Wine Country Itinerary: Temecula

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By Courtney Cochran

A nascent wine region as far as California goes, Temecula has only truly gained speed as a top-notch wine travel destination in the past 10 years.  Today, the region situated 100 miles south of Los Angeles and just 60 miles north of San Diego boasts more than two dozen wineries and a growing number of inns, B&Bs, hotels and restaurants ready to receive visitors who are willing to give So Cal wine country a try.  Most of the area's wineries are conveniently situated along a meandering stretch of Rancho California Road just outside of the city of Temecula, making winery hopping an easy task for travelers. 
Winery 1 - Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards
Dubbed "the friendliest tasting room in the valley" by its own press engine, Wilson Creek's gregarious staff makes good on the winery's motto while delivering sips of some of the valley's most intriguing wines. Be sure to admire the gracious arches of the grand Mission revival-style building on your way in, and don't miss the winery's superb Zinfandel once inside. For the finale, be sure to ask for a sample of Wilson's "Decadencia" Chocolate Port; it's nothing short of - you guessed it - decadent.
Tasting Room: 35960 Rancho California Rd., Temecula, CA 92591; Open daily 10am-5pm
Tasting Fee: $10 per person

Winery 2 - South Coast Winery
The expansive South Coast Winery, Resort & Spa is a must-see stop on any Temecula tour. Drop into the spot's large tasting room to sip Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah while gazing at the property's impressive wall mural depicting the Temecula Valley, its wildlife and the surrounding mountains. After tasting, indulge in lunch at the Vineyard Rose, the winery's on-site restaurant featuring award-winning fare from Tuscan-born, Four Seasons-trained chef Alessandro Serni. The menu features upscale classics such as antipasto plates and prime rib as well as more casual fare including BLT sandwiches, burgers and salads.
Tasting Room: 34843 Rancho California Rd., Temecula, CA 92591; Open daily 10am-6pm
Tasting Fee: 5 tastes for $10, or 5 Reserve-level tastes for $15

Winery 3 - Miramonte Winery
If ever there was a winery custom-tailored for entertaining, it's Miramonte. A boutique winery producing just about 5,000 cases each year, Miramonte has made a name for itself with its lively Friday and Saturday night parties (Fridays feature Flamenco lessons) that draw throngs of festive locals. Happily, the party spirit can still be felt during the daytime at the welcoming winery, where tasting room staff are eager to tell visitors about the winery's sparkling wines, old vine Zinfandel and signature Bordeaux blend, Opulente.
Tasting Room: 33410 Rancho California Rd., Temecula, CA 92591; Open 11am-6pm daily (until 9pm Friday & Saturday)
Tasting Fee: 4 for $6 for a selection of "lighter, fruitier" wines, or choose any 5 wines for $10

Winery 4 - Callaway Vineyard & Winery
If you recognize the name Callaway, that's because the winery's founder, Ely Callaway, was none other than the man whose name adorns countless golf clubs, balls and apparel worn the world over. Originally founded in 1969, the winery is today recognized not only for its pioneering role in establishing what we know as modern-day Temecula wine country but also for its spot-on classy facility and friendly staff. If time permits, take the complimentary winery tour (offered on weekends every hour on the hour between 11am and 4pm), which takes participants through Calloway's vineyards, crush pad, fermentation cellars and barrel room; when the tour lets out you'll be primed to take in views of the setting sun over the coastal range. Ah, wine country.
Tasting Room: 32720 Rancho California Rd., Temecula, CA 92589; Open daily 10am-5pm
Tasting Fee: 6 wines for $10; includes souvenir glass

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5 Comments

I’ve been to all the wineries in Temecula and researched the Internet for the Top 10 Temecula Wines. Wilson Creek received a Web Wine Know Award for their Almond Champagne and Callaway got a Web Wine Know Award for their Winemaker’s Reserve Meritage.

Finding a good wine is getting more difficult because there are so many wineries now. Temecula has maybe two wineries that craft good wines: Hart and South Coast. Joe Hart makes the best Sauvignon Blanc in the valley and most of his reds are good. John McPherson the wine maker at South Coast makes a great Bordeaux style red.
With that said, if you are looking for the great wine experience then head up to Paso Robles or Napa.

There is no mention of the great wineries on the De Portola Wine Trail. This is a great region of Temecula, not as crowded or with as much congestion. There are 9 tasting rooms here, and most are family owned and operated. You will get great experiences, especially at the seated tastings at GBV on the weekends. The wines on this street are handcrafted and artisan wines...so for your next trip to Temecula, go the De Portola Wine trail. This street runs parallel to Rancho California Road at connects at Anza (South Coast Winery )and Glen Oaks Road (just past Wilson).

That's because the wineries along DePortola are not in the 'official' wine country. Leonesse being one of those great wineries not located in wine country, but making killer wines never-the-less THANKS to winemaker, Tim Kramer!

I didn't see mention of Monte de Oro Winery. This was by far the best winery on my trip to Wine Country. The Synergy 65 blend was a fine example of what this region is capable of.

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