Exploring Temecula Valley Wine Country
Matt and I recently took a mini trip to San Diego right after the Thomas Fire. We were originally planning on going up to Napa/Sonoma, but the planning got to be too much. We both put Napa on the back burner until we can hire a driver and ball out on tours and bottles.
So we decided to visit Temecula Valley Wine Country for a day. At tasting rooms in Santa Barbara, people from LA reference Temecula and always ask “have you been??”
Now, wine snobs in Santa Barbara don’t have the best things to say about the wine in Temecula. This drives me nuts because everyone goes wine tasting for different reasons. Yes, some people just go tasting to try the wine, but most people go for an experience. I find it interesting to visit different wine regions and see what they do to cater to the market that brings in the bucks.
Temecula is located 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego. It’s hot in the summer, cooler in the winter. It’s known for its diverse selection of varietals, good places to eat, little bnb’s, not to mention some great outlet shopping.
We visited three little spots that were all fun in their own little way. I’d recommend all of them to learn more about the wine industry, how wineries are catering to their audience, what sells, what people like, and learn about how different wineries tell their stories.
This little spot was so cute! It was originally built by a former Disneyland Imagineer. He built his wife her own Snow White cottage and used pieces of different Disneyland rides to put the finishing touches on it. Even the lanterns on the exterior are from the old Haunted Mansion. They played Disney songs which made me extra happy. All the wine is grown and produced on site. Pro tip: Ask your server a lot of questions or they won’t tell you about anything. Reservations are required. There is usually a 2-1 Groupon available! We didn’t buy any wine.
Peltzer’s tasting room was gorgeous. If Joanna Gaines had designed a tasting room this would be it. It’s a large barn with high ceilings and exposed beams. Long bars surround the perimeter of the barn and there is a outdoor patio with some cool water features. Their tasting menu includes a bread pairing which was fun. They source their grapes from all over California. The server didn’t know much about the wine, offering us a laminated chart about the wines when we started asking questions. Their bottle prices were reasonable, but we didn’t take anything home. However, I was obsessed with their retail. All very Joanna Gaines-y again. We took home a coffee mug.
We ended our day at Lumiere Winery which is one of the oldest wineries in the Temecula Valley. The tasting room was forgettable, and they only had one employee in there who made sure to tell us she was the only employee in there. The aged their whites which I found strange.
But their reds. Oh my goodness. Everything they produce is grown on site, a far cry from what Peltzer was selling. We had a Cab that was 10 years old and retailing for $160/bottle and is a fantastic. We ended up going home with a Cab/Merlot blend that should age for another 5 years or so. Don’t expect a fabulous experience, and I personally wouldn’t even bother with their whites, but do the nicer flight and try through some of their awesome reds!
We’re glad we took the time to visit Temecula and would go back! Do you have any Temecula Valley favorites?