Robert Mondavi once said “Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.”
Ask a group of wine lovers what they’re favorite wine is, and you’re sure to get a variety of answers. Ask what they’re favorite winery is, and you’ll likely get a similar response. We all have our favorites. The palate, the preference, and the experience are all different for each of us. Thankfully, Temecula wineries have something to offer for every taste.
DISCOVER TEMECULA WINE COUNTRY
Temecula wine country is producing some spectacular California wines with creative winemakers leading the charge. In 2019, Wine Enthusiast heralded Temecula as one of the “10 best travel destinations in the United States.” And that’s not the only award garnished by this awe-inspiring wine region in Southern California.
Located just an hour north of San Diego, Temecula translates in Spanish as “where the sun breaks through the mist.” It’s the combination of these two vital elements that makes it such a productive and fast-growing high-quality wine region. The sun shines an average of 276 days a year here. And with cooling mists drifting in from the Pacific, it’s ideal for growing grapes.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST WINERIES IN TEMECULA
To me, winetasting isn’t just about the wine. It’s about a sensual experience that embraces what we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. And also of course, who we’re with during that experience.
Miles and miles of vineyards as far as the eye can see are growing in Temecula’s 40-plus boutique to full-service wineries. Here are some of our favorites with the following considerations: good wine, views, unique qualities, and the overall winetasting experience.
Please keep in mind that due to current health restrictions, winery hours may change and there might be additional modifications. Please check websites for updated information. And even if you can’t visit right now, the good news is that wines can be ordered and either shipped or picked up curbside. Or you can join the California Wine Club, a fun way to broaden your tastebuds and experience new wines every month. Click here for details>>
10 UNIQUE TEMECULA WINERIES
HART FAMILY WINERY
Location: 41300 Avenida Biona, Temecula, CA 92591
Tasting Room Hours: Mondays – Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
$15 pp/6 wine tastings
$15 for a glass of wine (No Reserve Wines)
$5 extra to purchase Hart wine glass
One of Temecula Valley’s oldest wineries, Hart Family Winery, founded in 1980 by Joe and Nancy Hart, sits 1,500 feet above sea level with stunning views of the mountains and valleys below. Yes, you may see more stunning tasting rooms throughout the valley. But family is what this winery is all about and at any given time you’ll see one of the Harts in the tasting room or out and about the property.
Widely respected as pioneers in the local winemaking industry, the Harts are passionate about their meticulously crafted award-winning wines-producing estate grown red and white varietals. Here, it’s not just about good wines; it’s about good times.
Location: 41150 Via Europa, Temecula, CA 92591
Tasting Room Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10 am to 5 pm, Friday & Saturday 10 am – 6 pm
Tasting Fee: Regular: $25 pp/ 6 tastings/Premium: $30/ 6 tastes from regular menu, 2 from premium/Superiore: $35/6 tastes from premium menu. All tastings include logo glass.
Transporting you to the old-world villages of Spain, France, and Italy, visitors to Europa Village embark on a journey of discovery with unique vintages and delicious fare at a one-of-a-kind destination wine resort. The resort boasts two winery “destinations”—Bolero, a vibrant new Spanish adventure, and C’est La Vie, an amorous and classic French experience. And not to be left out, the next planned village opening is Vienza—inspired by the Italian countryside.
Living in Italy, we grew to love many of the European varietals. So, we welcome the handcraft premium wines in the classic Old-World traditions of France, Italy, and Spain here at Europa.
Location: 35601 Rancho California Rd, Temecula, CA 92591
Tasting Room Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:45 pm
Tasting Experience Fees: Range from $25 to $100 pp (winery suggests checking the website or calling for updates).
Modern, chic, and unlike any other winery in the region, BOTTAIA (Italian for “cask aging room,”) is an absolute amazing personal winery experience. Their motto is “Italian inspired-locally made,” and their unique approach to the art of winemaking, food pairing, and celebrating life is refreshing. They’ve set the bar on breathtakingly innovative wine-tasting experiences in a variety of spectacularly beautiful settings.
Pre-paid reservations are necessary for the picturesque Wine Terrace or elegant indoor tasting rooms which include white and red Italian varietals. However, the winery eventually plans to resume some of our favorite experiences— barrel room tasting, a wine-blending lab, and seated tasting with charcuterie pairing. And we can’t wait!
CARTER ESTATE WINERY
Location: 34450 Rancho California Road, Temecula, California 92591
Tasting Room Hours: Friday – Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tasting Fee: $25 pp/5 flight tastings
Surrounded by 109 acres of magnificent vines, the luxurious Carter Estate is an upscale resort and winery owned by vintner Jim Carter and his family. This is a great place to spend the night in Temecula. Book your room here>>
Winemakers here utilize the French méthode champenoise process to create outstanding sparkling wines. But their other whites and reds are equally outstanding. Carter wines are 100% estate-grown, bottled, and certified sustainable. A wall showcase filled with award-winning ribbons in the tasting room attests to the quality of these magnificent creations. And sunsets here are amazing. Also, check out their sister-property South Coast Winery and Resort.
Location: 38311 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592
Tasting Room Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 am–5 pm, Friday 11:30 am–6 pm, Saturday 11 am–6 pm, Sunday: 11 am–5 pm
Tasting Fee: $27 pp hosted with reservation. Contact winery for other tasting experiences and vineyard tours.
On a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Rolling Hills Vineyard Estate, Leoness (village of dreams) is just that— a dream come true for agricultural specialists Gary Winder and Mike Rennie.
Together Mike and Gary have over 80 years of farming experience in the Temecula Valley. Today they farm more than 500 acres of vineyards and 300 acres of citrus and avocado.
Whites, reds, along with other small-batch specialty wines are produced here with amazing depth and flavor. So, it’s of no surprise, that Leoness wines have garnished high scores from Wine Enthusiast and others. Though the wines are the star of the show, the picturesque setting seals the deal making it one of our favorites here in wine country.
PALUMBO FAMILY VINEYARDS
Location: 40150 Barksdale Circle, Temecula, CA 92592
Tasting Room Hours: Fri–Sun 11:00 am–5:00 pm/Mon–Thurs by appointment
Tasting Fee: $20 pp/5 wines/$45 “Dirt to Bottle” Tour & Tasting
Co-owner and winemaker Nick Palumbo happens to know something about the earth and wine. With Sicilian ancestry on one side and Illinois farming on the other, it was inevitable he would venture into the winery business.
Palumbo’s winery is committed to small lot, handcrafted wines from varieties that are grown on small block, sustainably farmed wine vineyards. The focus here is full-body reds like Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. Their warm, intimate, and rustic tasting room is both lovely and welcoming. For a first-hand insight into the winery’s cultivation and production operations their “dirt-to-bottle” vineyard tour and tasting is a must-do.
COUGAR WINERY & VINEYARD
Location: 39870 De Portola Road, Temecula, 92592
Tasting Room Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm.
Tasting Fee: $20.00pp/6 tastes, which includes logo glass.
Located on the stunning “De Portola Wine Trail,” Cougar is one of the more interesting of Temecula wine producers as they boast 100% Estate white and red Italian varietals grown on their family-owned 17-acres.
Of interest to us as wine lovers was that the 2019 Estate Falanghina, a rare Italian varietal was introduced to the United States by the Cougar family. We also love their Montepulciano known as the “The Full Monte,” a 100% varietal wine originating from Italy’s Abruzzo region. For a small boutique winery, they are big on great wines.
Location: 33410 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591
Tasting Room Hours: Thursday thru Sunday 12 pm-6 pm, Friday & Saturday 11 am-8 pm
Tasting Fee: $17 pp/6 tastes Monday thru Friday, $20 on Saturdays and Sunday.
Founded in 2000 by young entrepreneur, Cane Vanderhoof, Miramonte’s picturesque hilltop winery has emerged as one of the most respected and innovative boutique wineries of Southern California. Vineyards between 1,400 and 1,600 feet produce sumptuous wines. Additional premium fruit is obtained from 44 acres of nearby local vineyards resulting in amazing French, Portuguese and Southern France varietals.
The winery is highly touted for its experimentation in planting lesser-known but equally fascinating varieties (Macabeo/Viura, Torrontes, Xarello, and the northern Italian Teroldego) for blending. Bottom line, wines and the tasting experience here are always fantastic.
CALLAWAY VINEYARD & WINERY
Location: 32720 Rancho California Road, Temecula, CA 92591
Tasting Room Hours: 10:30 am – 6 pm
Tasting Fee: $20pp/2 oz. wine flights/ 3 wines
Views from this lofty winery are simply spectacular. But more importantly, its vineyards are farmed with the Lin family’s philosophy of sustaining the viability of the land on a long-term basis. Callaway currently grows seven different white and red varietals.
The approachable, flavorful, and extremely well-balanced award-winning wines produced by winemaker Craig Larson are the hallmark of this picturesque winery. Their reds are really good, but their Viognier, Chardonnay, and Roussanne white varietals are some of our favorites.
ROBERT RENZONI VINEYARDS
Location: 37350 De Portola Road, Temecula, CA 92592
Tasting Room Hours: 11 am – 6 pm daily
Tasting Fee: Saluté: $19pp/5 wines/Classico: $24/5 wines (one from library menu). Both include a logo glass.
The history of Renzoni winemaking dates back to 1886 when Robert’s great-grandfather Frederico worked in the vineyards of Northern Italy’s Adriatic Coast. Four generations later, the family is still in the wine business producing an impressive variety of red, white, sparkling, rose, and sweet Italian varietals. Besides their amazing wines, we love the beautiful Italian-inspired estate with stunning vineyard views.
The Renzoni estate also produces a family-recipe marinara sauce, homemade vinegar, and even a variety of spicy chile pepper sauces — all available for purchase at the winery.
The next time you’re needing a road trip with some top-notch wine tasting, head to the Temecula wine region where winemaking is not only a passion, it’s a way of life.