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Visit Temecula Valley 2016 Xenia Hospitality Awards Honor the Region’s Tourism Businesses

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 9:00 PM by Annette Brown


Visit Temecula Valley honored 62 nominees in six categories from some of the most outstanding and exceptional tourism businesses on March 16, 2017 at the 7th annual Visit Temecula Valley meeting. Organized and orchestrated by the Visit Temecula Valley staff and the Hospitality Task Force, the program's focus was the presentation of the seventh annual Xenia Hospitality Awards.

Also recognized with awards and a standing ovation were 20 of the more than 7,000 local, hospitality staff who act as service ambassadors for 2.7 million visitors including 1.3 million overnight stays. These visitors generate $696 million in direct travel spending into the local economy including $75 million in local lodging revenue.

Held at Wilson Creek Winery, the event emcee was Gene Wunderlich, Government Affairs Director for Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors. Wunderlich's distinctive voice and manner paced the celebration of significant efforts by the nominees, winners, and recipients. The emcee also emphasized how such efforts and accomplishments help foster Temecula Valley's ongoing popularity and success as a Southern California visitor destination.

The 2016 Social Media Award for the greatest impact through social media promoting Temecula and successfully attracting visitors was presented to Pechanga Resort & Casino. Pechanga social media channels include over 530,000 Facebook, 11,000 Instagram, and 13,000 Twitter followers. For generating significant economic impact for the region by working to encourage tourism, John Kelliher of Grapeline Wine tours, Stryder Transportation, and Casa Turo Vacation Rental received the 2016 Ambassador Award.

The 2016 Hospitality Award for outstanding hospitality to visitors and helping promote travel and tourism to Temecula with team spirit was presented to Galway Downs. The Cilurzo Award for Winery of the Year recognized a Temecula Valley winery with a wonderful history of winemaking and strong family philosophy, creating high-quality, award winning, and recognized wines, a commitment to green technology that has brought special recognition to the winery and Temecula Valley for conservation of natural resources, and went to Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery.

The Champion Culinary Award for an exceptional culinary experience, amazingly prepared and locally sourced food, and friendly, knowledgeable, authentic, customer service, was presented to The Goat & Vine. Winner of the Welty Award for Tourism Professional of the Year was Cherise Manning of A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure.

Additionally, 20 hospitality professionals and the hospitality organizations they work for, who exemplify a commitment to exceptional, guest service were recognized with Spotlight on Service awards and a standing ovation by the hundreds of event attendees. Spotlight on Service acknowledges the delivery of genuine, anticipatory, friendly, and caring service. The complete listing of all 2016 nominees, winners, and recipients at the Visit Temecula Valley 2017 Annual Meeting follows.

2016 Visit Temecula Valley SOCIAL MEDIA AWARD
Winner: Pechanga Resort & Casino
Nominee: Bel Vino Winery
Nominee: In The Loop
Nominee: Peltzer Family Cellars
Nominee: Ponte Winery & Vineyard Inn
Nominee: South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Nominee: Temecula Talk
Nominee: Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival
Nominee: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

2016 Visit Temecula Valley AMBASSADOR AWARD
Winner: John Kelliher - Grapeline Wine Tours, Stryder Transportation, and Casa Turo Vacation Rental
Nominee: Dawn Adamiak - City of Temecula
Nominee: Melody Brunsting - Melody's Ad Works, Inc.
Nominee: Laurie Diamond - Temecula Creek Inn
Nominee: Ted Dorr - UPS
Nominee: Katie Smith - Galway Downs
Nominee: Ken Smith - Galway Downs
Nominee: Abby Tribulski - Wilson Creek Manor

2016 Visit Temecula Valley HOSPITALITY AWARD
Winner: Galway Downs
Nominee: Corner Bakery Café
Nominee: La Cocina Bar & Grill
Nominee: Nothing Bundt Cakes
Nominee: Old Town Community Theater
Nominee: Promenade Temecula
Nominee: Temecula Carriage Company
Nominee: Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival
Nominee: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association
Nominee: Villa De Amore
Nominee: Wiens Family Cellars
Nominee: Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards

Winner: Robert Renzoni Vineyards & Winery
Nominee: Baily Vineyard & Winery
Nominee: Europa Village
Nominee: Falkner Winery
Nominee: Fazeli Cellars
Nominee: Frangipani Estate Winery
Nominee: Leoness Cellars
Nominee: Lorimar Vineyards & Winery
Nominee: Miramonte Winery
Nominee: Monte De Oro Winery & Vineyards
Nominee: Oak Mountain Winery
Nominee: Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery
Nominee: Ponte Winery
Nominee: Wiens Family Cellars
Nominee: Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards

2016 Visit Temecula Valley CHAMPION CULINARY AWARD
Winner: The Goat & Vine
Nominee: 1909
Nominee: Annie's Café
Nominee: Bluewater Grill
Nominee: Cork Fire Kitchen
Nominee: Creekside Grille
Nominee: Journey's End
Nominee: The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars

Winner: Cherise Manning - A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure
Nominee: Valerie Andrews - Oak Mountain Winery/Temecula Hills Winery
Nominee: Jim Carter - South Coast Winery Resort & Spa/Carter Estate Winery & Resort
Nominee: Denis Ferguson - Net Hospitality & Development Group, Inc.
Nominee: John Kelliher - Grapeline Wine Tours, Stryder Transportation, and Casa Turo Vacation Rental
Nominee: Brenda Lorenzi - Lorenzi Estate Vineyards & Winery/Inland Empire Magazine/Tastes of Italia Magazine
Nominee: Crystal Magon - South Coast Winery Resort & Spa/Carter Estate Winery & Resort
Nominee: Mark Macarro - Pechanga Resort & Casino
Nominee: Mike Rennie - Stage Ranch/Leoness Cellars/Temecula Valley Winery Management
Nominee: Ken Smith - Galway Downs

2016 Visit Temecula Valley SPOTLIGHT ON SERVICE Recipients
Alexander Abbey - Romano's Macaroni Grill
George Brizzolara - Meritage at Callaway
Donald Bryson - Baily's
Walter Carter - Danza Del Sol Winery
Chanelle Castracion - Spuntino Pizzeria & Delicatessen
Donald Catalano - Meritage at Callaway
Ted Dorr - UPS
Grace Dudural - Temecula Creek Inn
Leah Finn - La Masters of Fine Jewelry
Bill Geeson - A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure
Elena Holgren - Papyrus
Jacqueline Holt - Temecula Creek Inn
Anthony Howell - DCH Honda of Temecula
Rachelle Jones - Olive Garden
Austin Mitchel - Baily's
Damian Perryman - Corner Bakery Ynez Road
Brian Schular - Temecula Creek Inn
Sam Sidoti - Promenade Temecula
Bonnie Tyler - Wiens Family Cellars
Iness Vanella - Century 21 Realty

Visit Temecula Valley is a 501(c) 6 non-profit business organization whose primary responsibilities are to promote the Temecula Valley as a year-round travel destination and to advance the Temecula visitor economy. Visit Temecula Valley is recognized as the region's official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors. Visit Temecula Valley is online at The Temecula Valley Visitors Center is located in downtown, Old Town Temecula at Third Street and Mercedes Street adjacent the Old Town Temecula parking garage. To learn about Visit Temecula Valley membership, please call (888) 363-2852 or (951) 491-6085.


Author: Annette Brown

If you see, hear or read about Temecula Valley, chances are it originated from Annette. When not pitching stories, she’s is often traveling around Temecula Valley showing media the amazing people and places that make the destination an unforgettable experience. Nearly 30 years, Annette has been working in public relations and marketing. Annette joined the Visit Temecula team in 2011 and is the Director of Public Relations.