Play it safe by planning a wine tour in Temecula Wine Country

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It’s great to go wine tasting in Temecula Wine Country, but alleviate the stress of having to drive from winery to winery by booking a winery tour from one of the more than two dozen options in the area. Valley News/Courtesy photo

As the weather begins to warm up, some of your friends and family members may start reminding you about that time you said you would take them all wine tasting.

Remember? You promised.

Well, you should probably make good on that promise.

So, there’s no better time than now to start researching the best ways to show your group of wine lovers around Temecula Wine Country.

Now, you could plan it so everyone drives their own cars in a small caravan navigating the backcountry roads from stop to stop, but that would ensure that at least one person in each car misses out on the wine.

That’s no fun.

Better yet, you could consider hiring a wine tour for your group, ensuring everyone gets the full Temecula Wine Country experience and avoiding the risk of someone abandoning their designated driver role.

Kim Kelliher, founder and president of Grapeline Wine Tours, said especially for first-time visitors, a guided tour can enhance the experience.

“I think a wine tour gives you a nice sampling and a little insight into wineries in the Temecula Valley,” she said. “For instance, our hosts are trained to talk about the history of the area, about the number of wineries and how the wine country evolved. It just gives you a nice starting point, um, especially if you’re new to wine tasting or new to the area.”

She said a lot of people come back a second and third time because of the convenience of taking a tour.

“They just love the carefree nature of it,” Kelliher said. “Our tours are all-inclusive for the most part, so they don’t have to think about anything. They get a little background. They have somebody who’s fun and entertaining up front, and they can ask questions. They’re gonna have all their wine tastings taken care of and lunch, and it’s just kind of a nice day to forget about everything else.”

One thing Kelliher is quick to suggest – leave the children at home.

“We don’t recommend bringing children, we call (tours) an adult Disneyland,” she said. “On our shared tours, we don’t allow children because a lot of people are there to just relax and enjoy their day as an adult and maybe they’ve gotten a babysitter and such, so they’re ready to just kind of forget about responsibilities like children.”

Kelliher offered up some important details like remembering to drink water throughout the day, layering your clothing and certainly not drinking too much or partying the night before.

“It doesn’t, uh, doesn’t sit well,” she said with a laugh.

And if you’re wondering, yes, you should tip your tour guides at the end of the day.

“There’s someone who generally is hosting you all day long, so you think about if you go to dinner and they’re with you for a couple of hours and you tip them 15 to 20%,” Kelliher said. “You should think the same about someone who’s kinda hosting you and entertaining you. They are taking care of you, they’re going to grab your purchases and store them for you and just make it really easy to enjoy your day. So yes, we do recommend, a gratuity for a job well done.”

In addition to Grapeline Wine Tours, there are more than two dozen wine tour companies available to serve the needs of any size group – from a couple looking for a personalized guided tour to a dozen crazy maniacs ready to get their wine on.

Here is a list of some of the top winery tour companies in the area from which to choose:

Grapeline Wine Tours

Founded in 2002 by Kim and John Kelliher, Grapeline Wine Tour enjoys consistent 5-star ratings on TripAdvisor, Yelp and every other review site. Call (951) 693-5755 or visit www.gogrape.com.

Straight Off the Vine Wine Tours

All of their tours include the visit to three wineries with five to six tastings at each winery per person with a party bus that is decked out with lights and music to enjoy in between wineries. Call (951) 553-0629 or visit www.straightoffthevinewinetours.com.

Rockin’ Wine Tours

Exclusive private wine tasting tours of the Temecula Valley wineries. Yelp and Trip Adviser ranks Rockin’ Wine Tours as one of the top wine tour providers in all of Southern California. Call (951) 294-5560 or visit www.rockinwine.com.

Temecula Valley Cable Car Wine Tours

Take an adventure through the Temecula Valley wine country in a fully restored authentic 1914 San Francisco motorized cable car. Call (951) 302-5981 or visit www.temeculacablecar.com.

Van’N Boozy Wine Tours and Brew Tours

Cruise Temecula Wine Country in a classic Volkswagen bus — they have three and one more on the way. Call (951) 401-1001 or visit www.vannboozy.com.

Tour del Vino

Tour del Vino offers a variety of customizable packages to accommodate your needs including a full day of tours, luxury vehicles, door to door service, professional chauffeur, scenic views, exceptional cuisine and award-winning wines. Call (951) 852-6799 or visit www.tourdelvinotemecula.com.

Tastin’ Temecula

Tastin’ Temecula is a local, family-owned company that lives and works in Temecula Wine Country. Experience their local hospitality and have an amazing day tasting, eating, shopping and making memories. Call (951) 290-0269 or visit www.tastintemecula.com.

Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tours

Your Temecula wine tour begins when you climb into one of their inviting apple red Jeeps and head into beautiful Wine Country. Call (951) 240-6646 or visit www.temeculajeeptours.com.

Saddle Up Wine Tours

They opened in November for 2012 as a way to raise funds for rescue horses that have been abandoned, neglected or abused. They are all volunteers, even the owner, and all of the funds go toward the rescued animals. Call (951) 297-9196 or visit www.saddleuptours.com.

Sunrider Wine Tours

Sunrider Tours sprang from Travis Rennie’s love of grapes and farming. He grew up in a farming family and rounded out his wine education by spending six years working as a Cellar Master for one of Temecula’s premier wineries. Call (951) 551-1516 or visit www.sunriderjeeptours.com.

Uncorked Tours

Since 2004 Uncorked Tours continues to grow its wings as they share and realize joyous wonders with all that join our Imaginarium! Uncorked Tours is the first Temecula Wine Country, woman-owned small business to offer multiple in-house activities. Call (888) 400-7641 or visit www.uncorkedtemecula.com.

Moses Wine Tours

Established in 2013, they are consistently rated highly and every spring, their wine tour itineraries change based on which wineries are releasing the best tasting wines from the harvests which took place two to three years ago. Call (855) 946-3386 or visit www.temeculavalleywine.tours.

Little Bus Tours

Learn about everything you didn’t already know about Temecula, the culture of wine tasting, beer making and local spirits. Call (844) 619-1818 or visit www.ittlebustours.com.

All Access Limousine and Temecula wine tours

Spend a day in the serene Temecula Valley Wine Country relaxing in comfort and style while enjoying the breathtaking scenery and award-winning wineries with no stress about the drive home. Call (951) 708-0927 or visit www.allaccesslimo.net.

Temecula Black Car

They offer a variety of different wine tours, both in Temecula and Warner Springs. Call (951) 491-5057 or visit www.tblackcar.com.

A Vineyard Tour of Temecula with Aall In Limo & Party Bus

With skilled, knowledgeable, experienced and professional chauffeurs at the wheel you are destined to have the best time. The friendly drivers at Aall In Limo & Party Bus are savvy with the restaurants and best spots to go wine tasting in Temecula. Call (858) 336-1894 or visit www.aallinlimo.com.

So-Cal Sidecars

Southern California’s first and only tandem motorcycle sidecar experience. The goal is to give winery goers a unique, fun and intimate way to get to know this wine region with their knowledgeable drivers. Call (951) 414-5344 or visit www.socalsidecars.com.

Also, check out:

Vineyard Coast Transportation

(951) 303-4923

Temecula Wine Tours

(951) 501-5682

Silver Fox Limousine

(951) 699-4000

TemeculaVIPshuttles

(951) 757-1758

Best Coast Temecula Wine Tours

(949) 328-4222

Destination Temecula Wine Tours & Experiences

(951) 695-1232

Temecula To The Maxx

(951) 331-0385

Wine Rover Tours

(951) 333-8868

WINEormous

(951) 907-9701

West Coast Transportation

(951) 926-1902

Temecula Winery Transportation

(951) 972-0135

Temecula Carriage Company

(858) 205-9161

Temecula Wine Tour Limo

(951) 291-8250

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.