Enjoy local California wine in scenic surroundings during one of these trips.
By John Rodwan, Contributor March 10, 2021, at 9:16 a.m.
Note: Some tour providers on this list may have limited or ceased operations due to COVID-19. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
Situated between Los Angeles and San Diego in the hills of Southern California's wine country, Temecula is home to dozens of wineries. After evaluating both expert input and consumer sentiment, U.S. News determined the following tours to be the best available for wine enthusiasts visiting the area. All of these excursions are conducted by dedicated guides eager to share their knowledge of viticulture, wine-making and regional history.
Grapeline Tours – Vineyard Picnic Tour
Visit four wineries and enjoy tastings or a glass of wine at each one on this half-day excursion. This tour also includes a catered lunch. The tour begins around 10 a.m. when Grapeline will pick you up from your local hotel. You'll spend about five hours tasting your way through the valley before being dropped back off at your lodging between 4 and 5 p.m. Participants frequently praise the guides for their entertaining and informative commentary as well as their overall helpfulness and friendliness. When available, behind-the-scenes tours at one of the wineries are also included, and tour-takers tend to appreciate the insights offered into the wine-making process. Ticket prices, which cover transportation, wine samples and a well-liked lunch with multiple menu options, cost around $130 (with an upcharge on Saturdays and holidays).
Grapeline Tours – Classic Wine Adventure
This tour takes off from Old Town Temecula and stops at three wineries. You'll get cheese and other snacks to compliment the experience; but some reviewers mention the snacks aren't substantial and suggest eating before you go. Tour-takers consistently describe the guides as enthusiastic, organized, knowledgeable and amiable and the wineries' fare as top-notch. The four-hour excursions are available twice daily starting at 10 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Tickets cost approximately $120 for the morning version and $110 for the afternoon outing; the price includes round-trip transportation and wine samples as well as snacks at one of the wineries. In addition to this tour, and the iteration including lunch, Grapeline offers private winery tours.
Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tours
Enjoy the sights of Temecula from an open-air jeep as this small-group tour takes you to three wineries and their tasting rooms (as well as crush pads and barrel rooms when available). While traveling the region's backroads, guides share insights about wine-making and local history, which tour-takers consistently find both informative and amusing. The four-wheel-drive vehicles can carry six passengers and depart daily at 11 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. Tickets start at around $130 for weekday outings and $150 for tours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. (Discounts are available if you book online.) The price includes pickups at Temecula hotels, bottled water and a picnic lunch. Private tours are also an option.
Sunrider Wine & Beer Jeep Tour – Discovery Tour
Combine an off-road vineyard drive with stops for tastings at three wineries on this three-hour expedition. Wine-lovers appreciate the generous samples offered during this tour as well as the guides' knowledge and friendliness. Tickets cost approximately $150, which includes a picnic-style lunch in addition to the wine samples. Jeeps head out daily at 10:50 a.m. and return at 2:50 p.m. Sunrider also offers a tour that includes a look at a wine production facility as well as a tour that features food and wine pairings.