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Visit Temecula Valley Honors Xenia Hospitality Award Winners

Thursday, April 18, 2024 4:00 PM by Norma Marlowe

PHOTO (L to R): Carrie Peltzer, Peltzer Farm & Winery; John Goldsmith, Europa Village Wineries & Resort; Alicia Marshall, The New Inn; Kayla McKemie, Europa Village Wineries & Resort; Jaime Castellanos, Bluewater Grill Temecula; Hany Ali, Europa Village Wineries & Resort; Luis Gonzalez, Temecula Life; Walter Carter, Danza del Sol Winery; Steve VanHouten, Europa Village Wineries & Resort.

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV) has announced the winners of the 13th Annual Xenia Hospitality Awards, which honor tourism-related businesses and individuals for displaying exemplary hospitality and service. Through hard work and commitment, they are contributing to the growth of tourism in Temecula Valley, which now totals over 3 million people annually. This highly anticipated event was held on April 18 at Pechanga Resort Casino with more than 300 guests in attendance, including local government officials, businesses, and hospitality employees.

The awards program is inspired by the Greek word “Xenia,” which is defined as the concept of hospitality or generosity shown to those who are far from home. Awards were given in 12 categories:

  • Ambassador Award
  • Champion Culinary Award
  • Cilurzo Winery of the Year Award
  • Dining Excellence Award
  • Golden Tap Brewery of the Year Award
  • Hospitality Award
  • Innkeeper’s Choice Award
  • Outdoor Adventure Pioneer Award
  • Social Media Award
  • Spotlight on Service Award
  • Service Star of Hospitality Award
  • Welty Award

“Hospitality plays a critical role in fostering tourism growth, and the Xenia Awards are reserved for those who strive to create truly memorable and meaningful experiences for our guests,” said Scott A. Wilson, President of Visit Temecula Valley. “We congratulate all the winners and nominees for their outstanding work.”

The Spotlight on Service recognition identifies and honors front-line hospitality workers who are “spotted” in the community providing exceptional service to a visitor. Nominations are submitted by members of the Visit Temecula Valley Hospitality Committee.

2023 Xenia Spotlight on Service Award Recipients

  • Amanda Leitzke, Grapeline Wine Tours 
  • Carol Post, Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants 
  • Cristina Castro, Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce 
  • Dan Sletten, Peltzer Farm & Winery 
  • Debbie Jordan, Baily’s Old Town 
  • Gigi & Lance Richmond, The Old Town Deli, Temecula 
  • Harrison Boyd, Ford & Elm 
  • Jade Dean – Doffo Winery 
  • Mariana Martinez – Bolero at Europa Village Wineries & Resort 
  • Michelle Vazquez, Avensole Winery 
  • Miguel Llamas, Maurice Car’rie Winery 
  • Mike Miles, Grapeline Wine Tours 
  • Scott Young, A Grape Escape Balloon Adventures 
  • Sue Kelly, Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants 
  • Susan Davidson, Doffo Winery 
  • Tami Bonarrigo, Bolero at Europa Village Wineries & Resort 
  • Walter Carter, Danza del Sol Winery 

For the first time, one Spotlight on Service Award recipient was selected for the new Service Star of Hospitality Award. Walter Carter, of Danza del Sol Winery, was honored for consistently exceeding expectations and setting a positive example for others.

Additional Xenia Hospitality Award winners are as follows:

2023 Xenia Award Winners by Category

  • Ambassador Award: Dan Stephenson, Rancon Group, Europa Village Wineries & Resort
  • Champion Culinary Award: Hany Ali, Bolero at Europa Village Wineries & Resort
  • Cilurzo Award for Winery of the Year: Peltzer Farm & Winery
  • Dining Excellence Award: Bluewater Grill & Seafood Restaurant
  • Golden Tap Brewery of the Year: 8 bit Brewing Company
  • Hospitality Award: Europa Village Wineries & Resort
  • Innkeeper’s Choice Award: The New Inn
  • Outdoor Adventure Pioneer Award: Sidecar Tours
  • Social Media Award: Europa Village Wineries & Resort

2023 Xenia Welty Award for Tourism Professional of the Year

The 2023 Welty Award for tourism professional of the year was presented to Luis Gonzalez, Temecula Life. This award is presented to someone who is innovative, creative, inspiring, and maintains a strong commitment to tourism in the Temecula Valley.

More information on Temecula Valley Xenia Hospitality Awards can be found here.

About Visit Temecula Valley

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV) is a nonprofit 501 (c)(6) destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting tourism-related businesses including wineries, restaurants, breweries, retail and specialty boutiques, hotels, and more. It is a popular destination that includes Southern California Wine Country, Old Town Temecula, and Pechanga Resort Casino. In 2019, Wine Enthusiast named Temecula Valley one of the world’s 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations. For more information go to



Author: Norma Marlowe