How to Spend a Weekend Wine Tasting and Where to go in Temecula, California
My sister and I had a wedding to attend in Temecula and decided to make the most of it. Here's how it went down:
My sweet sister kindly picked up some Starbucks and swooped me up along the way, leaving LA with enough time to drive to Temecula (approx 2 hours without traffic) to make it to our wine tour!
A little after 9a, we arrived at our hotel, the Extended Stay America (see review below), checked-in and called for our Uber to take us to the Stampede where we were to meet our tour, Grapeline Wine Tours Temecula, and get our taste on.
We entered through the Old Town area that looked like an old miners town with wood-planked sidewalks and old tanks of all sorts, with antique shops galore!
Grapeline Wine Tours Temecula
We booked a half-day wine tour for $95 which included tasting flights at 3 wineries, vineyard tour, cheese pairing, and a driver for the day. We reserved our spots about a month prior and emailed them directly, requesting the vineyards we were interested in.
The tour picked around 10a and was scheduled to drop us off at 2p just in time to get ready for the wedding we were attending at 5p. We were greeted by Robert, our guide, and he told us that we would be visiting all the wineries we requested and we had a great selection. He handed us a detailed itinerary and a discount card that basically gave 10-20% off all bottle purchases! He also told us the cheesiest, most amazing jokes to keep us entertained.
South Coast Winery
We traveled about 10 minutes to our first stop, South Coast Winery.
STROLLING THROUGH SOUTH COAST WINERY, TEMECULA
The grounds were so beautiful, full of flowers and photo ops. The inside was different with animals everywhere. We went in for our tasting and we were the first and only ones there, but it was also 10:30am. Pamela helped us out, and she was very generous with her pours. She even volunteered to take a picture of us... and we got a selfie of her as well! Didn't even know she was taking it!
The most notable wines we enjoyed were:
Extra Dry Sparkling - Yummy Champagne taste
Boulder Red 2.0 - Closest to a petite Sirah
Wild Horse Peak Temporale - Earthy with a pepper taste
Robert kept us on schedule (even though we wandered off to take pictures) and got us back on the bus to take us to our next stop, Falkner Winery.
Falkner had beautiful views from the top of the hill. We really wanted to come here because of the name to say things like Falk you and Falk off. Robert said no one had ever made those jokes before. We didn't believe him!
We went down into the cellar where we had the wine tasting along with a cheese and fruit pairing. Our fave was the Amante Super Tuscan which was similar to Sangiovese. I wasn't sure if I liked the Risque Riesling, or if I just liked the bottle and name... either way it wasn't bad!
We were kinda disappointed we were in this dark room and the day was so beautiful. I was just excited that they let us keep the glass! FREE SOUVENIRS!
Europa Village Winery
Our last stop was Europa Village Winery which was under construction but you couldn't really tell at first glance (especially after 2 other tastings).
We were handed a tasting passport that they would stamp after each tasting (sometimes they forgot) and had a large selection of wines. Our favorite was the Vendetta, which was a fruity yet rich red. We decided to buy a couple bottles and upon purchasing, we decided to become a member!
We were dropped back off at the Stampede and picked up a pizza to eat at our hotel to get ready and go to our friend's wedding. We proceeded to eat our Shakey's pepperoni pizza and popped a bottle of Vendetta.
The next day we got ready (slowly) and sought out a good brunch spot. Our options seemed limited via Yelp so we decided we would drive through Old Town until we found a place we liked. 1909 was the happening spot, we put our name down for a 40-minute wait while we looked around for another restaurant before we ate each other out of starvation. Luckily it didn't come to that and right next door was Public House, which had a shaded patio and no wait! I had the eggs benedict with bacon (pork belly) and a coffee since we weren't ready for mimosas yet.
Briar Rose Winery
Before heading back to LA, there was one more spot we HAD to check out, Briar Rose Winery. It was like a Disneyland vineyard, with a cottage and princess statues.
The gardens were filled with statues that were very Disney like.
We didn't make a reservation so our only option was to buy a bottle or glass of wine to walk around. I got a glass of the White Zin which I hadn't seen a white zin at any other vineyard - it was refreshing and pink!
Finally, it was time to head home to beat traffic. I took one last look at the rolling hills covered in grape vines.
Where we stayed: Extended Stay America - Temecula Hotels - Wine Country
27622 Jefferson Avenue, Temecula, CA 92590
I would never stay here again. We booked through Expedia which apparently means you are automatically signed up for a smoking room. The lady at the front desk said it doesn't smell THAT bad. She at least let us check it out before we took it. The hallway smelled terrible but the room wasn't too bad. It had new hardwood floors and was relatively clean. The view was of the parking lot and the freeway, which you could hear the cars rushing down the 15. The clientele was interesting as people hung out and smoked blunts in the parking lot. We were worried our car wasn't going to be there the next day. Luckily, we spent just the one night and had enough wine to make it bearable.
If you have ever been to Temecula, let us know about your favorite places! We'll be back soon - I have to pick up wine at Europa Village for my wine club!
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