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Posts Tagged ‘Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyard’

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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Move Over Pumpkin Spice; We’ve Got Delicious Fall Wines

Friday, October 1st, 2021

While we realize seasonal transitions in Southern California aren’t always so obvious – sunny and 85 degrees to sunny and 79 degrees, for example – we still don’t like to miss out on the festive changes we associate with the weather getting crisper and the days getting shorter.

Beautiful Fall Vineyard

One of these changes is, of course, reaching for those fantastic in-between wines that mark the Fall season. You know the ones – the rich, nutty Chardonnay instead of the bright and fresh Pinot Grigio; the light-bodied red packed with juicy red fruit instead of the salmon-colored rosé.

It’s not holiday season yet, and we’re still not ready to move into cold weather wines, but pumpkin spice has started creeping into everything, and we find ourselves eyeing those cozy sweaters in the back of the closet. In celebration, we have compiled a guide to some of our favorite wine for transitioning into cooler Fall weather.

BOLD WHITES

Peltzer Family Cellars Chardonnay

Says Pelzer Tasting Room Manager Danae Wager, “The transition from summer to Fall is not always smooth (like we insist our wines to be). As the weather cools off, we love to feature our Chardonnay with any dish that would typically be paired with a lighter bodied red wine to ease the transition in temperature.”

This robust Chardonnay boasts notes of yellow apple, apricot, and lemon meringue pie and is perfect for homemade Fall soups. Think: roasted butternut squash or loaded baked potato soup to warm the palate. 

Fazeli Cellars Oaked Chardonnay

This luscious white is aged on the lees in French and Hungarian oak barrels for eight months. It exudes all that one expects from a classic California Chardonnay, with notes of Fuji apples, pear, pineapple, and prominent warm, toasty oak notes on the finish.

Leoness Cellars Viognier

“Fall in Temecula seems to be staying warmer and warmer!” Says Leoness Cellars Executive Director, Spencer Szczygiel. “Around this time of year, I’ll often reach for a white wine with a little more weight to it – our Leoness Viognier being a favorite.”

He explains that the Viognier’s stone fruit and spice notes pair exceptionally well with heartier fall salads like peppery greens with apple, blue cheese, nuts and grilled chicken – which are great if you want to avoid turning on the oven during the lingering Southern California Fall heat.

 Europa Village Estate Arneis

Showing complex yet light and airy aromas of honey, wild herbs, water chestnut, and pear skin, this golden-colored wine immediately draws the attention of the taster. This is a rich and very full-bodied wine, with flavors of apricot, pear, and a slight nuttiness like honey-dipped cashews, that carry this wine through a long and harmonious finish – just like the slow transition from Summer to Fall in the beautiful Temecula Valley.

HEARTY REDS:

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery Monastrell

This is a lighter red wine with hints of cherry and cedar, making it perfect for a sunset charcuterie board or even a fish dish, as well as classic options like chicken and pasta. This is the ideal red on a warm day when something rich and velvety doesn’t feel quite right.

Peltzer Family Cellars Estate Sangiovese

This medium-bodied Sangiovese is packed with maraschino cherries, pomegranate, allspice, and violet. It’s a great wine for Thanksgiving, with the red fruit notes enhancing the traditional turkey dinner flavors. “You may need more than one bottle to satisfy the in-laws!” jokes Tasting Room Manager Danae.

Chapin Family Vineyards Montepulciano  

This wine is the perfect choice if you’re looking for an elegant, light-bodied red, packed with an abundance of aromas and flavors of cherry, blackberry, currant, and fresh herbs, with soft, round tannins, and a smooth, dry finish. Pair this with a backyard sunset as the cool evening breezes set in.

Fazeli Cellars Megregan

“Mehregan” is the Persian harvest festival celebrating the Autumn solstice. This earthy Grenache (with a touch of Shiraz) lovely to sip as we prepare for winter and toast to the close of our long summer days. It’s got bright Bing cherry cola and anise notes and a medium body, with soft supple tannins on the finish.  

Lorimar Winery Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre

This quintessential Rhône Valley-style blend is the perfect wine for the cooler fall months, boasting aromas of red currant, ripe plum, cocoa and a pleasant touch of Red Vines.

Wilson Creek Winery Cinsault

This bright, vibrant sipper is the ultimate light red wine for this time of year. When grown and harvested in Temecula Valley, Cinsault features all the fall fruit flavors from cherries to berries to complement the comfort foods of the season.

Leoness Cellars Grenache

A blend of 78% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 8% mourvedre, and aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months, this wine is medium-bodied with aromas and flavors of raspberries and cherries complemented by hints of tobacco, earth, and spice leading into a soft, lengthy finish.

“During this unique transition between seasons, my favorite wine is our 2017 Grenache,” says Leoness Director of Hospitality Leonard Grose. “With its lighter body and vibrant rhubarb and clove hints on the nose and palate, this wine is perfect for a hearty fall chicken soup with lentils, carrots, and celery.”

Europa Village Primitivo

This jewel-toned Primitivo dazzles with aromas of raspberry crème, cherry liqueur, and autumn leaves. On the palate it stays true to the Puglian style, balancing fresh acidity and a pleasant jamminess, with flavors of black cherry, and smooth, well-integrated tannins. This is the perfect wine to enjoy as the sun sets a bit earlier and the twilight beckons us to enjoy the lovely fall weather.

A LITTLE SOMETHING SWEET

Bel Vino Winery Late Harvest Blanc

Grapes harvested later in the season have a chance to develop rich, ripe aromas and accumulate high sugar levels. When pressed and vinified the resulting wines are lusciously sweet and make a stellar pairing for salty cheeses and dessert courses – or can serve as dessert course themselves!

“What better way to experience fall, than with a late-harvested, intensely flavorful and aromatic Late Harvest Blanc,” says Mike Janko from Bel Vino Winery. “The relatively high sugar levels balanced by bright acidity make it great for sipping or to be enjoyed as a dessert wine.”

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Your Guide to the Perfect Temecula Valley Wine Country Picnic

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

Picnicking with Wine

While Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country has many different restaurant dining options at wineries as well as in town, it’s also a great place for a casual picnic (over a glass or two of local wine, of course). With gorgeous weather virtually year-round, and plenty of places to grab delicious provisions, it’s time to pack your picnic basket and head out to Southern California’s most picturesque wine region for a perfect al-fresco wining and dining experience. Here’s how.

Step 1.  Pick Your Spot.

You truly can’t go wrong throwing down a blanket at any of the Temecula Wineries that offer grounds for picnicking while in Wine Country. Many wineries also conveniently offer a selection of small bites to purchase with your wine, like snack boxes with cheese, charcuterie, and other wine-friendly nibblies.

Wilson Creek Winery has sprawling grounds with plenty of spots to settle in for a day of sipping, noshing, and relaxing. There’s even a small children’s play structure for an experience that keeps the whole family happy. Longshadow Ranch Vineyard and Winery is also a great place to visit, offering panoramic views of Wine Country in a working farm setting, as well as a friendly cohort of animal pals to meet. Stop in at Maurice Car’rie Winery and grab one of their world-famous baked brie and sourdoughs along with a bottle of their estate grown and produced wine and you have yourself a perfect picnic lunch.

Step 2. Stock Up on Tasty Bites.

Most wineries have something for you to grab on-site to go with your wine, whether it’s a full restaurant meal, a few picnic staples, or local food trucks parked outside. Sangio’s Deli at Cougar Winery is one of our favorites for delicious subs and sandwiches, pizzas and salads, paired perfectly with the wines made primarily from native Italian grapes. Watch the world go by on the patio at Doffo Winery over a cheese and charcuterie plate or a hummus plate featuring their famous housemade chimicurri, prepared daily by Fuego y Sal Catering, while sipping on one of the winery’s many award-winning selections.

If you’d prefer a true Wine Country picnic, stop by Grazing Theory in Temecula and order one of their eye-catching, gourmet charcuterie or veggie lunch boxes that feature lots of local ingredients and artisanal products. Or, grab one of the delicious sandwich selections prepared on bread baked in-house daily from Great Harvest Bread Co. in town for the perfect picnic lunch.

Step 3. Pop a Bottle.

While we always believe that if you like the wine, and you like the food, you have yourself a perfect pairing, there are nevertheless some wines that just seem made for Wine Country picnicking.

Whether you’re celebrating a milestone Wine Country-style, or simply celebrating everyday life, a bottle of bubbly is always a delight. Carter Estate Winery and Thornton Winery offer the valley’s best traditional-method sparkling wines in a range of styles, from brut to sweet, Blanc de Blancs to Blanc de Noirs and everything in between. Sparkling wines are also the perfect pairing for a just about any dish, so sip this festive wine while taking in Vineyard views and enjoying the afternoon breezes Temecula Valley is so famous for. We also love a crisp white or light rose while noshing on picnic fare, especially in the warmer months. Hart Winery produces several crisp, clean, mouth-watering white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, and Arneis that are perfect for sipping at one of their picnic tables in the summer. If you’re feeling pink, grab a bottle of Akash Winery’s Parlez Vous Rosé for a tasty lunch accompaniment. If red wine is more your thing, try something lighter and fruitier, like a bottle of Fazeli Cellar’s Phel Phel, a bright and juicy 100% cinsault, or even something like South Coast Winery’s sparkling Shiraz for something totally different.

Step 4. Strike a Pose.

No picnic is complete without a few selfies or group photos! Showcase you, your family and friends living your best life in Temecula Valley with a photo or two to document the occasion. Don’t forget to tag us at @temeculawines and use the hashtag #DrinkTemecula so we can share in your adventures!

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Your Toughest Wine Questions Answered

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

Geek Out on All Things Wine with These Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country Rockstars

Grapevines at Sunrise

Wine can be intimidating. We’ve all stood in the aisles of our favorite wine stores scanning the backs of labels for hints of anything that might give us a clue of what the juice in the bottle tastes like. We’ve all donned the deer-in-headlights look when a sommelier asks us what type of wines we prefer. Who hasn’t felt a sense of dread during the daunting wine service ritual, where the server waits expectantly while you swirl, sniff, sip and determine whether they may pour the wine for your guests, all eyes on you?

While being a wine expert isn’t a requirement for kicking back and enjoying a glass or two of our favorite beverage, sometimes a better understanding of how a product is made allows us to appreciate it even more.

Which is why we have brought in some of Temecula Valley Southern California’s best and brightest wine stars to answer some of your most frequently-asked wine questions!

Q: The vineyards are starting to look so pretty this time of year! What is actually going on with the vines right now?

A. Greg Pennyroyal, Vineyard Manager, Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards

As April approaches the vineyard is leaving its dormant stage and entering its first vegetative stage of budbreak. Wine Grapes (Vitis vinifera) are deciduous meaning they lose their leaves in fall and go into a dormancy period usually starting in late October and ending in April. Grapes also need a minimum of 150 Chill hours, a summation of the hours below 45 degrees, to assure they do not bud out too early and get damaged by a late frost. In Temecula, our standard “Frost Free Date” is April 15, giving a positive spin to a date that is usually not so great.

The grapes’ dormancy period also coincides with the rainy season of our Mediterranean climate – wet in winter, dry in summer, with a coastal influence. Our historical rain average for this time of year would be about ten inches; however we are under four inches to-date. This will assist in delaying a budbreak that is too early, however will require that we irrigate and add fertility as the cover crops and soil biology have had less of an opportunity to increase soil fertility.

After budbreak, the vines will enter a vegetative state where initial growth is remarkably fast. If you visit a vineyard one weekend, the following weekend will look like a different vineyard. Following this growth spurt, the vines set flowers. Grape flowers are very small and inconspicuous. When the flowers emerge, they are wrapped under a small cap called, appropriately enough, the calyptra. When the flowers are ready for pollination a gentle brush will cause the calyptra to pop off and the flower will rapidly open before your eyes, great vineyard entertainment after a glass of wine. The flowers have both male and female parts, so they do not need bees to pollinate. White wines are the first to emerge from dormancy followed by red varietals.

Q: How do winemakers get those tiny bubbles in bottles of wine?

A. Sharon Cannon, Director of Operations, Akash Winery

Those fabulous bubbles that make Champagne or sparkling wine so wonderful are products of carbon dioxide (CO2), created during the fermentation process when sugar and yeast are added to a still base wine. There are three primary ways to make sparkling wine: 

Some winemakers choose a labor-intensive traditional method of trapping the gas in the bottle, which then “lay down,” sometimes for decades, producing high-quality sparkling wine (think Champagne). The most important part of this process is the secondary fermentation, which happens as mentioned, inside the bottle. During this process, the yeast consumes the sugar which is where the carbon dioxide is produced. The wine is then left to lay on their “lees,” (dead yeast cells) for a period of time. While this may sound gross, these yeast cells are what give traditional method sparkling wines their signature toasty, yeasty, brioche-like flavors. The bottles are gradually rotated and tilted until they end up upside down, so that all of this sediment makes its way to the neck of the bottle, which is dipped into a solution to freeze the solid contents, making them easy to remove. Bottles are then topped up with the “dosage,” a combination of sugar and/or wine, donned with a cork and wire cage, and then ready for you to drink.

The Charmat Method (or tank method) is where the winemaker will use a pressurized tank for the secondary fermentation process (think Prosecco). Here the liqueur de tirage (a mix of wine, sugar and yeast) is added to the pressurized tank of still wine, in which the secondary fermentation. The wine, once ready, is then filtered and bottled from the tank. These wines are generally youthful and easy drinking!

Lastly, there is just plain carbonation, where carbon dioxide is simply added into the wine (think of your Soda Stream injecting bubbles into your water). You’ll know this one if you’ve ever had it though, as the bubbles with dissipate very quickly! 

And remember, those bubbles you have in your fridge which you are waiting for a “special occasion” to open: The special occasion is today, friends!

Q. Speaking of stuff getting into my wine, sometimes I see things floating in my bottle? Does this mean the wine is bad?

A. Jim Hart, Winemaker, Hart Winery

There are a number of things that can cause “chunkies” in wine, some of them intentional and others maybe not so intentional. In so-called “natural wines” (so-called because there really isn’t a true definition for natural wines), a certain amount of sediment and haze should be expected, as these wines are usually un-fined and unfiltered. Additionally, these wines are often made without added sulfites, and can occasionally undergo secondary fermentation in the bottle causing haze and “floaties.” More conventional wines are sometimes intentionally bottled without filtration as some winemakers believe filtration somehow strips a wine’s character (not true), and are okay with some sediment in their wine.

The most common cause of stuff floating is with wines that haven’t been properly cold or heat stabilized. Wines that aren’t properly heat stabilized will throw small amounts of haze or, in extreme cases, what appear to be floating globs in the bottle. Wines that aren’t cold stable will, when chilled, lose tartaric acid which will look like crystals (sometimes called wine diamonds).

The good thing about all these things you might find floating in your wine is that none of them are really harmful; just be careful who gets the last glass! 

Q. I love rosé. But how is it made?

A. Nick Palumbo, Winemaker, Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery

Rosé wine has gotten a bad rap from wine drinkers over the last few decades simply because so much of it has been made to appease the palate of a generation of consumers that grew up on overly sweet, processed beverages. That said there are basically three ways to make a rosé wine which can be broken down into a not-so-great way, a good way, and the best way!

Many don’t realize that all grapes, white or red, have clear juice inside when they first come off the vine. It is the skin of the grape that contains the color; so, in order to get a red wine, the winemaker needs to keep the juice in contact with the skins of a red grape in order for the wine to develop its color, along with everything else that gives the wine structure and flavor.

Some inexpensive rosé wines are simply a blend of finished Red and White wines that in different proportions can make a wine that looks the part but rarely if ever tastes anything like a classic, well-crafted rosé.

Then there is the saignée, or “to bleed” method, which is a really a good way to make two different wines from a single lot of grapes. It is also considered a way of making red wine better or more intense by “bleeding” off some of the juice early in the process, resulting in two separate lots that can be made into both a red and a rosé. If the winemaker is serious about the rosé, a very good wine can be made. However, this rosé is often considered a biproduct of the red winemaking. The locals drink that, while the winery ships the more expensive reds off to market.

The last method is an approach that wineries employ when their sole intent is to make a quality rosé, which results in a rosé that is often superior to the above methods. This method, often called “Limited Skin Maceration” (LSM) is a process in which the grapes are crushed and left in contact with the skins for a limited amount of time. The color can start to develop within minutes for grape varieties with very intense color, or can take up to 48 hours in some cases. When the desired color is achieved, the juice is separated from the skins, and fermentation is started much like a white wine would be made.

I have made wines from both saignée and LSM methods with great success, but am really proud of our current Spring release of our Rosato Secco. This wine is an LSM version of Sangiovese that is perfect for sipping by the pool, pairing with a charcuterie board, or – even better – a classic bowl of moules frites (steamed mussels and French fries) served by a beach in Southern California within miles of our beautiful Temecula Wine Country. Drink Local!

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A Celebration of Temecula Valley Harvest… and of All Those Who Make our Wines Possible

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

When we pop the cork on one of our favorite bottles and pour ourselves a glass of a delicious wine, we are often thinking mostly about how it is going to make us feel, what we are going to pair it with, who else wants a glass, and if we will stop at just one. This harvest, we invite you to think of all the work that went into producing that bottle. From grape to glass, there are countless passionate people who work tirelessly to craft something that will not only delight your palate, but that will help you make lasting memories of both simple and important moments in life.

As a tribute to these folks, we are highlighting a few of the best and brightest from Temecula Valley’s vineyards and cellars. These men and women are rarely in the spotlight, but their talents shine in every bottle of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine that graces your table.

Ryan Hart

Ryan Hart, Assistant Enologist, Thornton Winery

Originally from Carlsbad, Ryan has been in Temecula Valley for four years now. And, if the name sounds familiar, it should. Yes, he is that Hart – Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country pioneer Joe Hart’s grandson – so you can say winemaking is definitely in his blood.  

TVWA: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

RH: There really isn’t much of a typical day! That’s what makes this job so exciting, but in general I spend mornings tracking current ferments or making sure all the chemistry checks out with wines being held in a tank or barrel. I usually spend the later half of the day assisting Nick, our cellar lead, outside.

TVWA: What is your favorite thing about harvest?

RH: My favorite thing about harvest is the spontaneity. Every day is different. Situations arise and your skills at problem solving and risk management are often put to the test. 

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

RH: Temecula Valley has such a deep place in my heart. My earliest memories are of my climbing in fermentation tanks at my Grandfather’s winery, late night drives with my dad and brother to find grape boxes to pick grapes in (behind what seemed like every grocery store within 50 miles) and talking to my uncle Bill from behind the tasting room bar, the winery behind it a mystery.

TVWA: Can you share any funny or memorable moments or anecdotes from a past harvest (or this one)?

RH: Last year I was in the midst of harvest at South Coast Winery. I couldn’t remember a weekend, let alone what day of the week it was and I was discussing this and the rigors of harvest with their enologist Emily and she told me she always liked harvest because it always felt so much like Summer camp. The more I thought of it, the more it really struck home. We see our coworkers often more than our families. We spend so much time together and the days can oftentimes seem endless but the memories we hold with us will last a lifetime. 

Nick Marsolino

Nicholas Marsolino, Production Lead, Thornton Winery

Nick is originally from neighboring Murrieta, and has been in Temecula Valley for 13 years. He works closely alongside Ryan Hart at Thornton.

TVWA: What does a typical day on the job look like?

NM: A typical day for me is when I first come in Ryan and I do morning pump overs and punch downs. We are a sparkling house at Thornton Winery, if we have wine on our riddling racks Ryan and I riddle. After our morning work we meet with Tom [Thornton Winery winemaker] and we go over what need to be done which varies each day. After we finish our tasks Ryan and I finish the day with afternoon pump overs and punch downs.

TVWA: What is your favorite thing about harvest?

NM: One of my favorite things about Harvest is watching the evolution from grape to wine. Being a part of that process is special.

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

NM: Temecula is special to me because my family is here. I also see a lot of potential in Temecula valley as an AVA.

TVWA: Any standout harvest memories?

NM: This my second harvest so last year’s harvest is very memorable. This one incident happened where I was mixing one of our wines with a machine called a Guth, where you put its propeller through the racking valve and it mixes the wine. Well, when it was finish mixing, when I took off the Guth, I forgot to close the valve and got baptized with wine. Tom told me that I’m officially in the wine making business.

Reed Brady

Reed Brady, Vineyard/Winemaker Assistant, Palumbo Family Vineyard and Winery

Reed is born and bred Temecula Valley, and has lived here for all 25 years of his young life.

TVWA: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

RB: This can vary quite a bit, but on an average harvest day I will drive the tractor at night and pick leaves from the bins. Then I will rush home and try and get a few hours of sleep. The next morning, I will destem all of the fruit picked that evening and do my punch downs or help out in the tasting room… whatever is needed for the day 

TVWA: What is your favorite thing about harvest?

RB: The work. I love how challenging and how much work is required. I believe there are two types of fun: There’s the roller coaster ride that is fun for the moment but is always a fleeting type of fun. Then there is the long, hard days that really make you work for it. That’s the type of fun that lasts a life time, and you can look back at and talk about with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

RB: Being raised here in the Temecula wine country I have seen this valley grow a lot since we moved here in ‘95. It may have grown a lot, but it still maintains such a small-town feel. 

TVWA: Can you share any funny or memorable moments or anecdotes from a past harvest (or this one)?

RB: Sitting in a 55-gallon trash can filled with water while pressing merlot in 100 degree heat. Everyone else thought it was very funny; I thought it was cool.

Billy Bower

Billy Bower, Director of Agriculture, Stage Ranch Farm Management

Originally from Kirkland, Washington, Billy has spent the past 33 years in Temecula and is a celebrated fixture in Wine Country. Billy was, sadly, recently diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. As with all things that he does, he is facing it with as much strength, perseverance, and humor as he can. Billy’s family has created a Go Fund Me account to help raise money to put toward treatment and non-covered care. Please donate here if you are able.

TVWA: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

BB: Overseeing 450 acres of wine grapes and, at times, up to 35 employees makes for a busy day. I oversee all the new development, daily farming, along with any problems, diseases, and any other issues that might develop in the vineyards. August through October is harvest time, therefore we work 6, sometimes 7 days a week to get the harvest in. Harvest time is both rewarding and challenging. As of late, more challenging due to labor issues and changes in our weather pattern. Lately it’s been getting hotter and hotter which speeds up the harvest, which can affect the quality of our wine. 

TVWA: What is your favorite thing about harvest?

BB: My favorite thing about harvest is seeing all the hard work during the growing season finally coming to an end – the end being a beautiful, bountiful harvest. I also have the opportunity and privilege of working with 8 different wineries in Temecula, and to see them produce great quality wines from our Temecula Valley, and knowing that it’s coming not only from myself, but also our hardworking team. 

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

BB: I moved to the Murrieta/ Temecula Valley area in 1987 as a teenager and fell in love with the slower paced family atmosphere, along with its great location being so close to the ocean and the mountains. I knew I wanted to make this my home. 

TVWA: Why did you decide to make Temecula Valley home?

BB: Agriculture was really secondary. I moved here to be in construction as a general contractor. But the recession in the late 80’s early 90’s caused me to get involved with agriculture. My family ended up moving back to Washington State for work, but I fell in love and didn’t want to leave. So I married my beautiful wife Kaijah and had two wonderful children, Jevon and Kelsey. After a couple of classes at UC Davis and lots of hands-on experience in the field I was happy to make agriculture my vocation in the Temecula Valley. 

TVWA: Can you share any funny or memorable moments or anecdotes from a past harvest (or this one)?

BB: Harvest of ‘94 was very memorable because our first-born son was born September 8th, right in the middle of harvest. At those times husbands or men did not get to stay home and bond with their baby –haha! I had to sleep in the walk-in closet where it was cool and dark and I wouldn’t be disturbed by our newborn baby because I was working at night and sleeping during the day, opposite of my wife and baby’s routine. Needless to say, that was a difficult harvest.

Joe Vera

Joe Vera, Cellar Master (AKA “Cellar King Rat”), Wilson Creek Winery Years in Temecula

Despite hailing from Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico, Joe has been in the Temecula Valley for a whopping 54 years! And, more importantly, 2020 marks Joe’s 50th harvest in Temecula Valley!

TVWA: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

JV: It’s a juggling act.  My regular day consists of compliance, cellar management and maintenance, training, weighing and harvesting… and a lot of head shaking.

TVWA: What is your favorite thing about harvest?

JV: I love watching the grapes come in and weighing and crushing them. 

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

JV: The valley is special to me because I came here as a teenager when Temecula had a population of 42. I’ve loved watching the growth (to whatever population it is now).  But the most special is the people I have met along the way.  My dad brought me here and put me to work.  As an adult, I had a great job at Callaway (I was there for 32 years) and never wanted to leave. [I ultimately] married and raised kids here in the valley.

TVWA: Can you share any funny or memorable moments or anecdotes from a past harvest (or this one)?

 JV: This is serious stuff!  Probably the most memorable was two years ago when we broke a record here at Wilson Creek of harvesting 474 TONS!  It was crazy! There used to be a time where harvest was just a small group of us in the valley. We had lots of fun, we all worked close together and enjoyed the camaraderie.  Everyone knew everyone.  This valley is so big now and there are so many people I don’t know!  It’s become some serious business!  There is a small group of us that still get together every Friday and share our stories over a beer or two. This valley is very special.

Brian Marquez

Brian Marquez, Assistant Winemaker, Wiens Family Cellars

Even though he has been there since 2007, Brian is one of the few at Wiens Family Cellars who isn’t actually related to the Wiens family. But that hasn’t stopped him from being treated like a blood relative… for better or for worse!

TVWA: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

BM: I start my morning flying hot air balloons Over Temecula. Then I get to the winery, and manage all of the fermenting lots. I also organize pressing and racking and bottling, because we bottle through harvest. I then question [winemaker] Joe [Wiens] on everything because that’s how we push each other. 

TVWA: What’s your favorite thing about harvest?

BM: That it’s acceptable to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon at 9 am! One of the things I look forward to is when all the white wines are done fermenting and we have new wines in the tanks to finally taste. Also, I get to bring my kids with me and they love helping with punch downs 

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

BM: I grew up in Temecula and had the opportunity to help build up this region. I have been making wine here for 13 years, and have been getting attention from all the older guys that have been doing it for years before us, and being told I’ve got what it takes to help put Temecula on the map mean a lot. This is my home, where I was raised and where I raise my kids. 

TVWA: Got any funny or memorable moments or anecdotes from a past harvest (or this one)?

BM: Joe and I constantly saying, “Theoretically it should work.” We are professionals…but we never went to school for this.

Kaitlin Murray

Kaitlin Murray, Wine and Viticulture Intern/Server, Peltzer Winery

A SoCal native from Mission Viejo, Kaitlin has only been in Temecula for two months, but already feels right at home.

TVWA What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

KM: When I started at Peltzer I was an intern. We were about six weeks away from harvest. I would get to the vineyard early to collect berry samples for brix testing. During this time, I really got to know the vineyard and it became one of my favorite parts of the day. A lot of time is dedicated throughout the day planning for things needed for harvest like bottles, storage and cleaning supplies. Once harvest started it was over in the blink of an eye. This was my first harvest so everything was very exciting and new. It definitely was a lot of work, but I’m really glad I was able to be a part of such an important time in the wine’s life.

TVWA: What is your favorite aspect of harvest?

KM: My favorite thing about harvest is just how fast-paced the whole process is. It’s definitely a thrill and you always have to be on your toes. 

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

KM: I’ve only been in Temecula for 2 months now, but I’m already in love. The location is absolutely beautiful, but it is really the amazing people that have made this place so special to me. I love the passion and commitment that the people have for creating delicious wines!

TVWA: Can you share any memorable moments in your winemaking journey so far?

KM: This is a tough question for me because this was my first harvest and the whole process will forever be cherished. But one thing that I will think about and look forward to for next year are the early mornings in the vineyard. Standing in the middle of the vineyard I am surrounded by the plants that give our wines life. I can only see the vines and the sky which is usually filled with hot air balloons amidst the rising sun. There is a crispness in the air that jumpstarts me for the day. Everything is so peaceful and calm.  It is pure tranquility.

Gregorio Retana

Gregorio Retana, Cellar Master, Robert Renzoni Vineyards

Originally from Mexico, Gregorio has been in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country for 21 years.

TVWA: What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

GR: My day to day is always different depending on the season; harvest, bottling, cellar, or vineyard practices to name a few. From barrel work and racking a tank in the cellar, to discing the vineyard or bottling our wine, my typical day ranges.

TVWA: What is your favorite thing about harvest?

GR: My favorite thing about harvest is experiencing the whole process of grapes being turned into wine and enjoying it with my family and friends.

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley special to you?

GR: From working with Stage Ranch for years planting vineyards across Temecula Valley, and now becoming the cellar master at Robert Renzoni Vineyards, I have met a  lot of people through the Valley who I’ve become close friends with. I’m so happy to have made Temecula Valley my home and feel lucky to have played a part in almost every vineyard in this region.

TVWA: Can you share a memorable moment during your time in Wine Country?

GR: A memorable moment here at Robert Renzoni Vineyards is simply how we all treat each other like we are family. I’m glad to call this place my second home.

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Fresh California Chopped Salad with Marinated Grilled Steak

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

When the temps are rising, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven in the kitchen. For a great entree salad, try this crunchy summer salad topped with grilled steak—marinated in Temecula Valley Zinfandel.  It gets its zing from a spicy-mustard vinaigrette. For the ultimate pairing, be sure to serve it with your favorite Temecula Valley Zinfandel!

Ingredients:

1 cup Temecula Valley Zinfandel

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon ground cayenne

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1 New York strip steak (about 14-ounces), 1-inch thick, trimmed of fat

2 large tomatoes, preferably different colors

3 cups chopped, romaine lettuce

1 cup sugar snap peas, stemmed and cut into three pieces

1 cup cooked corn kernels, cut off the cob and cooled

1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, plus more for serving

Directions:

Bring the wine and garlic to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Let cool.

Pour the mixture into a medium glass bowl and mix in the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, black peppercorns, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the dry mustard.

Add the steak and turn it to coat. Cover the steak and marinate it in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours, turning it once.

Preheat the grill to high heat.

Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry.

Grill the steak for 6 minutes on each side for rare to medium rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Cut each tomato into eight wedges, and set aside.

Put the lettuce, snap peas and corn in a large bowl.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk the spicy mustard in a small bowl with the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, and the remaining teaspoon of dry mustard.

Toss the lettuce mixture with the desired amount of vinaigrette.

Slice the steak across the grain into ½ inch strips.

Divide the salad among four plates, and top with tomato and steak slices.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 4

Suggested Pairings: 

Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery ~ Van Roekel 2013 Zinfandel

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ 2013 Wild Horse Peak Zinfandel

Wiens Family Cellars ~ 2014 Reserve Zinfandel 

Wilson Creek Winery ~ 2012 Wilson Creek Family Reserve Zinfandel


Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California.

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Moscato ~ The Perfect Spring Wine

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Moscato, Muscatel, Muscat… what’s the difference between them? Just the names, actually. Rather than just being one grape, Muscat includes a family of grapes in a range of colors (from white to brown, or to near black.) For instance, Moscato is the Italian name and Muscatel the Spanish.

Here in the U.S., Moscato is making its mark and has become the hot wine of the moment. Some would say sweet versions of Moscato are ideal for the American sweet tooth; it’s also an easy wine for the new wine drinker to love.

For a perfect spring day, pack a picnic with a chilled bottle of Temecula Valley Moscato and pair it with good cheese, buttery crackers and seasonal fruit.

Here are five fun facts about Moscato:

1. Muscat is the only fine wine grape that doubles as a table grape.

2. Twitter buzzes with an average of 250 tweets an hour about people drinking their Moscato.

3. In addition to Moscato, Muscatel and Muscat, this common white variety is also known as Muscadel, Muscat Blanc and Muscat Canelli. New IDs are regularly released by fake ID websites. Montana fake ID was recently unveiled by Topfakeid.com in a bid to outreach customers from this state.

4. Virtually all pink Moscatos gain their hue from a splash of red wine, not skin contact.

5. The breadth and number of varieties of Muscat suggest that it is perhaps the oldest domesticated grape variety, and there are theories that most families within the Vitis vinifera grape variety are descended from the Muscat variety.

Some Temecula Valley Moscatos and Muscat Canelli’s to try:

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Get Chilled in Temecula Valley Wine Country!

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

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Everyone knows that the holidays can be particularly busy, stressful and rushed.  Why not come and join us in Temecula Valley Wine Country on December 15th to “chill” with us!  Several of our wineries are keeping their doors open late so that you can participate in the Temecula Chilled Holiday Shopping Night from 5:00p-7:00p.

Just one trip to your local wine country will get you all the gifts you need to give. Plus, you can sip while you shop! Our winery gift shops offer unique and charming wine-themed gifts, specialty food items, home decor – and of course, delicious wine.

During the Holiday Shopping Night, shop at select tasting rooms and enjoy holiday refreshments, carolers, carriage rides at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and more!  Participating wineries include: Bel Vino, Callaway, Danza del Sol, Foot Path, Monte De Oro, Mount Palomar, Ponte, South Coast and Wilson Creek.

To learn more about Temecula Chilled and all of the activities planned, please click here.

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