Updated: Dec 17, 2019
Northern California is renowned for its wines, and rightly so. But up and coming Temecula Valley, in between Los Angeles and San Diego, is a great destination for fine wines in Southern California. It’s definitely worth at least a day trip.
A lot of the wine tours to Temecula Valley wine country seemed to cater to larger groups, so we opted to use Vineyard Limousine, where we could get a smaller car with a driver and customize which wineries to visit.
Temecula Valley Wine Country Background
Temecula Valley wine country is a relatively new wine region in California. The first modern commercial vineyard was planted there in 1968. For comparison, Napa Valley’s first vineyard was planted in the 1830s. Temecula Valley received formal recognition as an American Vinicultural Area in 1984.
There are currently 40 wineries in Temecula Valley wine country. We were told that 50 more are poised to open soon, and that the area will eventually be home to 200 wineries. Since the region is less than 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean,
its climate is classified as Mediterranean. The wine growers originally focused on the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes,
as in Northern California. Ultimately, many winemakers
found that grapes from Spain, Italy and the South of France fared better in the more southern climate.
The wines we tried were very consistent, most earning at
least a 😊+ rating. At each winery, the reds were more expensive than the whites.
1. Hart Family Winery
Hart Family Winery is one of the oldest wineries in Temecula Valley wine country. It’s also one of the smallest, consisting of only 10 acres. The winery focuses on wines produced from Bordeaux and Mediterranean grape varieties.
2018 Arneis, a grape native to Italy’s Piedmont region 😊+
2016 Vermentino, a grape found throughout Italy and in Corsica 😊+
2017 Sangiovese, from Tuscany 😊+
2018 Rosé of Sangiovese 😊
2017 Grenache, found in both France and Spain 😊+
2017 Temprarillo, the primary red grape of Spain’s Rioja region 😊+
2017 Syrah, one of the first vines Hart planted in 1974 😊
2017 Zinfandel 😊++
2017 Cabernet Franc, also first planted in 1974 😊++