Rustic Old World charm offered at Bel Vino Winery

The entranceway to the Bel Vino Winery, 33515 Rancho California Road, in Temecula gives the feeling of Old Word Italy with its many lined wine barrels. The outdoor Bistro with umbrella covered tables adds to the charm. Tony Ault photo

If you are looking for a relaxing weekend with excellent wine, tasty food and entertainment atop a hill with a sweeping 360-degree view of the vineyards below, Bel Vino Winery in Temecula’s celebrated Wine Country is the place for you.

The relaxed atmosphere whether on the outdoor old-world bistro, in front of the lawn stage or in the Bel Vino tasting rooms, gives the feeling of a traditional winery that one might find in Italy or France. The 40-acre winery located at 33515 Rancho California Road in Temecula offers two fine reserve wines, three fine signature wines and many others locally grown, blended, bottled and stored in Temecula Valley.

Bel Vino Chef “Woodie” Thomas stands ready to dish out the Bistro’s three favorite mains, the Polenta and Wild Mushroom Ragout, the Red Wine Braised Beef Stroganoff and the popular Bel Vino Burger, which are ready to be paired with a favorite white or red wine. Lighter diners can delight their palates with a series of starters, maybe the Charcuterie and Cheese, Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta or three other delectable choices can fit the individual’s or group’s taste.

For wine connoisseurs, the Bel Vino Barrel Room is just the place to be, as tastes of the finest Bel Vino vintages are served by experienced servers overseen by Bel Vino’s Tasting Room Manger English-born Chris Bawden. Bawden knows the upside of fine wines and delights in conversation and hospitality.



Next door, the recently refurbished Barrel Room Lounge offers Bel Vino Club members not only a discounted variety of bottled and cased premium wines but also platefuls of delicious snacks and an opportunity every Saturday night to get away from the crowds and listen to acoustic music played by local musicians. Greeting Wine Club members is Wine Club Manager Christopher Dumm.

Seeking entertainment? Bel Vino Winery offers one of the best weekend venues in the Valley with live performances on the lighted outdoor stage, weather permitting, or in the large Barrel Room every weekend. In December, Bel Vino guest will see groups like: “Endeavor,” Dec. 8 and Dec. 22, “The 80s Brigade,” Dec. 16, “Sexteto Sonero Del Caribe” for salsa night, Dec. 15 and “Shoot 4 Tuesday,” Dec. 3.

The Wine Club Lounge will feature Astra Kelly, Dec. 2; Jeff Brinkman, Dec. 16 and Rachel Mercy, Dec. 9. A complete list of the entertainment events is available on the Bel Vino website, www.BelVinoWinery.com.

The upcoming holiday event at Bel Vino, which Bawden called “The 12 days of Christmas,” will be featuring a series of signature wines by the bottle or the case that will be discounted, a different variety each day.

“It will be a surprise which ones will be on sale,” Bawden said. “Come and find out.”

Bel Vino Winery’s two reserve wines are the 2007 Lagrein Grand Reserve and the award-winning 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Reserve, both selling at $69.95 per bottle with special prices for Bel Vino Wine Club members. Bel Vino signature wines include a 2012 Merlot, a 2012 Cabernet Franc and a 2012 Panache Reserve, selling for $59.95 a bottle. Tastes for these fine wines are in order at the Barrel Room.

Bel Vino Winery is the goal of owner Mike Janko who decided to buy the former Stewart Cellars Winery in 2011 when, as a wine connoisseur and lover for many years, he could not find a dry white reserve wine he liked in the area. At a cost of over $1.2 million, Janko completely refurbished and expanded the small Stewart winery and planted new vines, including a rare wine grape that squeezes natural red juice, unlike others that bleed white juice. Since then, the winery continues to grow with 30 highly trained employees and offering some of the finest old-world wines in the valley.

Looking for an overnight or weekend stay or perhaps a place for a memorable wedding? Bel Vino has those accommodations available with its two-suite bed-and-breakfast facility, offering privacy and the spectacular view of the Valley. A raised white-painted gazebo in the flower surrounded green lawn area next to the winery offers an ideal wedding setting or a cozy spot for an intimate family, parties or group get together.

For more information about Bel Vino Winery, see www.BelVinoWinery.com or call (951) 676-6914 for reservations.

Wine tasting is offered seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by the glass, 5 p.m.-6 p.m. The Bel Vino Bistro is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. No picnicking is allowed when the Bistro is open. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday thru Friday.

Dog owners are asked to “leave their furry friends home.”

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