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Temecula Valley’s Unsung Heroes ~ A Tribute to Those Working Behind the Scenes

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Last month we did a feature on the rockstar tasting room staff of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. It was such a hit that we decided this month to focus on another group of movers and shakers of Temecula Valley – the “Unsung Heroes” who are behind the scenes ensuring that the region runs smoothly on all fronts. These Wine Country warriors are the ones our visitors don’t often get to meet; the ones who make the actual functioning of our wineries possible. While sometimes it’s the winemakers and winery owners who get all the glory, Wine Country wouldn’t exist without the folks who work tirelessly every day to keep the lights on and create memorable experiences for our visitors.

Let’s meet a few:

Brenda Ruocco

Brenda Ruocco, Director, Wholesale Operations for South Cost Winery

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Brenda has been in Temecula for the last 20 years with her husband and her “Animal family of dogs and horses.” Anyone who has purchased a bottle of South Coast wine from a local wine shop or grocery store has Brenda to thank for it being on the shelf.

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

BR: A typical day in wholesale includes meeting with domestic and export wholesale buyers; conducting wine tastings; making sales calls to box and liquor stores and restaurants; checking inventory; writing orders; working closely with the winemaking team; managing our warehouse and supervising our wholesale team of eight.

TVWA: Do you drink wine? If yes – any favorites?

BR: Yes, I love wine! Of course I’m partial to ours. Currently, I’m enjoying our 2019 South Coast Pinot Grigio, 2015 Wild Horse Peak Merlot and Vineyard Rose Sparkling.

TVWA: You have been in the Valley for a long time. Can you share any memorable Wine Country moments? Can you share your best, funniest or most memorable Wine Country moments?

BR: The best Wine Country moment was receiving South Coast’s California State Winery of the Year award with our winemaking team – ALL four times! My most memorable moment was opening South Coast Winery and being part of the original team. It was so exciting to watch the construction team build our winery. Also memorable was helping to create the “Rock The Pink” brand to support Cancer Awareness.

TVWA: Wow. You could probably write a book about Temecula Valley Wine Country! Speaking of books, do you have any hobbies outside of the winery?

BR: I love to travel, marathon running, cooking/wine pairing, reading and gardening.

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley so special to you?

BR: I recall being mesmerized by the valley on my first visit in 1990. I was on a business trip from Washington, DC, and had an extra day after a meeting in Carlsbad. The hotel I was staying at recommended a trip to Temecula Wine Country. I drove through early in the morning and saw a handful of wineries and hot air balloons overhead and knew I wanted to live here. Five years later after meeting my husband, we rearranged our lives to move to Temecula. We are both Italian and see so many comparisons to Italy. I’m so proud to represent this region and the opportunity to educate people about our terroir and beautiful valley.    

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

Patricia O’Brien

This Southern California native has been in Temecula Valley for 17 years. She is married to her best friend, Patrick, and together they have raised three kids: Mikayla age 25, Sean Patrick age 17 and Peyton age 9.  “I love my job,” she says. “But I have to say being a parent happens to be the best gig ever!”

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

PO: My workday usually starts at 7:30 am with a review of sales reports from the previous day, answering emails and tackling my infamous to-do list.  You see, I’m a firm believer in setting a daily tasks list.  I never put more than 6 things on my to-do list, so I don’t set myself up for failure.  My days usually consist of analyzing traffic, sales, and wine club attrition and sign up reports, evaluating wine projections, label approvals, reviewing and overseeing monthly social media and marketing plan, as well as meetings with the Controller, Winemaker, tasting room and wine club managers.  

TVWA: Whew! We are exhausted just thinking about your day! You must like to kick-back at the end of the day. Do you drink wine? If yes – any favorites?

PO: Do I drink wine?! I’m passionate about wine. I love the process of growing grapes, harvesting grapes, and the art of turning those grapes into wine. I love wine so much, I enrolled in the WSET Level II class in Spring 2019 and passed the exam.  My favorite varietal is Old Vine Zinfandel but lately I’ve been enjoying Pinot Noir and dry rosé.

TVWA: Do you have a best, funniest or most memorable Wine Country Moment?

PO: I’ve been working in Temecula Valley Wine Country for 13 years. I have so many best, funny and memorable moments.  One of the best and funniest moments, is my initial interview with founder of Danza del Sol Winery, Bob Olson, almost 11 years ago.  I answered an ad for a job, and we met for breakfast at South Coast. It was the most casual interview I’ve ever had in my life. I basically ate breakfast with a complete stranger. When the interview ended, I called my husband and said, “That was the most chill interview I’ve ever had!” and by the time I made it home, Bob called to offer me the job. And the rest, as they say, is history! 

TVWA: If only all job interviews went like that! Got any hobbies outside of the winery?

PO: I’m an uber proud soccer Mom, (Go Legends FC Temecula Valley) who is obsessed with the art of charcuterie, a ferocious reader, and I love spending time with my family and friends.  

TVWA: What makes Temecula Valley so special to you?

PO: What makes Temecula Valley so special to me is that although Temecula Valley is a vacation destination, with farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries, hotels, golf courses, and over 40 wineries, which I am proud to be a part of, it has also been a great place to raise our children and given us the opportunity to make friendships that will last forever.

Jana Prais, Sales Director, Maurice Car’rie Winery

Originally from La Mirada, California, Jana has been in Temecula for 32 years! It’s amazing that she has any time for work in Wine Country, given she also has four grown children, another starting her senior year at Temecula Valley High School, two dogs, one cat, seven chickens and seven grandkids!

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

JP: No two days are the same for me and I love that part of the job. I usually start the day calling on stores and hand selling wine. I’ve been blessed to meet many wonderful people working in outside sales.

TVWA: We’re guessing you like to enjoy the occasional glass of wine, juggling a family of that size! Any favorites?

JP: Maurice Car’rie Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to wine. Although, our new Ultimate red wines are very impressive – the 2018 Tempranillo might be my favorite so far.

TVWA: You must have collected some memories during your 37 years in Temecula Valley. Do any stand out to you?

JP: Some of my fondest memories took place in the summertime at Cilurzo Winery.
Audrey would invite all 12 wineries to a pool party at her and Vince’s home. Everyone brought a dish and wine. She made the best cookies that paired perfectly with Cilurzo Petite Sirah. I think that kind of hospitality and those friendships are still happening today in Wine Country.

TVWA: Got any hobbies outside of the winery?

JP: I love meeting up with my wine country friends and enjoying a glass of wine!

TVWA: Hopefully you count us among those friends! What makes Temecula Valley so special to you?

JP: I’ve seen Temecula grow beyond what I could have imagined, but we still have that hometown feel and a great community. I’m proud to be part of Temecula and wine country. 

Dollie Pavlinch, Wine Society Volunteer Coordinator for Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

Dollie Pavlinch

With the number events and fundraising efforts the TVWA is responsible for each year, it’s no wonder Dollie is a hero of Wine Country. Pouring wines & staffing events is hard work! Originally from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania by way of Arcadia, California, Dollie has spent the last 20 years in Temecula with her husband, Don, and their “furry dog baby, Miss Molly.”

TVWA: What would you say is your earliest or fondest memory of Wine Country?

DP: You know, our first memory of Wine Country was stopping by Wilson Creek. At the time, it was a tiny bar with Rosie and Jerry and us, talking about moving here from the same area. Times have certainly changed.

TVWA: Those were the days! Got any hobbies outside of work?

DP: Since retirement from ATT, I enjoy every day… and, yes, I enjoy drinking Temecula wines! I love to sit on our patio with a glass of wine, overlooking the wineries. It is an enjoyment Don and I look forward to

TVWA: We love to do that too! Do you have any favorite wines?

DP: Oh dear… I love them all! Especially the bubbly…

TVWA: What Makes Temecula Valley so special to you?

DP: I love the people in Temecula. I especially love the Wine Country atmosphere. I also enjoy our wines. We have exceptional winemakers, each of whom take pride in their product!

Ted Dorr, UPS Driver

Tedd Dorr & Mattie

Everyone who is anyone out in Wine Country has likely had the good fortune of having Ted show up at their door with package deliveries or for pick-up. He has been on his current UPS route in Wine Country for over 25 years, making him a true fixture of the region. He has been married to his wife Debi for 31 years – the same amount of time he has been a UPS driver – and has two kids, Travis and Lauren, age 29 and 26, as well as a blonde lab named Bailey.

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

TD: A typical day usually starts at 7 AM. I bring a trailer out with me to use for pick-ups in the afternoon, depending on who’s heavy on pick-ups. I try to accommodate to the wineries’ needs. If they need an early delivery or a later pick-up, I work around them.

TVWA: Do you drink wine? If yes – any favorites?

TD: I enjoy drinking wine. It’s funny. Years ago, when I first started the route, I wasn’t much of a wine drinker. But I learned to appreciate it through the years. Love the reds, but I’ll drink the whites also.

TVWA: You’ve probably seen it all out in Wine Country! Got any memories to share?

TD: I have seen the Valley grow from just a handful of wineries, to present time and it’s amazing to see how it’s grown. The people in wine country are amazing. They have become like family. I really enjoy going to work and seeing everyone. 

TVWA: What do you like to do when you’re not traveling all over Wine Country for UPS?

TD: My hobbies are hanging out with my wife and family. I enjoy the beach. It’s my place to just get away and ride some waves. 

TVWA: What Makes Temecula Valley so special to you?

TD: I’ve been truly blessed to be a part of Wine Country all these years. The people are amazing. To be able share the growth in the valley and their friendships has been so rewarding. 

Juan Vazquez Gutierrez, Cellar Foreman, South Coast Winery

Juan Vazquez Gutierrez

Juan came to Temecula Valley all the way from Culiacá, in Sinaloa, Mexico a whopping 34 years ago! He is part of the dream team that has led South Coast Winery to receive the California State Winery of the Year title an unprecedented four times.

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

JVG: It ranges from what the day brings. As of right now we have been busy with our bottling season and it is my job to ensure that everything runs smoothly from the tank to the bottle!

TVWA: Tell us about life outside the winery. Got family? Kids? Pets?

JVG: I have a 25 year-old son, and a 23-year old daughter. I have been married to my wife Blanca for 26 years this past April!

TVWA: Wow. You must drink a lot of wine then (we hear it is the key to a happy marriage!). Any favorites?

JVG: Yes I drink wine! I enjoy a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Syrah, or some type of dessert wine, which is my wife’s favorite.

TVWA: We’re guessing you’ve collected your share of memories over the past 34 years in Temecula Valley. Can you share any?

JVG: There was a time when I was unloading a Cherokee truck while working at Callaway. There was a truck driver who began to pull away from the location, but the pump was still connected to the truck! It’s funny now in hindsight, but at the time it was really scary. So now every time I see a Cherokee truck, I always remember that day!

TVWA: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working (or dodging trucks still connected to pumps)?

JVG: I love to go fishing with my family, which can be here locally at Lake Skinner, or at times going to fish off the Oceanside pier. I also love to play basketball with my son. Go Lakers!

TVWA: What Makes Temecula Valley so special to you?

JVW: Temecula Valley was the first place I came to after having left my hometown in Mexico. So, to me Temecula was my first home in America and I am grateful to have learned new things here. And, I’m proud to be a part of the South Coast wine-making team!

Huge thanks to all of the extraordinary people who work tirelessly every day to keep our region alive and well, especially those who contributed to this piece. Temecula Valley has been able to grow into the ultimate quality wine and hospitality destination because of you.

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PAN-SEARED SALMON WITH CORN AND POBLANO SALAD

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Pan-Seared Salmon

Wild-caught California salmon is one of the culinary highlights of summer in the Golden State. A fresh corn salad with a Mexican accent is the perfect complement and would be just as compatible with halibut fillets, scallops, or shrimp. Pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Grenache Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 2 large poblano or Anaheim chilies 
  • 2 ears yellow corn, husked 
  • 1 cup (40 g) very coarsely chopped cilantro 
  • ½ small red onion, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • Juice of 3 limes, or more to taste 
  • 1 large avocado, ripe but firm, diced 
  • 3 ounces (2/3 cup/85 g) coarsely crumbled queso fresco 
  • Kosher or sea salt 
  • 1 serrano chili, finely minced (optional) 

Salmon

  • 4 six-ounce (175 g) skin-on salmon fillets 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Lime wedges for serving 

Directions:

Make the salad: Preheat the broiler. Put the poblano or Anaheim chilies on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until blackened on all sides. Let cool, then peel, remove stems and seeds, and dice. Turn the oven to 425°F (220°C). 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the corn to the boiling water and boil 30 seconds, then remove the ears with tongs and plunge them into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain when cool and pat dry. With a chef’s knife, cut away the kernels. You should have about 2-1/2 cups (350 g). 

 In a large bowl, combine the diced poblano or Anaheim chilies, corn, cilantro, red onion, olive oil, and juice of 3 limes. Add the avocado and queso fresco and toss gently.  

 Season well with salt and add more lime juice if desired. If the salad is not spicy enough for you, stir in some or all of the minced serrano chili.  

 Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast-iron skillet and put the skillet in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Season the salmon with salt. Place the fillets in the skillet, skin side down, and bake until they just flake when probed with a paring knife, about 10 minutes.  

 Serve salmon immediately with the salad on the side. 

Suggested Pairings:

Churon Inn Winery ~ 2019 Sauvignon Blanc – Well balanced with citrus flavors

Hart Winery ~ 2019 Grenache Rosé – With notes of cherry, watermelon and cranberry.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2019 CS Sauvignon Blanc – Rich citrus and stone fruit aromas are complemented by subtle hints of lemongrass and a crisp, lingering finish.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa ~ 2017 Grenache Noir Rosé – Light in body, crisp in acidity and very dry, this rosé is the perfect wine for any cuisine and any festivity.

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Great Grilling Wines for Dad

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Grillin’ with Wine

Barbecues are a great way to enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the day with Dad.  And all that grillin’ just screams for a good red wine.  But if you’re thinking it’s too warm for red, think again!  With these few tips, finding the perfect warm weather sip won’t have to put your love of red on hold.

  • Chill out!  Pop your bottle of red wine in the fridge for about 30 mins – or in an ice chest for about half that – and you’ll be amazed at how much more refreshing it will taste.
  • No or Low Oak wines are generally fresher and fruitier.
  • Low to Moderate Alcohol levels usually equate to lower tannin levels for a wine that won’t weigh you down.
  • Light to Medium bodied wines tend to be easy on the palate, bright and light.

So, whether you’re in the backyard or on the beach – serving burgers and brats, or steak and grilled veggies – there’s tons of options for pairing your favorite Temecula Valley wine with whatever you’re serving up.

If the mainstay is red meat, a spicy Zinfandel or Syrah would be perfect.  If you’re looking for a more mellow choice, a fruit forward Merlot always works; it’s also great with chicken, pork chops or fish.  If your fave is a Cabernet, go ahead and drink what  you like.  But try not to shortchange your options.  Go for a nice red blend for the best of all worlds.  And don’t forget about a blush wine; there’s nothing a nice dry rosé can’t do for spicy ribs and coleslaw – or a plate of spicy hot wings!

A  few Temecula Valley wine suggestions for your next barbecue:

Danza del Sol Winery ~ 2014 Grenache – Black cherry, black pepper, dried herbs, and sweet spice.

Miramonte Winery ~ 2016 Four Torch GSM – Shows best at about 65 degrees. That’s roughly 15 minutes in your refrigerator before serving.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards ~ 2015 Big Fred’s Red – Aromas of blackberry, cherry and allspice with flavors of dark fruit, tobacco and caramel on the finish.

Oak Mountain Winery ~ 2014 Merlot – Offers flavors of chocolate, plums, licorice, black cherries, blueberries and blackberries as well as jam, with aromas of black fruits such as black cherry, blackberry and cassis.

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Welcoming Guests Back ~ Safely & Responsibly

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Temecula Valley Wine Country

The safety of visitors, loyal customers and staff of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is our greatest priority. With the sudden global spread of the COVID-19 virus, we are trying our best to keep our guests and employees safe and appreciate your understanding of new policies and processes. We appreciate your patience while we navigate this “new normal.”

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors announced that the Governor’s office approved a variance that would allow “Dine-In-Restaurants” to re-open in our County. The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) has defined that “dine-in restaurants” includes restaurants and brewpubs, as well as supplier licensees that permit tasting and/or private events (such as wineries, breweries, and craft distillers). While our wineries are still not allowed to offer any sort of wine tasting on property, they will be allowed to sell glasses of wine and bottles of wine, as long as their guests purchase a meal provided by the winery restaurant, a licensed caterer or a food truck. 

While this is much welcome news, many of our wineries will need some time to transition into this new way of doing business and to ensure that they are following the health and safety guidelines set forth by the State of California and Riverside County.  Many of the wineries have reduced their capacity and are requiring reservations. We will be keeping our website current with information that we receive from the wineries as to their operating hours at this time.  However, please contact the winery you wish to visit prior to visiting to ensure you’re aware of their policies and procedures. Please click HERE for a list and information on current winery operating hours and requirements prior to your visit.

Thank you, wine-loving friends, for your continued support of our Temecula Valley wineries and we look forward to welcoming you back!

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ALMOND MERINGUE TORTE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND RICOTTA CREAM

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Almond Meringue Torte

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/Moscato or Riesling.

Serves 8

Ingredients
Meringue:

  • 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


Filling:

  • 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


Directions

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 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 Pairings:

Baily Winery ~ 2017 Riesling – This cool and crisp white wine is perfect on a summer day, enjoy it poolside with friends and family!

Europa Village ~ 2016 Muscat Canelli – Aromas and flavors of peach, apricot and orange blossom with a nicely balanced residual sugar.

Maurice Car’rie Winery ~ 2017 Moscato – 100% Muscat Canelli, shows delicious floral and fruity flavors of mango, peach and apricot.

Somerset Winery ~ 2019 Riesling – This beautifully light and aromatic wine is floral on the nose and offers notes of spicy cinnamon, baked apples, kiwi and pears.


Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California


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Mother’s Day Specials in Wine Country

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Happy Mother’s Day!

Although the wineries and winery restaurants are only open for wine pick-ups and food take out, there are still plenty of wine country ways to show your Mom just how much she means to you! Here are just a few special offers!

Akash Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Includes one bottle each, Riesling, Parlez-Vouz Rose, Akash blanket, two small wine glasses, and Pretty Paints virtual succulent workshop.
Price: $140 + Club discount. Please visit us online www.akashwinery.com or call 951.888.1393 to order in advance!

Avensole Winery

AVENSOLE WINERY
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Because She’s Mom! Where family begins, and love never ends… Celebrate Mom and show your love and appreciation this Mother’s Day with the perfect relaxing warm weather sip – our beautiful 2016 Cinsault Blush! (100% Cinsault: rose-water, jasmine, lemon zest, brilliant cherries, cranberries.)
Price: Enjoy a 10% discount on three bottles of Avensole 2016 Cinsault Blush! Discounted price is $25.16 per bottle and available through Mother’s Day weekend. (Wine Club Member enjoy a 30% discount.)
How to order: We are offering complimentary Home Delivery within Temecula for orders of 3-bottles or more – please call us at 951-252-2003 x312 to place an order for Home Delivery or for Curbside Pick-up at the Tasting Room.
We are also offering complimentary Shipping for orders of 3-bottles or more delivering in California. Please email wineclub@avensolewinery.com to place an order to be shipped.

Bel Vino Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: “For Mom Duo” – one bottle of our Brut Bubbly and one bottle of our Peach Mango Bubbly
Price: $29.94 plus free shipping.
How to order: Please visit us at https://www.belvinowinery.com/ecommerce/package-deals.html

Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Mother’s Day program offer: Case Sale: 40% Off Wine Club | 30% Off Non-Club on these select wines.
2016 Winemaker’s Reserve Calliope Red2016 Winemaker’s Reserve Roussanne, 2016 Special Selection Rose of Sangiovese, 2017 Late Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bottle Sale: 30% Off Wine Club | 20% Off Non-Club must purchase 6+ bottles.
UPS Ground Shipping included on all orders of 3+ bottles.
30% Off all Mother’s Day Merchandise (available at the winery only)
How to order: callawaywinery.com/shop or purchase at the winery or call 951.676.4001 for curbside pick-up.

Cougar Vineyard and Winery
Mother’s Day Mimosas: Choice between Cougar Bubbly or Dolce Bubbly bottle, fixings for a Charcuterie board for two, fresh organic estate oranges you can juice at home or garnish the sparkling bubbly with.
Special Price: Wine club $40, Non-Wine Club $45.
How to Order: Call 951.767.8595 or come in, we are closed Mother’s Day so pre-order and pick-up Saturday the latest.

Doffo Winery
Date: Saturday 5/9/2020 ~ Mother’s Day Dinner and Show for locals!
Wines included: 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon and Paulina Sparkling
Take and bake dinner to include (feeds up to 4 people): Chef’s Traditional Caesar Salad, Choice of Homemade Vegetarian Lasagna OR Homemade Meat Lasagna and Italian Lemon Cream Cake for dessert.
Show Time: 7:00p.m. Zoomlink will be provided for flamenco guitarist Nocy nocymusic.com
Sale Price: $99.00 per person (Regular Price $175.00) – Must pre-order by Wednesday 5/6/20 by 2:00p.m. Be sure to ask us about our Mother’s Day Wine Bundles too!
How to order: Please call 951.676.6989 or visit www.doffowines.com. Dinner pick up between 11:30-4:30 on 5/9/2020.

Falkner Winery
Mother’s Day Special Wine Offer: 3 bottles of our red Luscious Lips wine for the price of 2.
Sale Price: Normal price is $53.85; special price $35.90.
How to order: Purchase on our website of www.falknerwinery.com or email wineclub@falknerwinery.com. Offer good May 7-11. We provide curbside pickup on Wednesdays between 11-3pm. Normal shipping in CA would be $9 but free shipping is available on any orders of 6 bottles or more.

Fazeli Cellars
Mother’s Day Special Wine Offer: 3 Pack Special: 2 Norooz & a bottle of Bubbly
Price: $60 Non-Members, $48 Members
How to order: Visit us online https://shop.fazelicellars.com/prod-391581/Mothers-Day-Special.html or via phone 951-303-3366 for curbside pick-up.

Leoness Cellars
Mother’s Day Special Wine Offer: Includes 12 bottles of 2019 White Merlot plus FREE shipping! You may also utilize our curbside pickup service at our production facility at Temecula Valley Winery Management: 27495 Diaz Rd. Temecula, 92590 {ARV: $288 + shipping, for a limited time}
Price: Members: $209 – Non-members: $239
How to order: Our call center and pickup location is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11-4pm. Call (951) 302.7601 ex 1 with your order or use the link: http://www.leonesscellars.com/mobile/dept-411056/White-Merlot-Case-Special.html
Enter promo code: MOMSMERLOT at checkout

Masia de la Vinya Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Bubbles & Brie – Join Grazing Theory and Masia Sunday, May 10th at 11 am for a virtual workshop and pairing.
Price: $55 + tax Bubble Trio (Masia NV Brut & NV Magrana, Danza’s NV Espumosa). Brie Tier Kit: $65
How to order: Bubble Tier: https://www.grazingtheory.com/events
Bubble Trio: https://www.masiadelavinya.com/dept-389751/Wine-Specials.html

Mount Palomar Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: “Give Momma some sugar” & “Thank you is best said with a bottle of red”
$25 for 2014 Castelletto Sangiovese / $15 for 2016 Cinsaut Blush, Riesling, Mont Noir Red Dessert Wine
Order online at www.mountpalomarwinery.com or at Mount Palomar Winery 11 AM to 5 PM daily for curbside pickup.

Peltzer Farm & Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Bubbles & Blooms, a locally grown mason jar bouquet from Kendall Farms, 1 bottle of DOCG Prosecco, and 1 bottle of 2019 Syrah Rosé. Plus we’re offering to schedule facetime shopping sprees in our Farmer’s Market. Items can be reserved for 24 hours and picked up in the Crush House.
Price: $85.95 ($66.85 for Crush Club members)
How to order: Pre-order on peltzerwinery.com by Wednesday 5/6 – For local delivery, email tastings@peltzers.com

Ponte Winery
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Ponte’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide takes the guess work out of buying something special for the Mom in your life. Our gift sets include a little bit of everything – from our estate grown wine to dips, seasonings, oils and more!
Price: $48-$300 – There’s something for everyone!
How to order: Visit shop.pontewinery.com and view our Mother’s Day Gift Guide, or visit our Tasting Room during regular business hours (Direct URL to our gift sets: https://shop.pontewinery.com/Shop-Wines/Wine-Flights)

Oak Mountain Winery – Cave Cafe
Mother’s Day Special Menu Offer: 24 Hour Slow Cooked Prime Rib with choice of sides, spinach salad with cherries, candied almonds, Merlot vinaigrette and Strawberry cheesecake cinnamon rolls for dessert.
Price: $89 for 4 people: 2 sides / 4lbs and $169 for 8 people: 4 sides / 8lbs
OR
Shrimp Alfredo: Sautéed Shrimp & Fettuccine inhouse made sauce, spinach salad with cherries, candied almonds,
Merlot vinaigrette.
Price: $59.95 for 4 ppl. and $119.95 for 8 ppl.
How to order: Call the winery to order in advance for pick-up 951 699-9102
We are also offering Mother’s Day bundle of 1 bottle of Red or White Wine (from select menu) 1 bag popcornopolis popcorn, 6 chocolate covered strawberries and 1 finch berry soap for $47.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Mother’s Day Special Offer: Mother’s Day Rosé Wine Bouquet – Includes 1 Bottle each of 2017 Grenache Noir Rosé, 2016 Tempranillo Rosé, 2017 Muscat Canelli Rosé, 2018 Merlot Rosé.
Price: $60, $45 for wine club
How to order: This package can be ordered at: http://store.wineresort.com/cart/prod/Mothers-Day-Ros%c3%a9-Bouquet__20MDROSEBOUQUET.aspx
Mother’s Day Pamper Pack: Includes Grapeseed Spa Robe, one bottle of Pinot Grigio Sparkling, Vineyard Rose Sparkling, South Coast Wine Glass, 1 pack of 3 Green Tea Under Eye Treatments, 1 10 fl. oz. Jar of Kopari Coconut Brown Sugar Scrub, 1 Kopari Lip Gloss.
Price: $175, $150 for club
How to order: This package can be ordered at: http://store.wineresort.com/cart/prod/Mothers-Day-Pamper-Pack__20MDPAMPERPACK.aspx
We also have various Mother’s Day merchandise that can be found here: http://store.wineresort.com/cart/cat/Home/Merchandise.aspx

Thornton Winery
Mother’s Day Special Menu offer: Thornton Winery is cooking for you with our curbside take-out. Moms show their love all year long so be sure to show your love on her special day! You can still treat mom and make sure she does not do the cooking.
Menu: Slow Braised Short Rib, choice of two sides and Meyer’s lemon cheesecake for dessert!
Price: $35.00 plus tax
How to order: Pre order by Friday May 8th (951) 699-0099.

Wiens Family Cellars
Mother Day Wine Specials: Special packages are available from Tuesday 5th through Monday 11th
Rose Package $51 member – $63.75 non-member
1 bottle each 2018 Rose of Pinot Noir, 018 Pink Crowded and Brut Rose
White Wine Package $54 member – $67.50 non-member
1 bottle each 2018 Albarino, 2018 Fume Blanc and 2019 White Crowded
Red Wine Package $87 member – $108.75 non-member
1 bottle each 2018 Red Crowded, 2017 Dos Melodias and 2017 Domestique
Shipping included for orders over $50. Flat Fee $10 for orders under $50.
How to order: Visit us online www.wienscellars.com or call the winery at 951.694.9892 for curbside pick-up.

Wilson Creek Winery
Mother’s Day Dinner Offer: Mother’s Day Dinner Packages – complete meal – serves 8
Price: Prime Rib – $295. | Glazed Ham – $250. | Citrus/Herb Roasted Chicken – $275
How to order: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/dept-417070/Creekside-Grille-Preorders.html
Mother’s Day Wine Package: Nero d’Avola, Blanc De Blanc, Cellar Select Chardonnay
Price: $109.97
How to order: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/prod-417072/Mothers-Day-Wine-Package.html
Special Celebration Label Sparkling Wine 30% off. Price $15
How to order: https://shop.wilsoncreekwinery.com/prod-417072/Mothers-Day-Wine-Package.html

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Temecula Wine Pairings for Your Thanksgiving Table

Friday, November 1st, 2019

In just a few weeks, your tummy will be rumbling and your mouth salivating with the promise of the once-a-year feast that is Thanksgiving. America’s biggest food holiday serves up the chance to do some serious (and seriously fun) fun wine and food pairing. Here in Temecula Valley, Southern California’s Wine Country, we’ve got the perfect wine pairings to go with each Thanksgiving course. No matter what your budget, this simple guide will have your friends and family giving thanks to you for making their holiday meal extra special.

Light Appetizers + Mellow Whites
These bright yet mellow whites pair well with lighter dishes to kick off your Thanksgiving meal. The floral notes of a viognier complement a fall salad of pears, blue cheese and walnuts; a selection of fruit and cheeses match nicely with a chardonnay; and light pinot grigio will sing next to your pumpkin soup.

Callaway Vineyard & Winery 2016 Special Selection Chardonnay; $25.00

Danza Del Sol Winery, 2017 Pinot Grigio; $30.00

Briar Rose Winery 2017 Estate Viognier; $28.00

Herbacious Side Dishes + Spicy Reds
The spicy notes derived from these unique wine grapes pair especially well with stuffings and gravies seasoned with holiday herbs like sage, thyme and rosemary. Having a vegetarian Thanksgiving? These wines work well with earthy mushroom and winter squash dishes too!

Mount Palomar 2014 Castelleto Sangiovese; $40.00

Leoness Cellars 2016 Cellar Selection Zinfandel; $42.00

Doffo Vineyards 2016 Syrah; $62.00

Poultry & Meats + Bold Reds
Whether it’s wine or food, everyone looks forward to the main course. The dark fruit flavors in these big reds will enhance similar flavors in your herb-rubbed turkey or peppered roasts. Whether you’re serving poultry, lamb or beef, all three are bold enough to stand up to a rich meat course.

Baily Winery, 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon; $40.00

Monte De Oro Winery 2015 Merlot; $32.00

Wiens 2017 Reserve Tempranillo; $65.00

Dessert + Sweet Wines
Your Thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without dessert, and no dessert is complete without wine – at least that’s how we feel! Apple pies and pear tarts are practically made to pair with a sweet moscato, where red delicious apples, kiwi , pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones.

Somerset Winery 2018 Muscat; $23.00

South Coast Winery Black Jack Port; 18.00

Robert Renzoni Vineyards 2017 Moscato; $22

One Meal, One Wine
On a wine-buying budget? Or just looking to simplify your evening by serving one wine from start to finish? Any of these four, well-priced wines fit the bill. Each is lighter on the palate, with only subtle hints of sweetness making them suitable to drink from appetizers all the way to dessert. Bon appetit!

Maurice Car’rie 2017 Chenin Blanc; $20.95

Miramonte Winery 2018 Rosé; $28.00

Falkner Winery 2018 Sauvignon Blanc; $27.95

Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery 2014 “50/50” Blend; 45.00

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POTATO FOCACCIA WITH OLIVES AND ROSEMARY

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Potato Focassia with Olives & Rosemary

Welcome guests to your home for dinner with a glass of your favorite Temecula Valley rosé and a slice of warm olive focaccia. If you’ve baked the focaccia hours before, you can reheat it quickly in a hot oven, although it’s plenty tasty at room temperature, too. Pack it on a picnic or a hike with your favorite salami and cheeses. Or adapt the topping to showcase a seasonal fresh vegetable like halved cherry tomatoes or strips of roasted sweet pepper. Adding cooked potato to the dough produces an especially moist and tasty result.

Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 pound (250 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 3⁄4 cups (465 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 1⁄2 teaspoons (8 g) kosher or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating and brushing
  • 24 California olives, pitted and halved
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary or dried oregano, finely crumbled

Directions

Put the potatoes in a small saucepan and add water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Do not add salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced, 15 minutes or more, depending on size.

Remove from the heat, set aside 1 1∕3 cups (330 ml) of the potato water, and then drain the potatoes. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and pass them through a ricer or food mill fitted with a fine disk into a bowl. If you don’t have a ricer or food mill, mash the potatoes well with a potato masher.

Refrigerate the potato water until it cools to 105° to 115°F (40° to 46°C). Put 1∕3 cup (80 ml) of the cooled potato water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let soften for about 3 minutes, then whisk with a fork to dissolve and let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk to blend.

Add the olive oil, riced potato, and the remaining 1 cup (250 ml) potato water to the proofed yeast. Stir to combine, then add the flour gradually, stirring with a wooden spoon until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Keeping the dough in the bowl, knead it gently by hand until smooth, adding just enough additional flour to keep it from sticking to your hand. You should not need more than 1 to 2 tablespoons. Shape the dough into a ball and coat lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 1∕2 to 2 hours.

Punch the dough down. Using 1 tablespoon olive oil, grease the bottom and sides of an 11-by-17-inch (28-by-43 cm) rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. With well-oiled fingers, poke and prod the dough into a rectangle that fits the pan. The dough is elastic and will want to spring back. If it resists your attempts to flatten it enough to cover the pan, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again. If it still springs back from the edges, let it rest for 5 minutes longer and try once more. You should be able to flatten it sufficiently after a couple of rests, but don’t worry if the dough doesn’t completely fill the pan. Let rise, uncovered, until puffy, about 1 1∕2 hours.

While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). If you have a pizza stone (or baking tiles), put it in the oven on the middle rack to preheat—ideally for at least 30 minutes before baking.

Arrange the olives, evenly spaced, on the surface of the focaccia, then gently press them into place. Brush the surface of the dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then scatter the rosemary and a little salt on top. Place the pan on the baking stone, if using, and bake until the focaccia is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet back to front halfway through.

Immediately slide a long metal offset spatula under the focaccia to make sure it is not sticking to the baking sheet, then slide the focaccia onto a rack to cool. Slice into desired portions with a bread knife and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes one 11-by-17-inch (28 by-43 cm) focaccia

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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GRILLED SAUSAGES WITH FIG AND ONION JAM

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Grilled Sausages with Fig & Onion Jam

This recipe couldn’t be more perfect for a Father’s Day or summer BBQ. And chances are, you’ll find many other uses for this fragrant sweet-tart jam. Enjoy it on a grilled-cheese or ham sandwich or serve it with a cheese or charcuterie board. It’s the perfect complement for fresh goat cheese or a tangy Cheddar. Serve it with grilled sausages and pair with your favorite Temecula Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.

Ingredients
¼ pound (125 g) dried Calimyrna figs, stems removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, about 10 ounces (315 g), halved and thinly sliced from root to stem
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, or more to taste
4 fresh Italian sausages, hot or sweet, 5 to 6 ounces (155 g to 185 g) each

Directions
Put the figs in a small saucepan with 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, thyme, and fennel seed. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, golden-brown, and sweet, about 30 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent burning.

While the onions cook, prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

Lift the figs out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and slice thinly. Add the figs to the onions, along with the sherry vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the fig-cooking liquid. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid has been absorbed and the flavors have merged, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste for seasoning. The jam should be moist with a balanced sweet-tart flavor.

Grill the sausages until they are nicely browned all over and feel firm when probed, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately with the warm jam.

Suggested Pairings:

Akash Winery ~ 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – Bright aromas of pomegranate & fresh raspberry with hints of vanilla bean. Tart and round on the palate with tastes of cranberry, dark pepper, vanilla and cherry.

Chapin Family Vineyards ~ 2015 Syrah – Full-bodied taste, flavors of chocolate, blueberry and caramel with a hint of vanilla and finishes with a hint of spicy peppers.

Falkner Winery ~ 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – This delicious Cabernet has wonderful flavors of blueberry, blackberry, coco, and licorice on the finish. This is an easy to drink Cabernet without heavy tannins on the finish.

Leoness Cellars ~ 2015 Cellar Selection Syrah – This Syrah offers sweet blackberry and black cherry flavors complemented by hints of tobacco, black licorice and vanilla.

Photo and recipe courtesy of the Wine Institute of California.

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Wine Country Recipe ~ Dungeness Crab Frittata

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

Slice this frittata into thin wedges for a passed hors d’oeuvre or serve more generous portions with a tuft of salad as a first course. To dress it up for the holidays, top wedges with a dollop of crème fraîche and California sturgeon caviar. Serve with your favorite Temecula Valley Chardonnay or Sparkling Wine.

Serves 6

Ingredients
½ pound (250 g) fingerling potatoes
1-1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
6 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
¼ pound fresh Dungeness crabmeat

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Put the potatoes in a baking dish just large enough to hold them. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, season with salt, and turn to coat with the oil and salt. Bake until tender when pierced, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool, then slice into ½-inch (12 mm) pieces. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with ½ teaspoon salt, several grinds of pepper, and the dill and chives. Stir in the crabmeat and potatoes, reserving a few larger pieces of crab for placing on the surface of the frittata later.

Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil. When it is hot, add the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to distribute the crab and potato evenly. Cook without stirring for about 2 minutes, until the eggs begin to set, then place the reserved chunks of crabmeat on top. Continue cooking without stirring until the frittata is about two-thirds set, with some patches of liquid egg on the surface. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the surface is firm to the touch, about 6 minutes longer.

Remove from the oven and slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Let rest at least 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped dill, then slice into wedges and serve. The frittata is best warm, not hot.

Suggested Pairings: 

Callaway Vineyard & Winery ~ 2016 Winemaker’s Reserve Chardonnay
Flavors of green apple, tropical fruit and hints of honeysuckle. Floral scents and an oaky finish will leave you longing for more. 

Oak Mountain 2017 Chardonnay ~ This chardonnay is lightly oaked with French oak imparting rich flavors of vanilla, butterscotch, creme brulee and caramel.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa Brut Sparkling ~ Crisp acidity and delicate yeastiness are enveloped in a rich tropical fruit aroma. A perfect change of pace!

Wilson Creek Winery Brut Sparkling Wine ~ Light and refreshing, and very fun. Great in Mimosas! A fun party sparkling wine.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wine Institute of California

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