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Golden Southern California Wine Country Vintner is a Visit Temecula Valley Dreamer

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 9:00 PM

TEMECULA VALLEY Southern California Wine Country: "In celebration of the dreams and innovative, creative spirit of extraordinary individuals who personify California's anything-is-possible determination, Visit Temecula Valley introduces Jim Carter, Temecula Valley Dreamer, and Golden California Vintner of Southern California Wine Country. His South Coast Winery is three-time award winner of the prestigious, California Golden State Winery of the Year," announced Kimberly Adams, president and CEO, Visit Temecula Valley (formerly the Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau). "More than one wine writer has acknowledged that the popular Temecula Valley Wine Country's Southern California (not Napa Valley or Sonoma) geographical location has been a source for doubt about Temecula Valley's fruit and talent to create wines of exceptional merit. Meanwhile, Jim Carter and his South Coast Winery are demonstrating Temecula Valley to be a fine wine region. Certainly, there is quality fruit and quality winemaking at the three-time award winner of the prestigious, California Golden State Winery of the Year," Adams appreciates with a smile. "Jim Carter was already a savvy, accomplished entrepreneur, when he ventured to become a vintner. His inspiration was a movie vignette of a thriving vineyard in a beautiful mountain valley. With vision and tenacity, his passion for producing quality wine grapes and attracting a talented winemaking team are the essential foundation for South Coast Winery's great success." Welcoming more than 2 million visitors each year, casual, picturesque Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country is a getaway and vacation destination located 60 minutes from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Springs; 90 minutes from Los Angeles and Hollywood.


"In 1981, I purchased a beautiful 400-acre (161-hectare) parcel of land," Jim explains. "My understanding is that the property got its name Wild Horse Peak around 1845 and that it was part of the free land that was given by the federal government for homesteading."

"Forward to 1995," Jim continues. "A 14-second movie vignette of a lush and thriving, rolling vineyard spoke to me. There was a winery in the background and more rolling hills. That image became the inspiration for transforming the Wild Horse Peak property. I travelled to Napa Valley to learn all that I could. Upon my return, the property's soils were tested; water, light, and temperatures measured; and climate analyzed. Conditions were found to be ideal for growing some outstanding varietals of grapes."

"Science is a good friend," Jim advises. "It requires you respect Mother Nature and work with your microclimates and soil types. That is necessary to produce the best quality fruit and to bring out the best quality and flavors in the grapes. Then as now all of our vineyards are sustainably grown," he continues. "We purposefully started out that way from the beginning."

"That time in my life, in 1996, when we were working in the field, digging in the earth, planting vines, and nurturing what would become the 200-acre (80-hectare) Wild Horse Peak Mountain Vineyard was a good time," Jim recalls. "When I remember watching as the virgin soil of sage brush turned into rolling vineyards that grew and flourished, I am inspired even now."

In addition to the original vineyard, Jim's vineyards in Temecula Valley now also include Rolling Hills Vineyard (26 acres/10 hectares planted); South Coast Vineyard (22 acres/8 hectares planted); and Carter Estate Vineyard (70 acres/28 hectares planted).


Jim's early years as a vintner were as a winegrape grower and contracting to sell what some Temecula Valley wineries considered to be the valley's best quality fruit. "In 2001, I decided it was time to establish a winery," Jim explains. "A talented winemaking team was essential, and a mutual agreement was reached fairly promptly to establish the winery's reputation for excellence. The best winemaking equipment was secured and 2003 saw the founding of South Coast Winery. With our vineyards, the commitment to producing the best quality fruit has endured from the beginning. So too has the commitment to producing the best quality wines. Each year, we strive to bring all the promise of the grapes in the quality of the wine."

Jim's original winemaking team has continued to lend their talents to South Coast Winery's award-winning wines since 2003. Today, South Coast Winery produces a broad portfolio of premium wines in Temecula Valley that appeal to a diverse audience of wine drinkers from novices to connoisseurs.

Wines with the South Coast Winery label include Meritage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, Grenache, Roussane, Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay Sans Chéne, Reserve Chardonnay, Mourvedre, Muscat Canelli, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Rosé, and Merlot Rosé. The South Coast Winery label also includes Brut Sparkling, Extra Dry Sparkling, Blanc de Blanc Sparkling, Blanc de Noir Sparkling, Ruby Cuvee Sparkling, Moscato Spumante Sparkling, a Daybreak Muscat Port, and Black Jack Port.

The Wild Horse Peak Mountain Vineyard label includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Meritage, Sangiovese, Petit Syrah, Pinot Noir, Meritage, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. The Carter Estates wine label is limited release with the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Viognier, Penrose, and Syrah currently available.

The South Coast Winery vineyards and winery estate are certified sustainable under the strict standards of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a program created by the Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers. Yearly production at the South Coast Winery in Temecula Valley is 65,000 cases. Approximately 50,000 cases are still wines; 15,000 cases are sparkling wines.


The prestigious California State Fair Wine Competition recognizes dedication to viticulture and enology, and the best commercial wines of the Golden State. In 2013, 72 judges on 18 panels, judged South Coast Winery against 708 other participating wineries and awarded South Coast Winery, the coveted Golden State Winery of the Year. This was the third time in recent years that the distinction has been awarded to South Coast Winery. In 2008 and 2009, South Coast Winery also brought home the California State Winery of the Year title. Jim reflects earnestly when he says, "It is an honor to have South Coast Winery so recognized."


From 2004 through 2013, South Coast Winery garners 2,000 awards and medals for the premium quality wines it has grown and produced in Temecula Valley. South Coast wines have been officially judged in the international and domestic wine circuit including competitions such as the International Wine & Spirit Competition in London, Vinalies International Wine Competition in Paris, San Francisco International Wine Competition, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Los Angeles International Wine Competition, and San Diego International Wine Competition.

Jim speaks professionally when he says, "I am highly optimistic about Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country's future and the role it is playing in expanding California's wine industry." Personally, he relishes the journey. "It is getting to the destination that is better than arriving. It is getting up every day to be better, and do better, and trying to be the best!"


"South Coast Winery celebrates its Eleventh Anniversary of Excellence in June 2014," Jim shares. "When we decided we were going to put a winery resort in the center of Temecula Valley Wine Country, I travelled throughout California visiting other wineries to see what I would really like to do if I went for a visit to a winery. My vision became clear to me."

Jim's vision has become a successful reality at the distinctive South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. The property features two popular wine tasting rooms where visitors savor award-winning vintages: the Vintner's Vault and the intimate Wine Press. By advance reservation, visitors enjoy the educational Behind the Scenes Wine Tour. The informative experience spans from the vineyard to the crush pad. Each tour also includes a tasting of four wines paired with an individual cheese and fruit platter.

With views of the vineyards and rolling hills at the Vineyard Rose restaurant, guests enjoy premium South Coast Wines with California contemporary wine country cuisine prepared using natural California beef, fresh seafood, locally and regionally sourced foods including farm to fork from the winery estate garden. A Chef's Table fine dining experience is offered by advance reservation. The five courses are paired with award-winning South Coast wines.

For total vintage relaxation, visitors experience South Coast Winery's impressive villas and suites for overnight accommodations and its GrapeSeed Spa. Offered are a blend of innovative, signature, vine-based treatments, massages, body rituals, and unique Vino Vinyasa yoga and wine tasting sessions. The facility also includes an outdoor, heated, salt-water pool; seven-head Vichy shower, steam rooms, and dry sauna.


"I get great pleasure in visiting and spending time at the areas we have created at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa," Jim explains. "We recently celebrated our twelfth Blessing of the Vines. We have a Blessing of the Vines in the spring and a Blessing of the Wines in the fall. I have been very fortunate throughout my life, so it is very fitting that we make time for these types of blessings. The most peaceful thing I do is driving through the estate vineyards to appreciate the quality of the grapes."

"I enjoy the community that Temecula has become. Big with small town warmth," Jim says. "And my wife and I enjoy the entertainment and dining options at Pechanga Resort & Casino."

*Information is believed accurate but may be subject to change.


With natural gifts of climate and geography, bolstered by Pu'eska Mountain, the Rainbow Gap, and Santa Margarita Gap, Temecula Valley is widely recognized for its scenic vineyards, award-winning wines, and gracious and friendly wineries as Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country. The popular boutique destination also includes Downtown Old Town Temecula, Pechanga Resort & Casino, and the Temecula Wine Country Golf Trail, and is home to three-time award-winning California Golden State Winery of the Year, South Coast Winery.

Visit Temecula Valley (formerly the Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau), the region's official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors is online including a complete daily Event Calendar at; "Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country" on Facebook; and @Visit_Temecula on Twitter. Visit Temecula Valley also welcomes ad agencies, location scouts, writers, and directors online at The Temecula Valley Visitors Center is located in Downtown Old Town Temecula (Third Street and Mercedes) adjacent the Old Town Temecula Parking Garage. For visitor information and assistance, call 888/363-2852 or 951/491-6085.