When you think of touring wineries you typically think of Napa or Tuscany, but the Temecula region of Southern California should not be forgotten! With over 30 wineries in an area covering 35,000 acres, your options are limitless and your palette will thank you. You can certainly drive up to the Temecula region for a day’s taste testing and to visit the wineries, but it’s more fun to rent a limo or bus and head to Temecula with a group of friends (and a designated driver). The region is centrally located within an hour’s drive of San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs.
Most Vineyards offer tasting cards and facility tours. For the taste testing, you are able to purchase a sheet with all their currently available wines and choose which ones you would like to test. The bar tenders and sommeliers are extremely knowledgeable and are happy to help you find the perfect vintage for you. Many wineries also offer snacks or have restaurants on the premises.
If you plan to visit the area more than once it may be worthwhile to purchase a membership to a winery or two. These typically require that you receive shipments of wine up to four times per year so be sure to choose a winery that you enjoy. In return you get free entry to events at the winery and free taste testing.
Recommended wineries in Temecula
Cougar Vineyards – Only open since 2004, this vineyard already has some incredible vintages, specializing in Italian varieties including Sangiovese, Vermentino and Primitivo. An extremely friendly staff and owners that are more than happy to help you discover their wines. Leave this winery until the afternoon if visiting on the weekend to catch the live music from 2 – 5 PM.
Address – 39870 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592
Telephone – 951.491.0825
Cougar Vineyards Website
Opening hours – Daily 11 AM – 6 PM
Callaway Vineyard & Winery – A very well established vineyard and winery that has been in operation since 1969, Callaway produces some of the region’s most acclaimed wines. A more touristy feel than some of the smaller wineries in the area, but also some of the best wines. Check out the complimentary tours on weekdays at 11, 1 and 3 from 11 to 4 on the hour during the weekends.
Address – 32720 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591
Telephone – 951.676.4001
Callaway Winery Website
Opening hours – Daily from 10 AM to 5 PM
Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyard – The grounds of this winery are reason enough to stop by – particularly as the 25 foot gazebo is the perfect spot for a picnic in the afternoon to break up your day. This winery also features an Almond Champagne that sure to please the palette and offer something out of the ordinary.
Address – 35960 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591< Telephone - 951.699.9463 Wilson Creek Winery Website
Opening hours – Daily from 10 AM – 5 PM in the Tasting Room; Daily from 11 AM – 5 PM in the Restaurant
Leonesse Cellars – Founded in 2003, this winery offers a few trusted standards including a fantastic Muscat Canelli but be sure to check to see if there some of their smaller lots available for testing and purchase while at the Leonesse Cellars winery.
Address – 38311 DePortola Road, Temecula, CA 92593
Telephone – 951.302.7601
Leonesse Cellars Website
Open hours – Daily from 11 AM – 5 PM
Longshadow Ranch Vineyard & Winery – This winery has more of a party atmosphere than some of the others in the area, but that doesn’t mean that the wines are any less spectacular. The wines, produced by a team of family members that own and run the winery, include varieties of Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec, and Merlot. Weekends features live music and carriage rides for visitors.
Address – 39847 Calle Contento, Temecula, CA 92591
Telephone – 877.80.RANCH
Longshadow Ranch Winery Website
Opening hours – Mon-Fri 12 – 5 PM; Sat 10 – 5 PM; Sun 10 – 5 PM
Maurice Car’rie Vineyard & Winery – One of the oldest and largest wineries in the region, the Pineapple-flavored Champagne is perfect for a unique twist on a favorite.
Address – 34225 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92592< Telephone - 951.676.1711 Maurice CarrieWinery Website
Opening hours – Daily from 10 AM – 5 PM