Wine Country Itinerary: Temecula

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By Robert P. Farmer

Among California's winemaking regions, Temecula may be one of the last unknowns. That is, to those who have not yet discovered it. For those who are familiar with it, they know that it is a rare find, a hidden gem nestled midway between Riverside and San Diego, where more than twenty wineries are taking advantage of an excellent microclimate for grape growing to produce award-winning premium wines. The AVA is situated at an 1100-foot elevation and enjoys cooler summer nights to counter the hot afternoons. It also makes for some gorgeous scenery along the wine tasting trail.
Stop 1 Baily Vineyard & Winery
One of the great emporiums of Temecula Wine Country, Baily originated in 1986, but came into its own earlier this decade with the unveiling of a dazzling 8000-square-foot facility, including a showcase of wine tanks, hundreds of barrels, and a restaurant and café. The owners also operate two restaurants in Old Town Temecula. The winery is known for a great cabernet and merlot, as well as a selection of red meritages and a well-balanced chardonnay. The tasting room, with its assortment of wine-related gifts and knick-knacks, is a friendly convivial place.
Tasting Room:  open daily 11am-5pm, 33440 La Serena, 951-9463
Tasting Fee: Regular - $5, Premium - $10

Stop 2 Falkner Winery
With a commanding hilltop location, Falkner is equally popular as a special-occasion destination as it is among fans of its great Bordeaux-style wines. The facility, which includes a lovely and very popular restaurant, Pinnacle, offers sweeping valley views from its 1500-foot-elevation perch. Rounding out the offerings are a gift shop and art gallery. Though it's a popular spot for weddings and group events, Falkner manages to maintain a family-like approach to hospitality.
Tasting Room: open daily 10am-5pm, 40620 Calle Contento, 951-676-8231
Tasting Fee: $8 - $16

Stop 3 Wilson Creek Winery
Wilson Creek is a beautiful vineyard and grounds with gracious gardens popular for picnics, weddings, and special events. Taking its name from a small creek that the Wilson family named for themselves, the winery produces award-winning wines that maintain a rabid following. The tasting room is a large, lively space, with a reputation for extending the family atmosphere to its visitors. Recently, Wilson Creek upped the ante with the addition of a new restaurant, Creekside Grille, which offers vineyard-side dining and a menu designed to pair with the winery's varietals.
Tasting Room: open 11am-5pm daily, 35960 Rancho California Rd., 951-699-9463
Tasting Fee: $10

Stop 4 Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Decidedly smaller in both scope and scale from its big-facility neighbors, Cougar is the labor of love from a husband and wife team who first produced wine in Washington State--their winery takes its name from Cougar Mountain there. After relocating and setting up shop, Temecula's Cougar debuted in 2006 and introduced Southern Californians to their skill at producing Italian-varietal wines. Their sangiovese, primativo, and pinot grigio have quickly amassed a following. The winery is laid back and casual, with their pet dogs meandering the olive-tree and rose-studded grounds. The tasting room features a gift shop and deli and picnic grounds are available to soak it all in.
Tasting Room: open 11am-6pm daily, 39870 De Portola Road, 951-491-0825
Tasting Fee: Regular tasting $10, Premium (includes Reidel glass + port tasting) $15

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6 Comments

please email me information on this winery tour. I am interested in doing this tour for my husband for valentines day.
Thank you,
Sophy

I am interested in taking my husband to this winery tour for his birthday. It would be our first time attending a winery. I would truly appreciate more information.

Thank You,

Dana Ganuza

I'm looking for wine dinners at wineries or restaurants in the Temecula area in Oct/Nov. Are there any similar to those in the Paso Robles area?

I suggest you check out the events calendar for Temecula here:
http://www.temecula.winecountry.com/special_interest/current_events/oct.html

New events are being posted all the time so check back!

You can contact the wineries directly for any additional information.

I am from Brazil and I will be in Temecula for a few day in June.
I'd like to visit and buy the best wines & wineryies from Temecula region.
Could you sugest me some

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