TEMECULA–Visit Temecula Valley honored 62 nominees in six categories from some of the region’s most innovative tourism businesses March 10. Visit Temecula Valley recognizes the value of customer service by honoring the region’s hospitality businesses that demonstrate efforts to exceed expectations.
In 2015, the front line staff in the community helped to create amazing, unforgettable experiences for over 2.8 million visitors, including 1.2 million overnight stays. These visitors generated $64 million in local lodging revenue.
Accolades, rounds of applause, pins, and proclamations accompanied the honors at the Visit Temecula Valley annual meeting. Sixty-two nominees in six categories from some of the region’s most innovative, tourism businesses were recognized. Hospitality award-winners were announced and a record, 26 dedicated tourism industry employees received exceptional-service awards.
“The Xenia hospitality awards and the Spotlight on Service awards celebrate significant efforts and meaningful accomplishments by the nominees, winners and recipients. These efforts and accomplishments champion and help foster Temecula Valley’s ongoing popularity and success as a Southern California visitor destination,” said Tom DeMott, Chairman of the Board for Visit Temecula Valley and General Manager at Temecula Creek Inn, venue for the Visit Temecula Valley annual meeting.
“Similarly, the efforts and accomplishments of Temecula Valley’s leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses, and approximately 7,050 front line employees helped attract and serve a record, 2.8 million projected visitors for the year 2015. This includes 1.2 million overnight visitors who generated $64 million in local, lodging revenue. We are all very proud of these achievements,” DeMott said.
The 2015 Social Media Award for outstanding use of technology to promote Temecula Valley southern California Wine Country was presented to Wilson Creek Winery. For generating considerable economic impact and working to encourage tourism, Jeff Brown of Vail Lake Resort received the 2015 Ambassador Award. The 2015 Hospitality Award for outstanding hospitality to visitors and helping promote travel and tourism to Temecula was presented to E.A.T Marketplace.
The first Cilurzo Award for Winery of the Year went to Wilson Creek Winery while the first Champion Culinary Award was received by Cork Fire Kitchen at Temecula Creek Inn. Winner of the Welty Award for Tourism Professional of the Year was Gillian Larson of Reality Rally.
Additionally, 26 individuals and the hospitality organizations they work for were recognized with Spotlight on Service awards for providing genuine, anticipatory, friendly and caring service. The complete listing of all 2015 nominees, winners and recipients by category follows.
The 2015 Visit Temecula Valley Social Media Award was Wilson Creek Winery. The nominees were; DePortola Wine Trail, Europa Village, Pechanga Resort & Casino, Ponte Family Estate Winery, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa and Temecula Talk
The 2015 Visit Temecula Valley Ambassador Award winner was Jeff Brown from Vail Lake Resort. The nominees were: Rick Barry, A Vineyard Tour of Temecula; Gale Cunningham, Temecula Farmer’s Market; Timmy Daniels, Timmy d. Productions; Shannon Karrigan, Temecula Valley Family Fair; Gillian Larson, Reality Rally; Jim McGloughlin, TEDx Temecula and Abby Tribulsky, Wilson Creek Winery.
The Visit Temecula Valley Hospitality Award winner was E.A.T Marketplace. The nominees were; A Vineyard Tour of Temecula, Antique Pink Cadillac, The Apple Store of Temecula, Big Horse Feed, De Portola Wine Trail, Destination Temecula, Grapeline Wine Tours, Leoness Cellars, Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants, Peltzer Farms, Promenade Temecula, Spring Hill Suites by Marriott, Temecula Berry Company, Temecula Children’s Museum, Temecula Creek Inn, Temecula Lavender Company, Temecula Olive Oil Company and Temecula Valley Museum.
The 2015 NEW Visit Temecula Valley Cilurzo Award for Winery of the Year was Wilson Creek Winery. Nominees included; Callaway Vineyard & Winery, Doffo Winery, Leoness Cellars, Oak Mountain Winery, Ponte Family Estate Winery, Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery and South Coast Winery Resort & Spa.
The 2015 Visit Temecula Valley Champion Culinary Award went to Cork | Fire Kitchen at the Temecula Creek Inn. The nominees were; The Broken Yoke Café, Josh Diamond, Meritage at Callaway Vineyard & Winery, E.A.T Marketplace; The Goat & Vine, Great Oak Steakhouse at Pechanga Resort & Casino, Journey’s End at Pechanga Resort & Casino, Mo’s Egg House, Palumbo’s Ristorante, PUBlic House, Spuntino’s Pizzeria & Delicatessen and Dean Thomas, The INN at Europa
The 2015 Visit Temecula Valley Welty Award for Tourism professional of the Year winner was Gillian Larson of Reality Rally. Nominees were: Jim Carter from South Coast Winery Resort & Spa/Carter Estate Winery & Resort; Tom DeMott, Temecula Creek Inn; Kym Espinosa, Promenade Temecula; Marika Matson,Temecula Carriage Company; Craig Puma, The Bank Mexican Restaurant & Bar; Mike Rennie, Leoness Cellars/Temecula Valley Winery Management and Ken Westmyer from the Quality Inn.
The 2015 Visit Temecula Valley Spotlight on Service Awards went to: Tony Alvarez, Top Dollar Gold Exchange; Justin Bellivan, Macy’s Temecula; Daryl Boone, Grapeline Wine Tours; Walter Carter, Danza Del Sol Winery; Colleen Cherry, Pechanga Resort & Casino; Ashley Copeland, Forest City/Promenade Temecula; Recipient: Megan Davison, Carter Estate Winery & Resort; Michael Eddlemon, South Coast Winery Resort & Spa; Kristina Galyean, Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery; Hugo Garcia, Vineyard Coast Transportation; Shelby Gonzalez, Forest City/Promenade Temecula and Brandy Holmes, The Goat & Vine.
Also receiving Service Awards were: Rachelle Jones, Olive Garden; Sophia King, Devilicious Eatery & Tap Room; Recipient: Cody Lerner, Wilson Creek Winery; Erin Lyons, Golden Spoon; Nealani Orr, Mount Palomar Winery; Torey Owens, The Goat & Vine; Suzanne Papiro, Ralphs Grocery Store; Yolanda Pinto, Maurice Car’rie Winery; Ray Roberson, Grapeline Wine Tours; Noelani Smith, Annie’s Café; Erica Sundale, Jamba Juice; Gilmarie Villegas, Bluewater Grill; Danae Wegner, Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery and Dana Zella, Grapeline Wine Tours.
Visit Temecula Valley’s Xenia hospitality awards and Spotlight on Service awards are the region’s only such awards recognizing leisure, hospitality, and tourism businesses and professionals. Visit Temecula Valley members nominate tourism businesses and individuals for these awards. A panel of Visit Temecula Valley Board members, community leaders, and past Xenia Award recipients then selects the year’s Xenia winners. Spotlight on Service recipients’ acknowledgements are a result of exceptional customer service recognized by Visit Temecula Valley Board members or staff.
Visit Temecula Valley is the official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors in the Temecula Valley region. The Temecula Hotel Tourism District is the primary source of funding for Visit Temecula Valley activities and programs. Additional funding is provided through alliances with leisure, hospitality, and tourism partners throughout Temecula Valley.
Visit Temecula Valley is online at VisitTemeculaValley.com. The Temecula Valley Visitors Center is located in downtown, Old Town Temecula (Third Street and Mercedes) adjacent the Old Town Temecula Parking Garage. For visitor information and assistance, please call (888) 363-2852 or (951) 491-6085.