Updated: Jan 3
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 (purchased by Halter Ranch in 2022 and now known as Halter Ranch Temecula) 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 😊++
2. Lorimar Vineyards & Winery
Lorimar Vineyards & Winery is a larger family-owned winery, 22 acres in size. It calls itself a Tuscan-style winery, fusing wine, art, music, and food. It features fanciful descriptions of its wines and includes recommendations for tongue-in-cheek activities that go perfectly with each wine, such as a magical gondola ride, a weekend in Bali, or a French soccer match.
2018 Vineyard blend, like a Pino Grigio 😊+
2018 Viognier, fruity but not sweet 😊+
2017 Chardonnay, buttery 😊😊++
2015 Sangiovese 😊+
2016 Barbera 😊+
2016 Montepulciano 😊+
2016 Meritage 😊
2016 Zinfandel 😊😊++
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon 😊😊++
2015 Petite Sirah, a bit tart 😊😊
3. Monte De Oro Winery
Monte De Oro was the largest winery we visited, with 80 acres. It’s only 10 years old. Its tasting room boasts high vaulted ceilings and a glass floor looking down on its barrel cellar.
2018 Pinot Gris ½ 😊
2018 Viognier 😊+
2018 Chardonnay, lightly oaked 😊+
2015 Simplexity, a Bordeaux blend 😊+
2015 Zinfandel 😊+
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon 😊+
2015 Congruity, 80% Syrah and 20% Zinfandel 😊++
2015 Syrah 😊+
We hope you find these tips about Temecula Valley Wine Country useful. Please feel free to send us photos of your experiences in California’s wine country!
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