Southern California is a dream vacation spot for millions of individuals from around the world. Temecula Valley welcomes approximately 3 million of those visitors yearly. Nestled in rolling hills, Temecula’s wine country epitomizes the easy, relaxing, carefree spirit that people long for. The fusion of Southern California’s laid back style and the relaxing vibe in Temecula Valley have created an approachable wine region that people can feel comfortable spending time in, regardless of their wine experience.
SoCal charm + winery knowledge = a unique winery experience
The microclimate in the Temecula Valley region, in addition to the rolling hills, make for perfect wine grape growth. The area has soil and climate that make for high quality grapes and the hillsides allow for ideal soil drainage, which allows for the varietal wine flavors have pure, vibrant flavors. The region is also breathtakingly beautiful year-long, so guests can come at any point of the year, enjoy local wine, and talk with winemakers about the winemaking process.
The Temecula Valley American Viticultural Area has 1,500 acres dedicated to wine grape growing and is part of Southern California’s 115,200 acres of viticultural area. To date, there are over 40 wineries in Temecula Valley, which offers every type of wine fan the type of wine and winery that they would like to experience.
There are large, highly regarded wineries, as well as small wineries that offer intimate experiences for everyone. There are wineries that allow for families to sprawl out with picnic lunches and wineries that provide top of the line, multiple course meals to be paired with glasses of fine wine. Both small and larger wineries have won recognition from around the world, and have gained fans from across all states.
Decades of wine growth
The first wine grapes were planted in Temecula Valley in the 1960s and 1970s. Callaway Winery was one of the first wineries that invested in the valley in 1974, and others soon began to purchase acreage to plant their grapes. In addition to Callaway, other individuals who founded wineries in the area were Joe Hart and John Poole, who founded Hart Winery and Mt. Palomar, respectively.
However, not many understood why Ely Callaway, the former president of Burlington Industries, would plant his vineyards in such an unestablished part of the state. However, Callaway’s inclination proved sound; the temperature and sunlight in Temecula rivaled that of the most affluent wine country.
To insure the quality of his grapes, Callaway only produced two tons or less per acres, whereas other wineries might have pushed the vines to produce 10 tons per acre. In addition, the winemaking process Callaway used allowed him to remove any excess flavors from the wine during the aging process.
Callaway’s wine became renowned, and even reached the table of Queen Elizabeth in 1976. Once this occurred, Temecula became the new place to invest in for wineries.
By 1989, 11 wineries had established themselves in the valley, and Temecula Valley was the best kept secret for those looking for a relaxing vacation away from their busy lives.
Temecula’s Wine Country today has over 40 wineries that offer more than just wine tasting. Some offer educational tours of the vineyards, while others use sommeliers to explain wine’s complexities to guests. Others provide fantastic meals to give guests a taste of luxury, while others create a beautiful backdrop for the perfect afternoon.
To find what works best for a particular afternoon, it’s best to simply drive out to Temecula’s wine country and discover what winery best suits you and your unique taste.