Temecula Valley: SoCal’s Award Winning Wine Country
Temecula Valley, located in Southern California, is home to more than 50 wineries. But that’s not all it has to offer — there’s also charming Old Town Temecula, farm-to-table cuisine, relaxing spas, Pechanga Casino, picturesque hot air ballooning and more. It is a year-round vacation destination pouring award-winning wines as well as craft beers and spirits. The emerging and evolving culinary scene, small town atmosphere, and outdoor recreation and entertainment in Temecula Valley culminate to create a spirited destination inspired by the vine.
Leave the kids at home for a romantic getaway with your spouse in beautiful SoCal wine country. Here’s an itinerary to take advantage of all that Temecula Valley has to offer.
Where to Stay in Temecula Valley
Ponte Vineyard Inn is located in the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country. Surrounded by nearly 300 acres of mature vineyards and by views of rolling hills, the Inn is a short drive from most of Southern California.
The owners have farmed their vineyards since 1984, opened the winery in 2003, became innkeepers in 2012, and have since become the benchmark for great service among Temecula wineries. Their motto is “If you like it, it’s good wine.”™
The 90-room picturesque Inn offers elegant interiors, fine amenities, and a relaxing ambiance. Indulge in wine tasting and dining with breathtaking vineyard views. While staying there, indulge in spa treatments, hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, golf, and more.
Wineries in Temecula Valley Wine Country
With more than 50 wineries in the area, it’s hard to choose where to go wine tasting. Here are a few of my favorites, featuring award-winning wines, views of the vineyards, and craft cuisine.
Altisima Winery is the passion project of a few local families coming together to embrace and honor the Spanish roots of our region. From a one-street town to a world-class wine destination, they have watched Temecula blossom, and are committed to enhancing the wine country experience for the region. Their onsite restaurant, Gaspar’s has a Spanish-inspired menu including delectable bites, Spanish classics, and modern California fare with a twist.
Nestled in the picturesque rolling hills of the De Portola Wine Trail — the famed ‘Wine Row” of Southern California’s spectacular Temecula Valley wine country — Fazeli Cellars soars as a state-of-the-art winery offering a combination of stunning architecture, breathtaking scenic beauty and the finest selection of boutique wines the region has to offer.
Owner Bizhan “BJ” Fazeli fulfilled a life-long passion in the acquisition and development of his Temecula vineyards/winery. Since its first vintage in 2006, Fazeli Cellars today boasts more than 20 varietals of boutique wines from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah to Mourvedre, and Viognier to Chardonnay that have earned numerous prestigious festival competition awards — and the loyalty of enthusiasts across the region.
The history of Akash Winery begins with a family — a mom, dad, and son with a vision. A photo of a vineyard, perched on a fireplace mantle 20 years ago, embodied the Patel family dream. In 2010, that vision took root in the sandy loam of the beautiful Temecula Valley, when they purchased a 20-acre parcel of prime vineyard land. Working alongside renowned winemaker Renato Sais, the Patels craft wines that are both unique and familiar. Two distinct labels, one sourced from their meticulously farmed estate vineyards and the other from neighboring vines, offer something for every palate.
Transportation to Temecula Wineries
Leave the driving to someone else while touring wine country. There are a couple of fun options to get around. Hop into a tandem motorcycle sidecar with Temecula Sidecar Tours. Experience wine country in a new, exciting way as you embark on an adventure through the vineyards and on the open road! Enjoy a variety of different wines from some of the best award-winning wineries in the area and learn about the vast history surrounding Temecula Valley Wine Country.
With a group? Climb aboard the open-air trolley with Temecula Cable Car Wine Tours. Guests will enjoy riding in a fully restored 1914 cable car from San Francisco. Riding high allows optimal views of the vineyards
Where to Dine in Temecula Valley
Many of the wineries offering everything from light bites to full-service dining, but the culinary scene in Temecula Valley offers exquisite farm-to-table fare. Here are some options worth checking out when you’re in the area.
Bolero Restaurante in Europa Village
The newest addition to Europa Village, Bolero is a place for the young at heart. While their French and Italian villages may enjoy a slower, more romantic ambience, this lively Spanish winery is a full-bodied experience-vibrant with rich colors, bold flavors, and an air of spontaneity.
Indulge in tapas and microbrews at Bolero Restaurante, delight in the luscious flavors of Bolero wines throughout the village, and savor the experience at Brio, a Spanish boutique offering olive oil tastings and mementos from your travels. Step into old-world Spain as you revel in a backdrop of cypress and olive trees, fountains, and wrought iron, and breathe in the rich smells of leather and wood. Whether you’re simply escaping to our borders for the day, or continuing your journey at one of our private casitas or event spaces, adventure awaits at Bolero…set to the tune of a flamenco guitar.
For a quick breakfast pastry and coffee, stop by Bottega Italia. “All you love about Italy” is being brought to Old Town Temecula by Alex & Charity Prestifilippo, owners of Gourmet Italia, Poggio Leano Winery & Vineyard, Spuntino Pizzeria and The Bar Next Door! After 20 years of bringing you the best Italian food experience in the valley, premium wines and your local hang outs… they are excited to bring you all things Italian; Caffetteria, Pizzeria, Gelateria, Ristorante, Pinsa Romana and Wine Bar! Alex has a great passion for his origin and heritage. He has proudly and successfully brought both worlds together through his restaurants and wine clubs. With Bottega Italia, you will get to experience touches of Italy that American’s and the rest of the world have fallen in love with, without having to leave the country.
The Cellar at Ponte Vineyard Inn
The Cellar is a refined hideaway and Temecula Valley Wine Country’s premier full-service bar. Indulge in signature cocktails, craft beer, gourmet entrées, and more.
Devilicious Eatery & Tap Room
Satiate your inner demon at Devilicious Eatery with “food so good, it’s bad.” They originated as award-winning grills on wheels, driving through hunger by serving up delicious gourmet sandwiches and sides. They appeared on the “Great Food Truck Race” Season 2 and were seen on the Cooking Channel’s “Eat Street” and Time Warner Cable’s “Let’s Eat.”
Their concept thrives on taking ordinary food and twist it up to new heights of flavor and ingenuity and pairing our awesome creations with craft beer & local wines. They serve up our Butter Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese, All Crab Crab Cake on a artisan sour dough English muffin, Duck Confit Grilled cheese with gruyere & mozzarella cheeses and honey port reduction and other fiendishly scrumptious fare. Be sure to ask about the hidden Speakeasy.
Where to Shop in Old Town Temecula
I was surprised to see such a charming Western-themed Old Town in Temecula with cute shops, restaurants and wine tasting rooms. I left with my bags filled with locally-produced olive oil, lavender-scented trinkets, cute summer dresses, and adorable home decor. Here’s where I shopped.
Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants
Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants offers a robust selection of over 350 spices & blends and more than 100 loose-leaf teas, as well as unique gift and specialty items. Since 2008, they have proven to be a favorite for locals & out-of-town guests who want something fresh & more exotic than what the grocery store chains offer. Locally renowned chefs find the spices to be the perfect culinary accompaniment to Temecula’s award-winning wines & beers.
Temecula Olive Oil Company
Temecula Olive Oil Company was founded with pride in Temecula, California in 2001. As a family-owned and operated business, Temecula Olive Oil Co. takes great pride in every California olive oil product they produce. From the start, they made a commitment to use only 100% California olive fruit of the highest quality and never use chemicals or heat treatments of any kind. On their olive ranch (blessed with an ideal Mediterranean climate) they practice sustainable agriculture and grow and harvest a wide variety of olives to bring you their unique blends of California olive oils. Be sure to stop by the tasting room!
Temecula Lavender Company
The Temecula Lavender Company was born out of an initial love for the herb Lavender; the herb of peace, purification, sleep and longevity. In an effort to incorporate this herb into daily life, they began creating more and more ways in which to enjoy its healthful and aromatic qualities. The result is a small lavender farm located in the Temecula Valley Wine Country that grows and produces a line of pure, natural and healthful lavender products for the bath, body and home. The products are always hand crafted in small batches, using pure ingredients without artificial colorants, perfumes or harsh preservatives. They use only the highest grade essential oils and never use fragrances or harmful petroleum products.
Pechanga Resort Casino
If you’re in the area, enjoy an overnight stay the Pechanga Resort Casino. Here are just a few of the amenities:
- Accommodations: There are two hote
- l towers and an RV Resort.
- Restaurants: For a delicious meal with golf course views check out Journey’s End. There are 16 dining options on property that serve everything Italian, American, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican and Thai cuisine.,
- Golf: Play a round of golf, get a lesson from a golf pro, or hit some balls at Journey at Pechanga Driving Range. The par-72, links-style award-winning course was designed by noted architects, Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest. As one of the premier public courses in Southern California, Journey combines breathtaking views of the Temecula Wine Country and the surrounding rolling hills with a playable, picturesque course.
- Spa: Indulge in a luxurious spa treatment. Spa Pechanga in Temecula is inspired by the reverence for native botanicals and the strength of the Great Oak known as Wi’aasal. Th therapies integrate the healing powers of nature and the highest quality of service. Every one of their signature treatments embraces their mission of calming the mind, nurturing the body and rejuvenating the spirit. The spa features men’s and women’s lounges with sauna, steam room, lockers, hydrotherapy pools, main spa pool, outdoor cabanas, use of the quiet room with specialty teas and spa snacks, and use of the fitness center.
- Casino: Try your luck at slots, table games, off-track betting, bingo, poker, and high limit gambling.
Disclosure: Accommodation, dining and activities were provided by the Visit Temecula in order to do my review, but all opinions are my own.