South Coast Winery celebrates 12th annual ‘Blessing of the Vines’

Grapevines burst into life over the past two weeks in Temecula’s Wine Country, and one vineyard celebrated the start of the winemaking season in a unique way.

South Coast Winery kicked off the spring with their 12th annual “Blessing of the Vines” event, which consisted of food, wine and a blessing. It took place from 4 to 7 p.m. on March 30 in the courtyard beneath the winery’s bell tower.

Father Tom Burdick of the San Bernardino Catholic Dioceses blessed the vines during a short precession that started at the beginning of the event. Then people enjoyed a buffet-style meal accompanied by the sounds of jazz musician Louie Cruz Beltran.

The event is one of two that happens on a yearly basis, according to marketing director Crystal Magon. She said the first of the two events is the blessing of the vines before they make fruit; that blessing takes place once every spring.

The second of the two blessings occurs in the fall, when grapes are harvested and utilized to make wine. Magon said that the grapes themselves are blessed and that the event is marked by a wine stomp, where guests crush some of the wine grapes with their feet.

“This is an event that is very important; it was part of our owner’s very beginning,” Magon said. “We’ve been open for 10 years yet this is our 12th blessing, so even before South Coast came to be we were blessing our grapes well in advance.”

Guests could participate in a number of different games at the event such as a wine bottle ring toss, ladder ball or giant jenga. The events were designed to appeal to the younger individuals in attendance, according to Magon.

But there was plenty of adult fun to be had at the event as well, with a wine bar and various vender booths set up. Guests could try a selection of different olive oils at the Temecula Olive Oil Company’s booth or food from the Extraordinary Artisan’s Table (E.A.T.) restaurant.

Guests had the choice of a number of different vintages such as South Coast’s 2010 Chardonnay Sans Ch

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