When you have to deal with the hustle and bustle that so often comes with life in fast-paced Southern California, sometimes it’s nice to take a day to relax and unwind with family and friends in a tranquil setting. Luckily, this is very easy to do with Temecula being such a short journey away! Wine tasting has always been a great way to have fun and make memories, and Temecula Valley has no shortage of wineries where you can do just that. This beautiful region has been a staple in California wine making for decades, and boasts an unusually diverse variety of grapes, so there’s something for everyone.
So, what could be more stress-free than sipping on a glass of quality crafted wine while looking out at a valley of rolling vineyards? Knowing that you won’t have to get in your car and drive home at the end of the day! Roman Worldwide Transportation is a preferred vendor for the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association, and offers seamlessly planned, round-trip winery tours. We can help you custom tailor a private winery tour, be it for a small group of friends or a corporate event, so you can focus on having fun.
With so many wineries available in the area, it can be a bit perplexing trying to decide which ones to visit. The average tour visits between four to six wineries in a day, and there are over 35 wineries available. However, we’re here to help you out with that as well!
The first thing that you’ll want to determine when planning a winery tour is how many people you’ll have. This will help you narrow down which wineries to visit. For example, some of the smaller, boutique wineries might be overwhelmed if you show up with upwards of 20 people. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an intimate wine tasting experience with three of your closest friends, the party-type atmosphere of some of the bigger wineries may be off-putting for you. Choosing your wineries really depends on what kind of experience you’re looking to have. Fortunately, there’s a great variety, and we’re more than happy to assist you with booking your reservations.
If you’re looking to visit some of the more popular, hip wineries in Temecula, South Coast Winery, Wilson Creek, and Leoness Cellars are all favorites. Among the largest wineries of Temecula Valley, they offer a great environment for bigger parties and events like corporate tours or bachelor/bachelorette parties. South Coast Winery is popular with the younger crowd, and is described as having a more “party toned” atmosphere. They have a large tasting room and beautiful views. Wilson Creek also offers beautiful grounds, live music on the weekends, and has a specialty almond champagne that is to die for. Leoness Cellars has huge, breathtaking grounds with sweeping views of the valley that are perfect for taking a stroll after you’ve chosen your favorite wine.
If you’re looking for something more intimate, there is no shortage of smaller, boutique wineries. These wineries specialize in crafting smaller batches of high quality wine, and for the owners it’s a labor of love, so you’re likely to find that the servers are extremely knowledgeable. One of our favorites is Chapin Family vineyards; a small winery with a country setting that makes for a charming experience. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience, Foot Path Winery is run by the owner, so you can speak with him personally as you enjoy his specialty (organic, earthy reds) in a rustic barn. Hart Winery is a small, quaint winery which also happens to be one of the oldest in the valley, and also specializes in reds.
If you’re looking for something in between, Lorimar, Falkner, and Ponte are all great choices. Lorimar offers a Mediterranean feel and while their tasting room is on the smaller side, they have a great patio, live music, and an outdoor pizza oven. Falkner has an outdoor tasting patio, and is known for its specialty heated, mulled wine, “Hot Lips,” as well as their sangria. Ponte Winery offers a great variety of wines for parties of varied tastes, and has aesthetically pleasing grounds and architecture.
Lunch is another vital component of any wine tasting tour. It’s important to have food in your stomach while tasting to absorb all of that wine! Ten different wineries have restaurants on their grounds, so it’s a good idea to include one of these in your list of wineries to visit. The Meritage at Callaway Vineyard & Winery offers refined fare with great views of the valley below. The Pinnacle at Falkner is also a big hit in the area, offering modern Mediterranean cuisine with a California twist in a bright and elegant dining room. Carol’s Restaurant at Baily is great for a more casual, patio dining experience, with sandwiches and salads. Those are just a few of your restaurant options! Another option is to pack your own picnic, as many of the wineries will allow you bring your own food. However, some of them don’t, so make sure you call ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to try a different kind of adventure while you’re in the area. There are horseback riding tours, hot air balloons, and relaxing day spas throughout the valley. If you have some extra time to spare, give one of them a try!
And, finally, here are some general tips to ensure you get the most out of your Temecula wine tasting tour:
Take your time. Don’t feel like you have to visit every winery! The average tasting comes out to the equivalent of about one glass of wine, so if you visit five of them, that’s five glasses. Wine tours are not about getting drunk, but about trying new wines and savoring the taste. Choose a few that you think sound interesting and relax. Enjoy the moment!
Pass on the perfume. Heavy scents can interfere with the tasting, because your sense of smell is a big part of it. Go light on your perfume or cologne so that you and those near you can properly enjoy the aroma.
Stay hydrated. This one’s a no brainer. Lots of wine leads to big time dehydration, which means if you don’t sip on water throughout the day, you’re probably not going to be feeling so well the next morning. A good rule of thumb is one bottle per winery.
That bucket is there for a reason. Don’t feel like you have to finish every wine, whether you like it or not. Every winery provides a bucket so that you can pour out the rest after you’ve had a taste. It’s not considered insulting if you do. Everyone has a different palate, and the wineries understand that.
Be adventurous. Don’t just stick with your usual varietal of wine! Branch out, and you might find something you didn’t know you like!