For those looking for a way to expand their boundaries in the ritziest way possible, wine tasting in Temecula is about as good as it gets. Known for its beautiful vineyards and equally great wine, Temecula is a wine-growing region in Southern California that could be described as a Napa Valley equivalent.
Temecula is home to over 30 different wineries, each one offering unique wine selections and beautiful views of surrounding vineyards. The wine definitely isn’t cheap–$20-$25 for a 6 1-oz tastings is pretty standard–but the quality of the wine and incredible surroundings make the entire experience worth a weekend trip.
And if experiencing one of the most scenic regions of Southern California with a wine glass in your hand doesn’t sell you, consider visiting for the Temecula Valley Ballon and Wine Festival that occurs every spring.
We headed to Temecula for a birthday party on a sunny Saturday in December and checked out three awesome wineries: Ponte Winery, Wilson’s Creek and Lorimar. We had incredible experiences at each, so read on to learn about each of the wineries we visited.
Our first stop of the day was at Ponte Winery, a beautiful vineyard and tasting room in the heart of Temecula Wine Country. This stunning winery is one of the most popular in Temecula, and for good reason: It sits on an incredible piece of property overlooking row after row of grapevines and is surrounded by scenic mountains in the distance.
Since we visited in December, the entire winery was decked out for the holidays. Everywhere we looked, there was another beautiful festive touch. The coolest decoration was a massive Christmas tree hanging upside down from the high beam ceiling.
We started our visit to Ponte with a wine tasting inside. Each tasting comes with six 1-oz pours of the wine of your choosing. The wine was truly incredible, and they even had a few sweet red wines on the menu–a personal favorite and a rarity in Temecula wine tasting.
There were a few really great wines that we tried, but our favorite was the Late Harvest. It was a sweet red wine with flavors of boysenberry pie and vanilla bean. Even if you don’t normally like red wines, give this one a try since it was extra delicious, and served chilled for a refreshing effect.
They have wine available by the glass outside in the back of the property, a nice option for those who like to explore while they sip. There is also a restaurant behind the winery, though we didn’t try the food while we were there. The menu has plenty of great choices to go with your wine.
Wandering Ponte Winery’s property was the highlight of our visit. There are beautiful paths that lead under botanical arches through rows of grape vines. We also loved that there were wooden benches located all over the property so you could find somewhere quiet to sit and enjoy your wine.
The Verdict: Overall, Ponte winery was a great experience. With great wine and a beautiful property to wander, what’s not to like?
Wilson Creek Winery
Wilson Creek Winery was our next stop of the day. We were surprised by the sheer size of this winery! There are a number of structures on the property including restaurants and barrel rooms, plus tents that scatter the property for outdoor drinking and dining.
With so much to do at this winery, if you are looking to spend a lot of time at one stop in Temecula then this is the place to do it. Just keep in mind that the parking lot fills up fast, so you may have to be patient to find a parking spot.
We sat underneath the large tent outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather and the great live music playing. It was also nice to have a dedicated server, so we didn’t have to get up every time we wanted a new drink.
If you visit Wilson Creek, we recommend that you check out the Wine Tasting Room. It’s only $20, and in addition to a bunch of wine tastings you also get a wine glass and a $5 coupon toward a wine purchase. BONUS: Here’s the link to request a 2 for 1 wine tasting coupon.
Again, exploring the property at Wilson Creek was one of our favorite parts about our experience at this winery. We went into the barrel room building to use the bathroom, and ended up on their second-level patio overlooking the entire vineyard.
If you are looking to grab a bite to eat, try Creekside Grille. This restaurant is located on site, and has plenty of casual options as well as fancier options to pair with your wine.
The Verdict: Wilson Creek is another great winery to visit in Temecula. Plan to spend plenty of time here, and be patient when parking!
Lorimar Vineyards and Winery
Lorimar Vineyards and Winery was our last stop of the day, and probably our favorite winery. Lorimar is definitely smaller and more quiet than the other two wineries that we visited, which was really nice and peaceful. We were even lucky enough to watch a beautiful sunset over the vineyard.
The vineyards on site are absolutely stunning. Row after row of grape vines grow on one side of the road. On the other side, there is a huge field of orange trees!
There is a beautiful tasting room indoors with modern art hanging all over the walls. But our favorite part of this winery was the back patio. There’s a small bar, and they even had a big grill outside where they were cooking ribs. We sat at one of the high tops that had a fire in the center. It kept us warm as the sun was setting and everything was getting cold.
The wine was also excellent at Lorimar, particularly the white wine. We had a few really great wine tastings that tempted us to buy a bottle of wine. There is also a food menu at Lorimar–we saw more than one very tempting Charcuterie Boards while we were there.
The Verdict: Lorimar is the perfect winery to cap off your day in Temecula with a relaxing glass of wine on the patio. Bonus points for watching the sunset over the vineyard!
Wine tasting in Temecula is the perfect way to spend a sunny day in Southern California. With incredible wine and scenery, it’s an added bonus that you get to support Temecula’s local wine economy.
Each of these three wineries would be an excellent addition to your visit in Temecula. And if you are looking for other wineries to visit, here is a more comprehensive list of wineries in Temecula.
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