents.com to purchase tickets to all our events.

Longshadow Ranch Winery
Special edition Valentine’s Day Date Night
Paint & Sip | February 11 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm | Bring your valentine for a Paint & Sip date night in the Longshadow Great Lodge!  Each partner will create 1/2 of an overall painting, when held together it’ll be a completed picture!  | Tickets are $40 each and include a glass of Longshadow wine + everything that you need to create your own artwork | Please visit www.longshadowwinery.com to reserve your spot today.
Friday Night Flights – Wine & Food pairings in the Lodge. Bonfire Saturday Nights – Wine, BBQ, and Live Music at private fire tables. Sunday Brunch starting at 11am. For information on all these activities please visit our website at www.longshadowranchwinery.com for reservations and pricing.

Lorimar Vineyards & Winery
Galentine’s
| February 8th from 6pm-9pm | Girl’s night with local vendors, photo booth, wine and more! | $10/$9WC | visit https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-414598/Galentines-Day.html  to purchase tickets or call 951-694-6699 X109
Valentine’s Day Dinner | February 14 from 7pm-9pm | Enjoy a romantic four-course prix fixe dinner for two with a bottle of Lorimar wine | $150/$135WC (1 adult ticket is for 2 people). To purchase tickets or call 951-694-6699 X109
Smoke and Vine | February 25th from 7pm-10pm | An evening of cigars and wine | $125/$112 WC | visit https://shop.lorimarwinery.com/res-414593/Smoke-And-Vine-An-Evening-Of-Cigars-And-Wine.html to purchase tickets or call 951-694-6699 X109

Masia de la Vinya Winery
Couple’s Paint + Sip | February 13 from 2:00pm -3:30pm | $40 per person; tickets via Pretty Paints https://www.prettypaintsparty.com/new-products-2/masiadelavinyavalentines
Karaoke Night |February 25th, 5:30pm – 9:00pm – The Mac Food Truck 4pm – 8:30pm  

Raul Ramirez Winery
Valentine’s Day Celebration
| February 10th from 2:30 to 5 pm | Cost $69.00 per person | Seafood Paella and Tarta de Santiago by Spaniard Chef Alvaro Baeza and paired with our estate wines. Entertainment & Music by Lex Borja | To purchase your tickets please visit https://www.raulramirezwinery.com/product/Valentine-s-Celebration       

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Valentine’s Day Dinner Specials at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant
| Available February 10th – 14th, 5:30pm – 9pm | To view specials and to make reservations, visit https://www.southcoastwinery.com/dining/valentines  
Romance Package is available for a Valentine’s Day Weekend Getaway. Package includes overnight stay in Luxury Accommodations, Bottle of Sparkling Wine, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and Rose Petals. Book via https://www.southcoastwinery.com/dining/valentines  or call 844.977.0206.      

Wilson Creek Winery
Valentine’s Day Lunch and Dinner at The Creekside Grille
| Monday, February 14th. Reservations recommended: https://www.wilsoncreekwinery.com/restaurant/reservations/  

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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day All Month – or Year! – Long in Temecula Valley

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

We can think of no better way to experience romance than while sipping wine and taking in the rolling hills, hot air balloons, and gorgeous vistas of Southern California’s Temecula Valley. Whether you’re planning on hitting up some wineries with your significant other, hanging with your best gal (or guy!) pal, or rolling solo for a little self-care, we’ve got the wines and the experiences to help you celebrate your best Valentine’s Day yet, Wine Country-style.

GETTING OUT AND ABOUT

If you’re headed out to Wine Country for some in-person swirling and sipping, check out these fun special events and ongoing winery programs that are sure to get the romance flowing year-round.

SIP Passport:

This ticket to Wine Country allows you and your honey to sip your way through Temecula Valley at your own pace. Enjoy a curated wine flight at any five of the participating wineries, Monday through Friday (Valentine’s Day just so happens to fall on a Monday this year!) and see where the experience takes you.

Monte de Oro Signature Food and Wine Series:

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds on February 14th, kick off the romance a little bit early at this feast for the senses including a multi-course culinary experience with a selection of Monte de Oro’s award-winning wines. Still determined to get out on the town on Valentine’s Day itself? Snag a ticket to Monte de Oro’s Valentine’s Day dinner, with a four-course meal, wine pairings, and live music.

Bottaia Blending Lab:

Sometimes, the best way spice things up is by taking on a new activity together. Become winemaker for a day at Bottaia’s unique wine blending lab, where you will roll up your sleeves and make your very own custom wine blend, complete with a cork and label. Lay the wine down to open up on your next anniversary or special occasion, or sip it while celebrating Valentine’s Day 2022.

Doffo Winery Sweetheart Dinner:

Romance doesn’t need to be all chocolate and roses, right? On Saturday, February 12, hit up everyone’s favorite moto-themed winery for a decadent four-course meal with wine pairings while rubbing elbow’s with the tight-knit Doffo family and fellow wine (and motorcycle) enthusiasts.

Galentine’s at Peltzer:

On February 11, ditch the guys and celebrate being single (or single for a day) while you dance, shop, sip, and nosh the night away. Enjoy local bites and food trucks, live music, a pop-up market, and of course, lots and lots of Temecula Valley wine. 

Wine and Wellness at Akash:

Sometimes connecting with your partner means reconnecting with yourself as well. Akash Winery not only offers ongoing yoga and fitness classes among the vines, but they have also launched a one-of-a-kind Wellness + Wine club, featuring access to yoga, Lagree-inspired workouts, and kickboxing classes, not to mention post-workout sips and monthly bottles to take home. Nothing like a little sweat – or zen – to get in the mood for romance.

STAYING COZY AT HOME

If you’re looking forward to a little Netflix and chill this Valentine’s Day, you’re going to need a steady supply of wine. Here are a few of our favorites for sipping with your favorite partner in wine.

Bubbles

And we don’t mean the bath kind! Temecula Valley produces some spectacular traditional method sparkling wines, made with quality grapes and painstaking attention to detail, for the perfect kickoff to any special occasion (or to sip, like we do, on any ordinary Monday).

A few to try:

Thornton Winery Brut NV, $54 – Close your eyes and you’re in Champagne! A blend of classic Champagne grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this crisp, clean sparkler boasts juicy apple, pear, and tropical aromas, and a toasty, creamy finish.

Bottaia 2020 Rosé Spumante, $45 – We love the offbeat blend of Italian grapes in this dry, soft-pink bubbly, with notes of strawberry, raspberry, melon, and lime zest.

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvée Sparkling Syrah NV, $24 – Need something bright and juicy to pair with that box of Valentine’s Day chocolates? Pop a bottle of this deep crimson-colored red sparkling wine for a decadent treat.

Big, Bold Reds

There’s something about a rich, velvety red wine that just oozes romance. Temecula Valley is known for producing some truly exceptional full-bodied reds that are perfect for sipping with your significant other – with a special dinner or simply while curled up on the couch and enjoying each other’s company.

A few to try:

Baily Winery 2018 Meritage, $75

This rich, complex red is an elegant blend of classic Bordeaux grape varieties. It is lean but powerful, with ripe berry fruit, plum, sweet baking spices and an intriguing tobacco note.

Leoness Cellars 2018 Signature Series “Eloquent”, $99

This silky blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel is the ultimate contemplation wine. Dark berry fruit aromas are framed by notes of sweet and savory spice like vanilla, black pepper, chocolate, and anise.  

Fazeli Cellars 2017 Shiraz, $50

Taking its name from the fabled ancient Persian city of Shiraz, as well as the alternate spelling of “Syrah,” this wine boasts silky black currant and blackberry layered with vanilla, sweet tobacco, mocha and black pepper.

Something Sweet

Who needs a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates when you can sip your dessert with one of these indulgent sweet and fortified wine selections? Pair them with an after-dinner sweet treat, a salty cheese course, or nothing at all – they’re just that tasty.

A few to try:

Callaway Vineyard & Winery Late Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon, $26

Grapes spend extra time on the vines to develop the ripest possible fruit notes as well as elevated sugar levels to create this smooth, sensuous treat, packed with black cherry and raspberry jam, cinnamon and a hint of licorice.

Mount Palomar Limited Reserve Tawny Port, $65

This extremely limited bottling made from 100% estate grown grapes is made in the style of the great fortified wines of Portugal. A blend of 11- and 10-year tawny port, this rich, amber nectar is ripe with aromas of molasses, fig, tangerine, and brown sugar.

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Pop! Goes the Bottle: Your Temecula Valley Sparkling Wine Guide To Ring in the New Year

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

Cheers to 2022!

Is there anything better than the sound of a bottle of sparkling wine popping during the holidays? Or any time, really? While we’re big believers in popping a bottle of bubbly any time that feels right, whether ‘tis the season’ or not, there is something particularly special about uncorking some fizz as we get ready to close out 2021… and fully prepare ourselves for what 2022 holds. Gulp.  

Fortunately, Temecula Valley is home to some truly exceptional sparkling wines made from traditional sparkling wine grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as some totally unique varieties like Shiraz and Pinotage. Before we dig into some of our favorite selections for the holidays and ringing in the new year, we thought it might be helpful to review some of the most common types of sparkling wines and how those delicate bubbles make it into our glass.

Méthode Traditionnelle

Also known as traditional method, or “Méthode Champenoise” – named for the region for this type of wine – this is the most painstaking, time-consuming way to produce bubbles. 

The winemaker produces a still, dry wine with high acidity, bottles it, and then adds a mixture of more yeast and sugar to each bottle, sealing it up with a crown cap. The yeast begins to ferment the sugar again, increasing the alcohol level slightly and releasing carbon dioxide. Since the CO2 has nowhere to go, it goes back into the wine in what is called the “secondary fermentation,” giving the wine its sparkles.

What makes wines produced in this way so special is the time it spends on its “lees” – the little yeast cells that die and float to the bottom during the secondary fermentation. Some wines spend a small amount of time on them, while others age for years, giving traditional method sparkling wines greater complexity, as well as those unmistakable and delicious toasty, brioche-like aromas, and allowing the wine to age for a long time.

After the specified aging period, the neck of the bottle is submerged in an ice bath which freezes the lees sediments in the neck of the bottle. When the crown cap is removed, the frozen sediment then pops out. Finally, the dosage – the winery’s signature mix of wine and, in some cases, sugar – is added to top the bottles up and determine their sweetness level, and the bottles are corked and caged and ready for our New Year’s celebrations.

Tank Method

Also known as Charmat method or Cuvée Close, these wines go through a similar, but far simpler process than the traditional method of production. Essentially the base wine stays in a large tank, to which a mix of sugar and yeast is added. The tank is sealed so that the secondary fermentation occurs on a much larger scale rather than in individual bottles. The wines are then filtered, the dosage is added, and they are bottled for consumption.

Generally speaking, these wines are intended for more immediate consumption. They are simple and fruit-driven, and absolutely perfect for an everyday sipper or an apéritif before the big holiday meal.  

Asti Method

This method is used to produce the sweet, low alcohol sparkling wines like Moscato d’Asti found in Northern Italy. The aromatic Moscato grapes are pressed and the unfermented juice is chilled until the winemaker is ready to make the batch so the wine is as fresh as possible when it is released.

When it’s time, the must is warmed so that fermentation can begin. At first, the tank isn’t sealed, so the CO2 can escape. Partway through this alcoholic fermentation, the tank is sealed up to trap the carbonation. This whole process is cut short by chilling the wine once again so that some of the sugars remain in the wine, leaving it sweet and slightly sparkling. The wine is then filtered and bottled and ready for consumption.

There are of course other ways of producing sparkling wines, such as the transfer method (similar to the traditional method, but taking place on a large scale in tank), the “Ancestral Method” (used to make the funky, all-natural “pet-nat” that is the darling of many somms and wine geeks), and the simple method of just injecting carbonation to a still wine (new use for your SodaStream, anyone?). However, the methods we have outlined are the most common, and the ones you are most likely to find on your table this season.

A Few of Our favorite Temecula Valley Sparklers:

Here are a few to try as you close out this year and toast new beginnings and the promise of a fresh new year in Temecula Valley and beyond.

Carter Estate Winery 2015 Cuvée Prestige, $75 – Gorgeously complex with layers of baked apple, pear, and lemon curd, rounded out with rich notes of brioche and toasted hazelnut, and lifted by bright acidity. This is definitely a special occasion sparkler, produced in the traditional method with nearly six years on the lees.

Thornton Winery Brut NV, $54 – Produced in the traditional method from a blend of classic Champagne grapes Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this is a crisp, clean sparkler with juicy apple, pear, and tropical aromas, and a toasty, creamy finish.

Bottaia 2020 Rosé Spumante, $45 – Strawberry, crushed raspberry, melon, and lime zest burst from the glass with this baby-pink-hued sparkling rosé. Produced from a mind-bending blend of Italian grapes Fiano, Pecorino, and Montepulciano, this is not only a fantastic, party-pleasing holiday party bubbly, but also a delicious sipper year-round.  

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvée Sparkling Syrah NV, $24 – Few wines are more festive than this crimson-colored red sparkling wine, bursting with juicy, red berry fruit. Break into that box of holiday chocolates that your neighbor dropped off, and sip this alongside them for the perfect, indulgent treat.

Oak Mountain Winery Brut Sparkling, Temecula Valley, $27 – This is such a fun sparkling wine to sip with a spread of New Year’s Eve appetizers, and while getting ready to count down to midnight. Made from the offbeat Rhône Valley grape Roussanne, it’s got plenty of fresh fruit on the palate, with bright, mouthwatering acidity, and a clean, easy-drinking finish.

Happy New Year from Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country! See you in 2022!

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