This post originally appeared on Snooth.A well-known secret lies in the heart of Southern California’s wine region: Temecula Valley Wine Country. About 85 miles south of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego near the Interstate 15 and 215 corridors, sits Temecula. Meaning “where the sun shines through the mist,” Temecula has over 40 wineries and award-winning premium wines from over 28 varietals.
Visitors should not expect to find a drop of Pinot Noir here. Instead, wines like Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier rule on the 35,000-acre land due to the cool coastal breeze between the Rainbow and Santa Margarita gaps. The best time to visit is during the harvest season in August through October, with the buds breaking in mid-March.
Thirsty yet? Read on to learn about wineries that will satisfy your taste buds!
The first commercial vineyard in Temecula Wine Country is Bella Vista. Formally known as Cilurzo Winery on Calle Contento, it was established in 1968 and uses 80 per cent estate grapes and 20 per cent Temecula grapes. Visitors can sample six different varietals from the winery's white, red and sparkling wines. Some favourites include a 2009 Rozmaring with flavours of apricot and honey, a 2009 Soiree Dry with peach flavours, a 2005 sweet Late Harvest Petite Syrah, a 2008 Black Magic made from late harvest Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with plum and cherry flavours, and a 2011 Muscat Canelli with exotic fruit flavours.
Just up the hill from the winery is a picnic area where you can enjoy spectacular views and walk out to a pond filled with geese (just watch out for Charlie, a goose who is protective of his friends!).
Lorimar Vineyard & Winery tells a song right upon walking into its tasting rooms. The Old Town Temecula Tasting Room has been downtown for years and the Wine Country Tasting Room off of Berenda Road opened in April 2012. Filled with artwork, a baby grand piano and even a guitar in the wine country tasting room, the winery is very passionate about the arts.
Visitors get six tastes to try from the red, white and dessert wines. Lorimar's most popular is the 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a smooth wine with black cherry, boysenberry and a pomegranate finish. Other favourites include the 2008 Lydian Cabernet Franc with flavours of pepper, cherry and vanilla, a sweet 2009 White Merlot with cranberry and raspberry flavours and a crisp finish, and a sparkling wine with flavours of tangerine and lemon.
To start the morning off right, Temecula Wine Country also offers breathtaking 60 to 75-minute hot air balloon rides. The gentle, tranquil ride offers beautiful views of the endless rows of vineyards, mountain caps and drifting fog. Birthdays, wedding proposals and anniversaries are unique ways to make a balloon ride even more memorable. At the end of the adventure, you'll be presented with an honorary aeronaut certificate, continental breakfast and a toast of Champagne to celebrate the daring flight.
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