The Winery Review: Leoness Cellars

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Leoness Cellars popular wines from left, Merlot, Zinfandel produced from the Deegan family vineyard and red wine. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo
The Mystery Wino Leoness Cellars might be the gold standard for how medium-to-large wineries in Temecula should be run. Maybe that’s why the ancient, rust-eaten tractor parked outside their tasting room seems like a bad idea. Don’t worry, it’s not. Long before the owners of Leoness made wine, they operated — and still operate — a farm management company. More than any of the other full-service wineries (e.g., Ponte, South Coast, Wilson Creek, Europa), Leoness wants guests to remember that great wines are made in the vineyard. This might be a cliché, but it also happens to be true. And that’s why visitors must pay their respects to owner Gary Winder’s old tractor. The Background Leoness Cellars sits on the De Portola wine trail, where a dozen of Temecula’s 50
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