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Posts Tagged ‘temecula wineries’

Hall of Fame Inductee and Scholarship Award Recipients

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Hall of Fame Inductee

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association (TVWA) introduced the first TVWA Hall of Fame inductees at the 31st Annual Grape Day conference on April 21, 2016 at South Coast Winery in Temecula, California. Induction into the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Hall of Fame is granted to individuals who are no longer active in the Industry and who’ve made extraordinary contributions to furthering the reputation and prestige of the Temecula Valley appellation and its wines.

John and Martha Culbertson were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 38th Annual Grape Day Conference held in April. The Culbertson’s founded Culbertson Winery in the 1980s (now known as Thornton Winery). The winery was very successful and produced some amazing sparking wines. At the time, their winemaker Jon McPherson, now the winemaker at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Carter Estate, made delicious wines that received many accolades. At one point in time, the Culbertson’s had the opportunity to serve their sparkling wine at two White House State dinners in the late 1980s, and became the official wine for the American Orient Express Train.

Hall of Fame Scholarship Recipients

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association is proud to honor and recognize the children of our vineyard and winery employees. In 2023, the Association announced its Hall of Fame Scholarship Program. This scholarship program was available to 2023 graduating high school seniors whose parents or guardians were employed by a TVWA vineyard or winery. Scholarships were awarded based on academic excellence, financial need, & community involvement. We’re excited to announce that we’ve awarded two high school students with a $5,000 award each to apply to their four-year college tuition and expenses. Congratulations to Peyton Hahn and Sarah Wilson for being this year’s scholarship awardees.


Almond Meringue Torte with Strawberries and Ricotta Cream

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Like strawberry shortcake but more elegant, this layered dessert needs to rest for a few hours before slicing to soften the crunchy meringue. It keeps for about a day so you can serve half for dinner and enjoy the other half for a decadent breakfast the next morning. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Muscat.



  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 tablespoons (45 g) finely ground toasted almonds (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour

  • ¾ pound (350 g) whole-milk ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brandy
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream, whipped to firm peaks
  • ¾ pound (350 g) strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon brandy
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground raw (unroasted) pistachios, for garnish
  • Mint sprig and sliced strawberry, optional garnish

Serves 8

Make the meringue: Preheat two ovens to 350°F (180°C) or position two racks in the upper third and bottom third of one oven. Line two heavy rimmed baking sheets with parchment and trace three 7-1/2-inch (19-cm) circles on the paper in pencil, two circles on one sheet and one on the other. Flip the parchment over so the macaroon batter will not touch the pencil marks.

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, whip the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until foamy. Add the sugar gradually, then the almond extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then raise the speed to high and whip until the sugar has completely dissolved and the meringue stands in firm peaks when the whisk is lifted.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Gently fold in the almonds, then the butter, then the flour.

Divide the mixture evenly among the traced circles and spread into evenly thick 7-1/2-inch (19-cm) rounds. Bake until golden-brown and no longer sticky to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. If you are using one oven, shift the position of the baking sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and lift the parchment sheets onto a cooling rack. When the meringue tortes are completely cool, carefully peel away the parchment. Don’t worry if they stick a little bit.

Make the filling: In a food processor, blend the ricotta, sugar, brandy, and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and gently fold in the whipped cream.

In a bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, and brandy. Toss gently and let stand 5 minutes.

Place one meringue on a cake stand or platter that will fit in the refrigerator. Top with one-third of the ricotta filling, spreading it evenly to the edges. Arrange half of the berries in an even layer on top of the ricotta. Top with another and half of the remaining ricotta filling, spreading it to the edges. Top the ricotta with the remaining berries in an even layer, then place the third macaroon on top. Spread the remaining ricotta filling on top of the torte, then cover with a cake dome and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

Just before serving, garnish the top with the ground pistachios and, if desired, with a mint sprig and sliced strawberry.

NOTE: Toast whole raw almonds in a 325°F (160°C) oven until golden inside, about 25 minutes. Let cool, then grind fine in a nut grinder or food processor.

Suggested Wines:

Thornton Winery~ 2021 Muscat Typical lovely Muscat aromas of white flowers (citrus blossoms, mild honeysuckle), pineapple, blood orange, and lemon verbena.

Callaway Winery ~ 2021 Muscat – This wine has rich perfumed notes of honey, jasmine, pear blossom, cantaloupe, white peach, and a hint of spicy nutmeg

Vitagliano Winery ~ 2021 Muscat – This wine delicious notes of tropical fruit and honeysuckle

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


May Winery Events

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Akash Winery & Vineyards 

Mother’s Day Italian Pig Roast | May 14th | 2:30 pm | An array of Italian delicacies, the interactive cooking of a slow-roasted pig, freshly made Sardinian pasta, rosemary focaccia, and Italian sweets are on the menu | $149 per adult, with children under 12 receiving a free cheese pizza (up to two per party) | For reservations and more information:  https://shop.akashwinery.com/product/Mothers-Day-2023  

Avensole Winery 
Mother’s Day Brunch | May 14th | 10:00am – 5:00pm | For reservations and more information: https://www.avensolewinery.com/restaurant/.  
Bel Vino Winery 
Sublime/Bob Marley Tribute Concert | May 12th | 6pm-10pm | Tickets at: https://www.heyday.com/event-details/bob-marley-sublime-tribute-show  

Callaway Vineyard & Winery 
Mother’s Day Brunch at Meritage | May 14th | A LA Carte Menu.  

Under The Callaway Sun | May 20th | 6:30pm to 9:00 pm | Italian Themed Date Night | Wine paired, three course dinner. Chef presentation | Tickets: Gen Pub: $125 per person, Wine Club $112.50 | Tickets purchased at callawaywinery.com  

Cougar Vinyard & Winery 
Mother’s Day Brunch | May 14th | Seatings at 11am., 12:30pm and 2pm.| Click here for more info

Yappy Hour | May 21st | 2:00pm – 5pm| On-site adoptions, raffles, Dog Deli (and people) menu, vendors. 

Churon Inn & Winery 
Succulent Birdhouse Class | May 11th | 4-6pm | Create your own succulent arrangement on a birdhouse that can also be used as a real birdfeeder | Tickets $50 member, $55 non-member and include 1 glass of wine each | For reservations and more information: https://shop.innatchuronwinery.com/res-436831/Succulent-Workshop.html.   

Mothers Day Champagne Breakfast & Craft Fair |  May 14th | Breakfast 8am-12pm | Craft Fair 12-5pm | Tickets $22 adults, $22 kids and includes a complete breakfast and 1 Mimosa | Each additional Mimosa is only $5 | For reservations and more information:  https://shop.innatchuronwinery.com/res-436832/Mothers-Day-Champagne-Breakfast.html.  

Danza del Sol Winery 
Cinco de Mayo | May 5th | 12:00pm – 5:00pm. | Wine & Tacos with RNG Tacos | Sauvignon Blanc Day Celebration, bottle specials.   

Run For The Rose | May 6th | 1:00pm-4:30pm.| Shop + Eat + Taste: Sample Rosés | Local Vendor Shops, Derby Hat Competitions, Raffles, Food Truck, Special Guests, live viewing of the Kentucky Derby. Complimentary Admission!  

Mother’s Day | May 14th | 11:00 am – 2:00pm.| Complimentary Mimosas for Mom & Food Truck

Doffo Winery 
MotoGP Viewing (Grand Prix of France) | May 14th | 9:00am – 11:00am | Watch MotoGP races on the big screen at Doffo Winery | Breakfast burritos for purchase, coffee cart sponsored by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys | Free admission; RSVP preferred.| For more information: https://www.exploretock.com/doffowinery/event/267318/motogp-viewing 

Moms + Mimosas | May 14th | 1:00pm – 4:00pm | Join us on our Vineyard Piaza for a charcuterie grazing table, mimosa and sangria bar, and coffee cart. | Live DJ and photobooth | Tickets include choice of 2 mimosas or sangria and charcuterie grazing table | 21+ only | Tickets on sale April 17 

Europa Village 
Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea Party | May 13th | 12 pm – 3 pm | Location: C’est la Vie | Delight in delicious baked goods, tea sandwiches, sweet treats, bubbly, and live music. | $85 per person | $76.50 for Members For tickets: https://shop.europavillage.com/product/Mother-s-Day-Afternoon-Tea-Party-2023  

Mother’s Day Brunch | May 14th | 10:00am – 3:00pm | Location: Bolero Restaurante | Treat mom to an unforgettable Mother’s Day Brunch at Bolero Restaurante featuring a create your own crepes station, chilled seafood bar, carving station, and classic Spanish cuisine | $89 adult | $39 child Members: $80.10 adult | $35.10 child | For reservations, please call us at 951.414.3802. 

Falkner Winery 
Mother’s Day Brunch | May 14th |10am-3pm | For details and availability: https://falknerwinery.com/events/.    

Wine Appreciation Class | May 20th | 10am-12:30pm | $75 per person | For details and availability: https://falknerwinery.com/events/

Frangipani Estate Winery 
Lumpia Day | May 11th | 1-6pm | Featuring Urbn Market Fusion  

Tasty Crepes featuring Daniels Creperie | May 13 | 11:30-5pm | Live Music with Billy Fedak 2-5pm  

Mother’s Day Brunch | | May 14th | 11:00am – 2:00pm | Catered by Vineyard Gourmet Catering | For details visit Frangipanievents.com or call winery at 951-699-8845 

Karaoke Night | May 19 | 5:30-9pm | Hosted by Lillian Thomas of Sing It Like You Mean It | Daniels Creperie serving tasty crepes from 3:30-9pm  

Friday Fusion Food | May 26th | 12-6pm | Featuring Tisoy Curryatives  and live music with Toasted Oak from 3-6pm   

Food vendor Seafood Shack | May 27th | 12-5pm | Live Music with Billy Fedak 2-5pm  

Jimmy & TiffanyTacos | May 28th | 1-6pm | Live Music with John Lowery 2-5pm 

Leoness Cellars 
Mother’s Day | May 14th | Select from three different menus in three different areas of the property to celebrate! | Please call (951) 302-7601 to purchase tickets & make a reservation. 
Masia de la Vinya Winery 
May Wine Social | May 5th | 1:00pm-7:30 pm | Lawn Games & Family Friendly | Mac Food Truck 2:00pm – 7:30pm 

Mother’s Day at Masia | May 14th | 11:00am – 5:00pm | Complimentary sparkling wine for mom (1 per person) | $5 mimosas all day | Live music | URBN Market Truck 12:00pm – 4:00pm 

Maurice Car’rie Ultimate Vineyards 
Mother’s Day | May 14th | Reservation packages available at https://ultimatevineyards.orderport.net/wines/Featured.  

Salsa Night | May 19th | 6-9pm| Tickets $30 / $20 members and include admission, 2 glasses of wine |  Latin beats by DJ Chris Static, salsa dancing, and raffles | Food available for purchase by Los Matadores Tacos and Catering | Tickets available at: https://ultimatevineyards.com/events/.   

Military Appreciation Days | May 25th -31st | $10 tastings for active and retired military, must show proof of service, limit of one discount per day  

Miramonte Winery 
What the Succulent | May 10th |4:30-7:00pm | Pre Mother’s Day-Succulent Workshop | $80 / $70 members | For tickets and more information: https://www.miramontewinery.com/collections/events/products/pick-a-pot-succulent-workshop 

Monte de Oro Winery 
Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet | May 14th | For more information visit: www.montedeoro.com  

Wine Bingo on the Patio | May 19th | Doors open 6:00pm, first Bingo number called at 7:00pm | Come play Bingo on Monte De Oro’s outdoor patio | 6 bingo games including the “Full Monte” for a case of wine, over $1200 in wine prizes | For more information visit: www.montedeoro.com.  

Breakfast with the Balloons | May 19th & 20th | Doors open at 6:00am with breakfast served at 7:00am | Come and enjoy the annual Temecula Valley Balloon Festival seeing the Hot Air Balloons flying over Wine Country | Breakfast buffet on the outdoor patio. 

Mount Palomar 
Santana Tribute | May 5th | 5pm-10pm | Frank Lopez Group presents, tribute to Santana benefit show | Live DJ before the show, food, wine, and more! | General Admission-$35 | To purchase tickets visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cinco-de-mayo-flg-a-tribute-to-santana-benefit-show-at-mount-palomar-winery-tickets-602867501927

The Killer Dueling Pianos | May 11th | Live entertainment, dancing, music and more! | $30 General Admission, $27 Members | To purchase tickets visit: https://store.mountpalomarwinery.com/?remoteOrderID=A711CC0A-D983-012F-1A1D-54E35FA6E855

Mother’s Day Bubble Brunch | May 14th | Two seatings 10:30am & 1pm | Adults $115/$103.50 Members, Child $50/$45 Members | Traditional American brunch buffet, live music, mimosa boards, and more! | To purchase tickets visit: https://store.mountpalomarwinery.com/?remoteOrderID=A711CC0A-D983-012F-1A1D-54E35FA6E855.   

Peltzer Family Cellars 
Mother’s Day Brunch | May 14th | 10:00am – 3:00pm | All ages | With a crisp DOCG Prosecco mimosa in hand, relax on the Farmstead to pianist, Brian Stodart | Photo booth | Seats are first come and family style Buffet brunch will feature a carving station, omelet station, breakfast favorites, mini sandwiches, fresh salads, mini pastries, and more | For more details and tickets visit https://peltzerwinery.orderport.net/wines/product-search 

Trivia Night: Disney | May, 18th | 6-9pm | Open event | 21+ only 

Raul Ramirez Winery 
Mother’s Day Brunch | May 14th | 12:30pm- 4:00 pm | | 21 + | Surprise Mom with the gift of a good, brunch! | A Glass of wine and Entertainment by Rene Ramirez |$48.00 pp plus tax & gratuity | Space is limited. For event info: www.raulramirezwinery.com 

Thornton Winery 
Fan Halen – Tribute to Van Halen | May 5th | 6:30pm – 9:00pm | $35 General Admission, $45 Premium Table Seating | 
Event Info: https://www.thorntonwine.com/friday-shows/fan-halen-may-5/ | Buy Tickets: https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/thorntonwinery/4672/event/1317121 

SantanaWays – Ultimate Santana Tribute Band | May 26th | 6:30pm – 9:00pm | $35 General Admission, $45 Premium Table Seating | Event Info:https://www.thorntonwine.com/friday-shows/santanaways-may-26/ | Buy Tickets:https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/thorntonwinery/4672/event/1317122  

Vitigliano Vineyards & Winery 
Mother’s Day Brunch | May 14th | 11:00am – 3:00pm | Brunch and Live Music | Adults $85 / $75 members, Children $35 / $25 members | For tickets please email: info@lakeoakmeadows.com 
Wilson Creek Winery 
Can I be Frank? Sinata Tribute | May 3rd – 2:30pm | Relax and enjoy a complimentary Frank Sinatra Tribute in beautiful Temecula Valley Wine Country! Performance is located on the Solera Patio. 

Farm to Table Intimate Dinner | May 10th | 5:00pm | Join us for intimate Farm to Table dinner under the vineyard view vines with a menu prepared by Executive Chef Steve Stawiniski. 

Mother’s Day Buffet Brunch | May 14th | Seatings at 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30 | Join us for a Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet in our Champagne Ballroom | Mother’s Day brunch includes buffet, live music and unlimited sparkling wines. 

Craig Morgan Live in Concert | May 25th | 7:00pm | Wilson Creek continues their 2023 Country Music Concert Series with the return of Craig Morgan | Reservations at WilsonCreekWinery.com 


Wine Country Dining: A Kaleidoscope of Flavors, Textures, and Perfect Pairings

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

While the rolling hills, gorgeous vistas, welcoming tasting rooms and, of course, phenomenal wines are great reasons to visit Temecula Valley, we particularly love the fact that there is a whole range of great restaurants pretty much among the vines in Wine Country. What’s better than settling in at a table overlooking lovingly tended vines while sipping local wines paired with exciting Wine Country cuisine?

From laid-back casual fare to grab-and-go-snacks to elevated dining experiences, Temecula Valley has something for everyone when it comes to winery restaurants and food options. You’ll never have to go hungry – extra important if you’re out sipping wine all day. We’ve asked a few of our favorite Wine Country restaurants about their signature dishes and what they love to pair with them. Bring your napkins because these selections are drool-worthy!

Baba Joon’s Kitchen at Fazeli Cellars

It’s tough to miss this majestic property as it rises up over De Portola Road, inviting visitors in with its impressive dual staircase that wraps around the front entrance. But Fazeli Cellars isn’t just home to delicious wines made from a range of classic and unusual grape varieties. It’s also where you’ll find Baba Joon’s Kitchen, a unique Mediterranean-Persion fusion menu in a welcoming bistro environment with casual seating on the patio. 

Must-try dish: “Our walnut panar is absolutely savory!” says tasting room manager Stacey Leonard. Created by owner and proprietor BJ Fazeli, this recipe is a delicious spread of cream cheese, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, molasses, and a plethora of herbs and spices served with warm pita or crispy crostini.

Pair it with: Fazeli Cellars Norooz, an aromatic blend of Muscat and Viognier, which provides a nice partner to the complex flavors of the Panar.

Mama Rosa’s Trattoria at Robert Renzoni Vineyards

The sounds of Dean Martin’s smooth crooning wafts over the vineyards as you approach this winery that could very well double as an Italian villa, known for – you guessed it – Italian grapes produced in a California style, happening patio scene, on-site bocce ball court and, of course, Mama Rosa’s Trattoria. A truly authentic Italian trattoria, Mama Rosa’s serves Italian comfort food, including mouthwatering brick oven pizzas, amongst the mountains of the De Portola Wine Trail, using only the freshest local and imported ingredients.

Must-try dish: Truffleheads will not want to miss the legendary R & R Pizza, featuring homemade truffle cream sauce, mozzarella, artichoke parmigiano sausage, and portobello mushrooms, topped with asiago, fresh rosemary, and truffle salt.

Pair it with: Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2022 Barile Chardonnay. The buttery notes of the Chardonnay play well against the earthy truffle and mushroom flavors. 

Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery

One of Temecula Valley’s longest-standing and most beloved mainstays, Baily is a family-owned winery known for their dedication to crafting quality wines. Named after owner/winemaker Phil Baily’s wife, Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery offers casual dining in the distinctive (and air-conditioned!) Bacchus Hall or on the charming covered patio alongside the estate Cabernet vines.

Must-try dish: Go for the Duet of Raviolis, a savory combination of Florentine and mushroom ravioli topped with a light tomato and Montage wine sauce and garnished with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.

Pair it with: Baily Winery 2020 Montage, a zesty blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, reminiscent of the great white wines of Bordeaux.

The Restaurant at Avensole Winery

Avensole Winery is a chic, upscale boutique winery with hilltop views and pristine gardens. Relax and enjoy award-winning wines in both indoor and outdoor lounges as well as mouthwatering classic French-inspired cuisine with locally sourced produce in an al fresco garden restaurant, or plan the ultimate winery wedding.

Must-try dish: Dig into Avensole’s one of a kind A5 Japanese Wagyu New York Strip Steak, seasoned with salt and a five-peppercorn mixture and seared rare. Served table side by the Chef, who will dress the steak in a ginger and ponzu mignonette whose subtle hints of salt, acidity, and freshness complement the Wagyu perfectly.

Pair it with: Avensole 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine’s tannins are softened by the Wagyu’s rich, buttery texture, allowing the Cabernet’s fruit and oak flavors to shine through. The ginger and ponzu mignonette adds a bright, tangy note that complements the wine’s acidity and highlights the dark chocolate and espresso notes in this Cabernet.

The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars

If you’re not visiting Leoness Cellars for their robust lineup of top-scoring and award-winning wines, stop in for elegant, upscale Wine Country dining. Voted Best Winery Restaurant by USA Today, The Restaurant at Leoness offers a classical style kitchen using the highest quality ingredients from local farming partners. Take in fantastic views, unparalleled food, and world class hospitality. The Restaurant features a variety of appetizers, vibrant salads, and exceptional Chef’s Selections all prepared in an open kitchen.

Must-try dish: Indulge in the decadent 24-hr Braised Lumina Lamb Shank, seasoned with fine herbs and a smoky Vadouvan crust, served on a bed of roasted heirloom golden beets, candied cippolini onions, and summer squash puree.

Pair it with: Leoness Cellars 2019 Cellar Selection Cabernet Franc-Merlot blend is a worthy companion to this rich, flavorful dish, easily matching its earthy flavors with an equally complex palate and silky finish.


Ask The Experts

Tuesday, April 4th, 2023

Temecula Valley Wine Pros Weigh in on Some of Your Common Wine Questions

Every April, the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association hosts its annual “Grape Day.” The one-day conference is for winemakers, winery, and vineyard owners, and those with an interest in the wine industry to learn about the latest tools and developments in enology and viticulture. While some of the topics may be a bit advanced for the everyday wine lover who may just have a few questions about what’s in their glass, the event always sparks a spirit of curiosity among our winery staff and the visitors to our tasting rooms.

The beautiful thing about wine is that you can never truly know everything there is to know, as not only is the business always changing, but so is what’s in our glass from vintage to vintage, grape to grape. But we do tend to see some of the same questions come up from time to time. Luckily, we have no shortage of experts in Temecula Valley who are eager to help wine lovers understand some of the tricky or confusing aspects of this beguiling beverage. We’ve rounded up a few of the most common queries and asked some of our talented Wine Country personalities to weigh in.

Q. Is all of this rain helping or hurting the vines right now?

A. We get asked all the time if all of this rain is good for the vines. The short answer is YES!  The long answer is our soil has a high salt content due to our water supply. These soaking rains really help leach the salts out of the ground. Sometimes, when the water is really flowing, we get exposed roots. This just shows how amazingly deep they grow to find water. Even when this happens the vines are resilient and just need to be re-buried.

Rick Buffington, winemaker, Cougar Vineyard and Winery

Q. Why can’t I call bubbly from California “Champagne”?

A. Champagne is a specific type of sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of France. By law, only sparkling wines made in Champagne using certain methods can be called Champagne. While sparkling wines made in California may be made using similar methods, they cannot be called Champagne because they do not come from that region. Instead, California sparkling wines are labeled as “sparkling wine” or “California sparkling wine” to indicate their origin. Sometimes you will see terms like “Méthode Champenoise,” on the bottle, indicating that the sparkling wine was made using the same technique to produce bubbles as in Champagne – namely with the secondary fermentation (the one that makes the bubbles) taking place in the bottle. While they may not have the name recognition of Champagne, there are many delicious and high-quality sparkling wines made in California that are worth exploring.

– Gus Vizgirda, winemaker, Wilson Creek Winery

Q. I just saw a wine labeled “vegan” – isn’t all wine vegan?

A. We have been asked here at Palumbo Winery if our wines are vegan or vegetarian-friendly, and the answer is yes, but a more in-depth conversation is necessary to find out what the consumer is really concerned with. The process in question comes down to how a wine is fined or clarified. While there are many ways to get the job done, some products commonly used are derived from animals. Gelatin (pigs), isinglass (fish), albumin (egg white), and casein (cow’s milk) are all commonly used products to help fine and clarify wine. The reason it’s important to have a deeper conversation is that while all of these “ingredients” can be used in producing a fine wine, they are filtered out prior to bottling. In fact, several studies have been conducted and there is no evidence that drinking wine that used these agents creates any physical reaction in people. In short, they are used but not present in the final product.

Other methods, including carbon, clays, or the very pronounceable fining agent polyvinylpolypyrrolidone (PVPP) are often used as alternatives to animal byproducts and are considered “vegan friendly.” Another way to get that wonderful clarity in fine wines is to just be patient, as we are here at our winery. Time in barrel and repeated “rackings” help clarify the wine as all the proteins, yeast and other organic particles settle out.

All this brings us to the question, are you concerned with what you are consuming or what the ethical implications are for you as a consumer. As you can see, asking if the wines are Vegan friendly can be an important one to ask, but knowing why it matters to you and knowing the different fining agents used by a given winery is what really lets you know what is, or more correctly is NOT, “in your glass”.

– Nick Palumbo, owner & winemaker, Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery

Q. I opened a bottle of red wine and only drank part of it. What’s the best way to store the rest?

A. The best way to keep your wine from spoiling is to DRINK IT ALL; but, if you can’t, try keeping oxygen away from the wine. One way of doing this is to move the wine to a smaller container with less headspace (or if you are keeping it in the same bottle store the bottle upright) to minimize the amount of oxygen contact with the wine. Also, you can add argon gas into the headspace replacing the oxygen in the bottle.

– Christina Falik, owner, Gershon Bachus Vintners

Q. Do I really need to drink white wine with fish?

A. Pairing only white wine with fish and only red wine with red meat leaves us with a narrow assumption – that all white wines and all red wines have the same characteristics. It also assumes that all red meat dishes and fish dishes are equal in consistency and preparation. Let’s give our winemakers, centuries of viticultural studies, and culinary advancements more credit than that, friends!

While an oaked Chardonnay and buttery lobster are a match made in heaven, there are other options. The complexity of not only white wine grapes themselves, but the array of winemaking styles and choices, leave us with ample options for pairing wine and food. Focus more on the body and flavor profile of the wine and match it with cooking preferences and the seasoning of the dish to create a more balanced meal. 

Let’s highlight some of the lighter-to-medium-bodied red varieties that grow beautifully in Temecula Valley, like Sangiovese, Barbera, and Tempranillo. Just like Sangiovese is amazing with tomato-based pasta dishes, it can also be beautiful with braised octopus in a slow roasted tomato sauce. The fruity notes in a lighter-bodied Barbera would be ideal for paprika-soaked salmon. Try Tempranillo with a Cajun-style shrimp boil.

Don’t shy away from “unusual” pairings. One of our favorites is a fruit-forward, jammy Zinfandel paired with fruit preserves and a nutty spread atop toasted crostini (yes, a PB&J).

  • Danaé Wegner, WSET Level 2, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Peltzer Family Cellars

April Winery Events

Tuesday, April 4th, 2023

Akash Winery & Vineyards 
Laughs by the Glass Comedy Show | April 7th | Doors at 6:15, Show at 7pm. | Wood-fired pizza available before the show, wine and beer during the show |  G/A tickets here.  

Easter Yoga in the Vines | April 9th | 9am | Free for Yoga + Wine Club members, $20 for non-members |  Reserve your mat space here.  

Pizzaolo Experience with Bocconcini | April 11th | 5:30 pm. | Limited to 20 guests. Book your seat here.  

Avensole Winery 

Easter Brunch | April 9th | 10:00am-5:00 pm| Easter Brunch Menu https://www.avensolewinery.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Easter-Menu-2023.pdf | For reservations. https://www.avensolewinery.com/restaurant/  

Callaway Vineyard & Winery 

Easter Brunch at Meritage | A La Carte Menu.  

Callaway Country Night | April 27th | 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm. | Line Dancing Lessons by Sabrina at 7:00pm.| Music by James Kelly Band | Tickets: Gen Pub $25. Wine Club $15. | Purchase tickets at callawaywinery.com  

Cougar Vinyard & Winery 

Easter Brunch | April 9th |  Seatings at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm| For tickets and more information Click here for tickets and more info 
Yappy Hour | April 16th  | 2:00pm – 5:00pm | On-site adoptions, raffles, Dog Deli (and people) menu | Located on the patio  

Danza del Sol Winery 

Wine Release Pre-Release & Concert | April 29th | 6:00pm – 9:00pm | Sample a new wine release, live concert and grand debut of Lex Borja’s & Band, Food Truck 

Doffo Winery 

MotoGP Viewing (Grand Prix of the Americas) | April 16th | 9:00am – 11:00am | Watch MotoGP races on the big screen | Breakfast burritos for purchase; coffee cart sponsored by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys | Free admission; RSVP preferred. https://www.exploretock.com/doffowinery/event/267318/motogp-viewing 

Winter Winemaker Dinner | April 22nd | 6:00pm – 9:00pm | Join winemakers Damian and Nadia for an intimate spring farm-to-table wine pairing dinner, featuring 4 courses paired perfectly with a signature Doffo wine | Seating is limited | 

MotoGP Viewing (Grand Prix of Spain) | April 30th |  9:00am – 11:00am | Watch MotoGP races on the big screen | Breakfast burritos for purchase; coffee cart sponsored by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys | Free admission; RSVP preferred. https://www.exploretock.com/doffowinery/event/267318/motogp-viewing 

Europa Village 

Inspirational Sunrise Service | April 9th | 6:00 am | Join Europa Village and Pastor Charles for an inspirational sunrise service | Afterwards, Europa will have a selections of pastries, coffee and hot chocolate available for purchase or you can make a reservation for our Easter Sunday Brunch by calling 951.414.3802. 

Easter Brunch | April 9th | 10:00am – 3:00pm | Join us at Bolero Restaurante for a delightful Easter brunch with traditional holiday cuisine and classic Spanish fare | $79 adult | $39 child | Members: $71.10 adult | $35.10 child 

Fazeli Cellars 

Salsa Night | April 15th | 6pm | Salsa lesson, dancing, DJ, full bar, food truck | General Admission $25 / $20 members | To purchase tickets click here 

Dueling Pianos | April 29th | 6pm | Details and tickets to come 

Frangipani Estate Winery 

Sip & Dine Fillipino Pop-Up |  April 1st | 12:00pm – 5:00pm | For tickets visit: https://www.frangipanievents.com/upcomingevents.  

Easter Event | April 8th | 12:00pm – 5:00pm | Fun Activities for the Kids, Pictures with Easter Bunny, Bottomless Mimosas, Daniel’s Creperie serving crepes | Live Music with Billy Fedak 1-4pm | $30 General – $20 Wine Club Members | For tickets visit: https://www.frangipanievents.com/upcomingevents.  

80’s Prom Night with DJ | April 22nd | 5:30 – 9:00pm | Pizza, Dancing, Photo Op & More | $35 General – $25 Wine Club Members | RSVP by April 15 to 951-699-8845 or purchase tickets at: https://www.frangipanievents.com/upcomingevents

Friday Fusion Cuisine | April 28th |  12:00pm – 6:00pm | Tisoy Curatives will be serving Fillipino food   

DePortola Wine Trail Big Red Fest | April 30th | 10:00am – 5:00 pm | Purchase tickets at: deportolawinetrail.com 

Longshadow Ranch Winery 
Contenders Tribute Concert | April 14th | For tickets and more info: https://www.longshadowranchwinery.com 

Masia de la Vinya Winery 

Easter Egg Hunt & Family Day | April 9th | 11:00am – 2:00pm. | Egg hunt for adults & kids, drink specials, kiddie mocktails, Brew Boyz Tacos from 11am-4pm  

Masia’s 8th Anniversary Brunch | April 23rd | 10:30am – 12:30pm | Brunch paired with featured wines, live music, and wine specials | Tickets available soon, visit: https://www.danzadelsolwinery.com/

Karoke Night | April 28th | 5:00pm – 9:00pm | Sing It Like You Mean It with Lillian Harris | Cali Porker Food Truck 4:00pm – 8:00pm 

Maurice Car’rie Winery / Ultimate Vineyards 

Country Western Night | April 21st | 5:00 – 8:00pm| Live music in The Barn, 2 glasses of wine, and entry into raffles; food will be available for purchase | Tickets $20/$10 Wine Club  

Monte de Oro Winery 

Spring Winemakers Dinner | April 15th | Featuring a 4 course dinner showcasing the beautiful bounty of Italy and California along with Monte De Oro’s Library Wines | Details and pricing: www.montedeoro.com.  

Patio Block Party | April 21st | 6:00 – 9:00pm | Live Music, food, and wine. Details” www.montedeoro.com.  

Wine Bingo | Friday April 28th | Door open at 6:00pm, first Bingo called at 7:00pm | Play 6 bingo games including the “Full Monte” for a case of wine, over $1200 in wine prizes | For more details visit:  www.montedeoro.com 

Mount Palomar 

Eggstravaganza | April 9th | Brunch, Egg hunt, petting zoo, live music, local vendors & more! Reservations available, walk-ins welcomed. 

Oak Mountain Winery 

Easter Brunch | April 9th | Special Easter Menu served all day long | For reservations visit: https://www.exploretock.com/oakmountainwinery/.  

Cause Fur Paws | April 16th | 2:00pm – 6:00pm | Live music, vendors and auction in the Vista Pavilion | $20 donation. | For more details: https://shop.oakmountainwinery.com/event-tickets-c11.aspx 

Peltzer Family Cellars 

Peltzer Family Funday | April 2nd | 9:30am – 7:00pm | All ages | Easter Egg Hunt and Shaved Ice | Make sure to get them here during their designated hunt time| Bring Your Own Basket | $6 per kiddo | For more details and tickets visit https://peltzerwinery.orderport.net/wines/product-search  

Hog The Mic Night | April 20th | 6:00pm – 9:00pm | 21+ Only | Sing it loud and sing it proud, y’all! Join us for a night of traditional rockin’ karaoke in the Crush House with Lillian Thomas Karaoke | Open event 
Nashville Nights | April 22nd | 7:30-10:00pm | 21+ Only | Tickets must be purchased online and are limited | For more details and tickets visit https://peltzerwinery.orderport.net/wines/product-search.  

Thornton Winery 

Easter Buffet | April 9th | 11:00am – 5:00pm | Live Music by Tim Apple and a glass of sparkling wine | $120 Adults, $70 Children (10 & Under) $108 Wine Club, $102 Reserve Club, Plus Tax & Gratuity | Event Info: https://www.thorntonwine.com/holiday-events/easter-buffet/ | For Reservation: https://bit.ly/3EEB5wL or call 951-699-0099  
B.I.G. Brothers Igniting a Groove | April 14th | 6:30pm – 9:00pm | $35 General Admission, $45 Premium Table Seating | 
Event Info: https://www.thorntonwine.com/friday-shows/big-april-14/. | Buy Tickets:https://www.tix.com/ticket-sales/thorntonwinery/4672/event/1317032 
The JourneymenA Tribute to Journey & More |  April 28th | 6:30pm – 9:00pm | $35 General Admission, $45 Premium Table Seating | Event Info: https://www.thorntonwine.com/friday-shows/the-journeymen-april-28/ | Buy Tickets: 

Wilson Creek Winery 
Easter Buffet Brunch | April 9th | Seatings at 11:00am, 11:30am, 12:00pm, 12:30pm | Join us for a Easter Brunch Buffet in our Champagne Ballroom | Easter brunch includes buffet, live music and unlimited sparkling wines. 


Chicken and Waffles with Spicy Honey Sauce

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

Who doesn’t love this classic American dish? It’s salty, sweet, crunchy, and savory, and you can enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We’ve added an extra kick to ours with some delicious cheddar cheese and sundried tomatoes in the waffles and a spicy sweet honey sauce to top it all off. We recommend enjoying this recipe with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay.


For the Waffles:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese (medium or old)
  • 1 tbsp minced sundried tomatoes

For the Chicken:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the Brine:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp cracked pepper

For the Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt and black pepper mix

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp chili flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice (save some zest before juicing for a beautiful garnish!)

4 Servings

  • If you have the time, start the night before you want to make this dish by combining all the brine ingredients in a bowl and adding the chicken.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Otherwise, even an hour of sitting in the mixture will impart awesome flavor!
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
  • Start by taking all the dry waffle ingredients and mixing together in a large bowl, making sure there are no lumps.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the bowl and mix until fully incorporated.
  • Preheat your waffle iron and oil it lightly to prevent sticking.
  • Pour the batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden brown (around 4-6 minutes, depending on your device).
  • Place cooked waffles on a baking sheet and into the oven to keep warm, but don’t stack them yet.
  • Once your waffles are ready, preheat your oil or air fryer to 375 degrees F. Combine all the batter ingredients in a bowl.
  • Place the pieces of your brined chicken in this mixture, first allowing it to drip off the excess brine.
  • Pat on both sides until covered. Shake to remove excess.
  • If you are cooking using oil, carefully place chicken into the preheated pot using long tongs. If using an air fryer, arrange the pieces of chicken so they do not overcrowd.
  • Fry each side until golden brown (about 4-6 minutes a side) and the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F.
  • Our favorite way to enjoy this dish is by layering the waffles, followed by the chicken, and drizzling the sweet and spicy honey syrup over all of it.
  • Notes: if you don’t have a waffle iron, cook the waffle batter in a pan and make pancakes.

Suggested Wines:

Vitagliano ~ NV Chardonnay – This wine offers full-fruit-forward flavors, round in the mouth with a hint of pear, lemon peel, and apple (crisp).

Ponte Winery ~ 2021 Chardonnay – This wine has notes of luscious ripe peach mid-palate, citrus entry, and a beautiful pineapple finish.

Europa Village ~ 2020 Late Harvest Chardonnay – This wine delivers intense grapefruit essence, candied white peach, and sweet marmalade.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


Pork Tacos with Garlic Grilled Tortillas and Avocado Cream

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Pork tacos paired with a glass of wine

These lightly grilled tortillas are topped with spicy, smoky seasoned pork and creamy avocado. Pair with your favorite Temecula Viognier.


Avocado Cream:

1 large avocado, halved and pitted
3 tablespoons (45ml) sour cream
2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (15ml) chopped green onion, white parts only
1 tablespoon (15ml) chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon (15ml) minced serrano (chile) pepper
½ teaspoon (2.50ml) sea salt

Pork and tortillas:

3 tablespoons (45ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons (10ml) chili powder
2 teaspoons (10ml) ground cumin
2 teaspoons (10ml) dried oregano, crushed
2 teaspoons (10ml) minced garlic
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) sea salt
3 boneless pork loin chops (about 1¼ pounds/565g), 1 inch (2.5cm) thick, each cut horizontally into 3 very thin even pieces
3 tablespoons (45ml) vegetable oil
3 tablespoons (45ml) minced garlic
8 (7-inch/18cm) corn tortillas
3 cups (180g) thinly sliced red cabbage

Serves 4

To make the avocado cream, Scoop the avocado flesh into a food processor with the sour cream, lime juice, onion, cilantro and serrano pepper, and salt. Process until smooth. Set aside.

To prepare the pork, whisk the olive oil, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the pork slices and turn them to coat all sides. Set aside.

Add the vegetable oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Add the 3 tablespoons (45ml) garlic and stir just until the garlic starts to sizzle. Remove from heat, leave in the skillet and set aside (for the tortillas).

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Grill the pork slices for 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Stack the pork in a bowl and cover it to keep it warm.

To warm the tortillas, brush one side of each tortilla with garlic oil. Grill oil-side down for 1 minute or until warmed through. Stack tortillas on a plate, oil-side up.

Cut the pork into strips ¼-inch (.65cm) wide.

To serve, top each tortilla with pork strips, avocado cream, and shredded cabbage.

Suggested Wines:

Wilson Creek ~ 2021 Viognier – This wine offers full-fruit forward flavors, round in the mouth with a hint of tangerine in the finish.

Chapin Family Vineyards ~ 2021 Viognier -This wine offers aromas of fresh honeysuckle, citrus flower, apple and banana.

Callaway Winery ~ 2021 Viognier– This wine offers notes of tropical papaya, pineapple and lemongrass with soft whispers of honeysuckle. Silky peach and nectarine combine with vanilla to close out the crisp finish

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


March Winery Events

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Friends in the vineyard

Akash Winery & Vineyards
Paint & Sip in the Vines | Tuesday, March 7th | 5:00pm | Our private vineyard patio becomes your personal muse with a little help from Pretty Paints.

Movie Night on the Patio -Talledega Nights | March 10th | Estimated start time of 6:30 pm. | Wood-fired pizza, wine and beer, sweet stuff, and popcorn are available during the show. Entry is free!

Avensole Winery
Monroe & Co. Permanent Jewelry Pop-up Event | March 18th | 1:00pm – 4:00pm | For more information on music and events, visit: https://www.avensolewinery.com/music-and-events/

Cougar Vinyard & Winery 
St, Patrick’s Day at Cougar | March 17th | 11:00am – 6:00pm | Enjoy Green Beer or Green White Wine all day.  

Yappy Hour | March 19th | 2:00pm – 5:00pm | On-site adoptions, raffles, Dog Deli (and people) menu | Located on the patio  

Doffo Winery 
Damian’s Birthday Celebration | March 11th | 6:00pm-10:00pm | Help us celebrate winemaker and CEO Damian Doffo’s birthday at this Mediterranean-themed 4-course wine pairing dinner, featuring traditional belly dancers | For tickets visit: https://shop.doffowines.com/damians-birthday-celebration-2023-p592.aspx” 

Comedy in the Vines | March 25th | 6:30pm – 9:00pm | Enjoy a stand-up comedy show featuring comics Blake Bartee and Jeff Leach, hosted by Mike Vinn. | Tickets include one glass of wine and food, additional beverages for purchase | For tickets visit: https://shop.doffowines.com/comedy-in-the-vines-p598.aspx 

MotoGP Viewing (Grand Prix of Portugal) | March 26th | 9:00am – 11:00am | Watch MotoGP races on the big screen | Breakfast burritos for purchase | Free admission; RSVP preferred: https://www.exploretock.com/doffowinery/event/267318/motogp-viewing 

Europa Village 
Carnaval (Wine Club Member Event) | March 10th | 6:00 pm | Say goodbye to winter with our newly reimagined wine club event, Carnaval! This year, we’re transporting you to the streets of France with an immersive and interactive Venetian-style evening in the heart of C’est la Vie | Members $25 pp (Maximum of 2 tickets) | Additional Guests $50 pp 

Girls’ Day Out | March 26th | 12:00pm – 3:00pm | Enjoy a fun-filled day of food, wine, shopping, music, and a little self-care | located at C’est la Vie | Shop a variety of local vendors | Adults: $50 | Members: $45 (Ticket includes wine and food pairings) 

Fazeli Cellars 
Salsa Night | March 11th | 6:00 pm doors open (for those who pre-purchased tickets – tickets sold at door at 7pm) | 7:15pm beginner salsa and bachata class | 8:15pm dance, dance dance! | General admission $25 per person / $20 members (tickets sold at the door $35 per person) |  Tickets include a glass of sangria | food truck available for purchase |  For tickets visit:  https://shop.fazelicellars.com/res-393616/Salsa-Night-31123.html

Peltzer Family Cellars 
The Peltzer Trading Post | March 5th | 11:00am -5:00pm | Open event – all ages | Local vendors to shop from, delicious wine, DJ, kids activities, local food trucks and more! 

The Killer Dueling Pianos | March 9th | 6:00pm – 9:30pm | 21+ Only | Join us at the Crush House for an interactive dueling piano performance by The Killer Dueling Pianos | Tickets are $55 each. Seating is first come, first serve and is family style | For more details and tickets visit: peltzerwinery.com.  

Shamrocks Pre-Party | March 17th | 11:00am -10:00pm | 21+ Only | | Open event | $6 Green Beer and St. Paddy’s Punch Sangria! 

Peltzer Leprechaun Dash | March 18th | 10:00am -1:00pm | 21+ only | Join us for our 2nd Annual Leprechaun Dash through Peltzer! | Includes free entry to Shamrocks and Shenanigans. For more details and tickets visit peltzerwinery.com. 

Shamrocks and Shenanigans | March 18th | 10:00am – 1:00pm | 21+ Only | Beer pong, yard games, costume contests, and more! | Leprechaun Dashers will have free entry | $10 cover fee for non-racers  

SuperCross Watch Party | March 25th | 6:00pm -10:00pm | All Ages | Come watch the Supercross L I V E with us on the big screen in the Crush House | Ages under 2 are free with a paid adult | For more details and tickets visit peltzerwinery.com

Wilson Creek Winery 
Wilson Creek Late Nights with J-Mann Music | March 31st | 5:00pm – 8:00pm |Enjoy wine, delicious food, and live music | No reservations needed  


Raise a Glass to The Unstoppable Women of Temecula Valley Wine Country

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

Raise a Glass to The Unstoppable Women of Temecula Valley Wine Country

Temecula Valley is home to delicious wines, gorgeous vineyard views, welcoming tasting rooms, and an exciting Wine Country culinary scene. It’s also home to some absolutely inspiring women who, day in and day out, through their work in the vineyards, cellars, tasting rooms, and behind-the-scenes offices, leave their indelible marks on the bottles that grace our tables, and the experiences that go with them.

In celebration of Women’s History Month this March, as well as International Women’s Day on March 8, we want to recognize some of the amazing women in Temecula wine. We encourage you to get to know them, raise a glass to them, and, if you find yourself in Temecula Valley, come meet them in person.

Seabren Graebner

Seabren Graebner, Tasting Room Manager, Peltzer Winery

Having worked at a handful of Temecula wineries for over 13 years, Seabren has had the privilege to see our beautiful valley expand and grow into what it is today. “I been fortunate to have had incredible female role models that have paved the way for me in the industry,  igniting my passion for hospitality and all things Temecula Valley,” she says. “As a mom of 3, I strive to put my family first, while also pouring my heart into managing the Crush House (Tasting Room) at Peltzer Winery. I am thankful for the strong team both at work and at home that makes that possible. I hope to be an example by providing support and encouragement to women currently in or entering the industry.” 

Sonya Ball

Sonya Ball, Director of Finance at Mount Palomar Winery

Sonya’s career over the last 30 years has been in finance, helping small businesses discover and build on their strengths. She’s been directly involved in the wine industry for over 14 years. As a single mom, raising two boys and working full time, she realized her true passion is in working with people, especially women, helping and empowering them to be the best version of themselves. She is also excited to be involved in the development and reorganization of the operations, and ultimately see the Mount Palomar Winery team and business flourish and thrive. “Historically the wine industry has been a male dominated field, but that is slowly changing,” she says. “Now we are seeing women winemakers, winery owners, and more women filling the upper management roles. At MPW I encourage our team to believe in themselves, to not give up. Here they are given an opportunity to show their full potential and achieve success.”

Abby Trybulski

Abby Trybulski, Guest Relations Manager, Peltzer Winery

Abby’s extensive hotel background has led her to a strong career and passion for the hospitality industry. As the Guest Relations Manager at Peltzer Winery, she has an unwavering sense of responsibility to teach and inspire others to make guests feel at home, or to turn a “stranger” into a friend from their first interaction. She believes these relationships can last a lifetime, crediting her experience as well as her motivational and creative leadership style to build to higher sales and a true loyal guest base. “I am blessed to work at Peltzer where there is a culture that supports work-life balance,” she says. “However, by allowing me the support to coach and mentor, we find things to accomplish together. We celebrate our peers and our company’s successes large and small without any jealousy or competition.” 

Taylor Israelsen

Taylor Israelsen, Executive Chef, Avensole Winery

Born in Southern California, Chef Taylor found her passion for food through her health and fitness journey, where studying nutrition allowed her to be creative with fresh ingredients. For the past five years, she has been a Chef at Avensole Winery, combining her classic French training and love for fresh, natural ingredients to create an enticing and creative menu. Taylor finds it essential to cultivate a rewarding work environment for the kitchen staff and allow team growth opportunities. “I champion an environment of inclusivity,” she says. “I always work to support my female colleagues to strive toward bettering themselves, moving up through the ranks, and ensuring that they face no barriers on their way to achieving their goals.”

Avensole is now an entirely women-owned and managed winery in Temecula Valley.

Olivia Bue

Olivia Bue, Winemaker, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

After graduating from UC Davis with a Viticulture and Enology degree, this SoCal native began broadening her experience at several wineries including two family-run operations: Mollydooker in McLaren Vale, South Australia, and Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley. These experiences underscored her desire to work at a high-quality and family-run operation. She ultimately moved to Temecula Valley to be closer to her Southern Californian family, finally landing at Robert Renzoni, where she has been for the past eight years.

“I know many talented woman winemakers with their own personal labels as well as women running wine production facilities, some of whom I went to school with at UC Davis,” she says. “Supporting their product by sending friends to their tasting room as well as stocking my wine fridge with their new releases are ways I show my love and support. I also enjoy exposing and educating our tasting room staff about the winemaking process. This exposure gives them more confidence in the tasting room when they’re conversing with customers, and it also makes them more comfortable asking me questions about winemaking. We all share a similar passion so it’s gratifying when we get to come together!”

Kristina Filippi

Kristina Filippi, Assistant Winemaker, Wilson Creek Winery

A lifelong resident of Southern California, Kristina Filippi grew up in the cradle of California’s wine-growing origins, the Cucamonga Valley. In fact, Kristina’s family has viticultural roots in Southern California related to the San Gabriel Valley that reach back to 1784. While attending college, Kristina was hired to work in the winery tasting room at Joseph Filippi Winery in Rancho Cucamonga. In 2008, she was invited by the Filippi family to learn the winemaking process from the ground up, training with enologist Tish Cooper and consultants Dr. Fred S. Nury, Emeritus Professor of Enology and Food Science at Cal State University Fresno, as well as retired winemaker and vintner Rene Biane.

She moved to Temecula in 2019 with hopes of getting in touch with those roots by learning more about the viticultural side of winemaking.  Prior to joining Wilson Creek, she spent two years working in and managing vineyards in Temecula. “As a mother of two girls, and a woman working in a primarily male-dominated industry, I believe that the best action I can take to support and elevate women on a day-to-day basis is to make sure that I am striving to show up as a genuine and authentic person myself every day,” she says. “For me this means leading with clear, honest and compassionate communication, being open to reciprocal sharing of suggestions and ideas, speaking up when I see a problem, and being open to positive feedback as well as criticism.  My hope is that by living and working in this manner I can help to foster an environment that empowers other women (and men for that matter) to feel comfortable to do the same, while offering encouragement in growing their own knowledge and experience in the wine industry as we all look forward to achieving and celebrating our individual and collective goals.” 

Heidi Baker

Heidi Baker, Visuals and Merchandise Manager, Peltzer Winery

Heidi describes herself as “more of a guy’s girl than a girl’s girl,” and celebrates being surrounded by a variety of colleagues who share the same approach to “ruling the roost.”

“We find ourselves progressively working together as a cohesive herd,” she explains, continuing the farming analogy so fitting at Peltzer. “I bring old school to the plate with a slight chance of wisdom to pass along. They teach me new things, which helps me to grow and to not become stale. The end result may be taken different ways, but we all end up finishing together. As they say, ‘Teamwork makes the Dream work.’”

Nadia Urquidez

Nadia Urquidez, Assistant Winemaker, Doffo Winery

Hailing from a small town near Ensenada, Mexico, Nadia Urquidez earned a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a specialty degree in Oenology and Viticulture and has now worked with Doffo Winery for nearly eight years. Nadia is passionate about chemistry and brings a scientific approach to the Doffo winemaking team and has been instrumental in the creation of many award-winning and highly-rated wines.

“I am surrounded by amazing women,” she says. “I always try to encourage all the positive things they want to do, even if it is a small thought. I feel flattered when they ask me for advice. It doesn’t matter if it is personal or professional, I try to be there for them.”

Gabby Connelly

Gabby Connelly, Director of Weddings and Events, Peltzer Winery

When this New Hampshire native and Navy Veteran isn’t busy planning the perfect day for couples deciding to tie the knot in Wine Country, she loves to spend her time outdoors hiking or snowboarding. “Things I do in my everyday life to support women is help manage a women’s military group, being a pioneering member of a women’s snowboarding and skiing group, planning and leading women’s outdoor excursions for snowboarding/skiing and constantly encouraging the strong women in my life whether they’re my co-workers or friends,” she says “Women are strong and deserve to be encouraged every day to be their best possible selves!”

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