Temecula Valley Wine Country is touted as the next Napa Valley of California. With the ocean breezes flowing through the valley’s rich soil, vintners are seeing incredible results â€“ already there are 30 wineries to visit with more to come. It’s also an ideal wine tasting getaway for those in Southern California as an alternate to Santa Barbara County’s wines. In only an hour and half south from Los Angeles or an hour north from San Diego, Temecula Valley Wine Country offers miles of vineyards to explore in some zany ways.
Artisanal Winemakers of Temecula:
With all the buzz about Temecula Valley Wine Country being the up-and-coming wine destination, I had to see for myself. And with all my excursions,Â I seek out artisanal craftspeople passionate about their products. Here are just a few boutique wines to sip and savor when in Temecula:
Europa Village – Take a whirlwind trip of Europe as Europa Village brings three European countries together in a one-stop wine tasting tour. At the beautifully designed Europa Village tasting room, enjoy wines inspired by Spain, France and Italy. Donâ€™t miss tasting the Rhone Valley-inspired Câ€™est La Vie 2007 En Vie or the Spanish-style Bolero 2007 Tempranillo.Â Insist on tasting out of theirÂ unique Ravenscroft Amplifier Vintner’s Tasting glass. For VIP treatment and expert wine guidance, ask for their on site sommelier, Stefano Butto, straight from Piacenza Italy. Open Daily, 33475 La Serena Way.
Palumbo Family Winery â€“ A bit off the main wine-tasting drag of Rancho California Road sits a country-modern wine tasting room, complete with dogs, antique cars and rocking chair to contemplate in.Â Donâ€™t miss trying their â€˜velvet-in-the-mouthâ€™ 2007 Merlot/Syrah or the 2007 Cabernet Franc â€œCatfish Vineyardâ€ whose grapes can be seen via the tasting roomâ€™s window. Open Fri-Sun, 40150 Barksdale Circle.
Lumiere Winery â€“ The family-run boutique winery sheds a refreshing light on Bordeaux style wines. Their newly opened tasting room offers stunning vineyard views to â€œsip backâ€, in their words, and enjoy the Southern California wine country sunset. Open Fri-Sun, 39555 Calle Contento.
Wacky Wine Touring:
Weâ€™ve all done the rustle-with-the-map, in-and-out of cars, picking-straws-who-has-to-be-designated- driver wine touring. Itâ€™s a hassle and some responsible soul misses out on sampling the fruits of the vine. In Temecula Valley Wine Country, try a new twist to wine tasting with these wacky wine touring ideas:
Go rugged with Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tours. Visit 3-4 wineries on an off-road adventure with panoramic views of the valley. Includes wine tasting fees, gourmet lunch and a logo wine glass. Approx 4 hr. From $108 pp.
Saddle up and tour Temeculaâ€™s wine country with Wine Country Trails By Horseback.Â Ride gentle horses on vineyard trails that offer an up-close and personal experience of the land, vines and views. Ideal for either a family outing or a romantic excursion with the one you want to woo.
Fly Like an Eagle:
Soar over Temecula Valley Wine Country in a one-hour hot air balloon ride while toasting the sunrise with local champagne with California Dreamin. Includes two tasting tickets to Vindemia and South Coast Winery. From $138 pp.