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Visit Temecula Valley (VTV) Announces 2022 Xenia Hospitality Award Winners

Monday, May 1, 2023 12:00 PM by Norma Marlowe

Left to Right: Scott A. Wilson, President/CEO, Visit Temecula Valley; Cathy Hitz, Wilson Creek Winery; Sharon Bonham, Grape Escape Balloon Adventure; Arian Kemp, 1882 Cantina at Pechanga Resort Casino; Aspen Snider, Crush & Brew; Lester Sunga, Crush & Brew; Selena Flint, Small Barn; Angela Vredenberg, Goat & Vine; Jake Cruz, Customer Service Experts, Promenade Temecula Express Train; Zachary Laufer, Bolero at Europa; Michael Feeley, Chairman of the Board, Visit Temecula Valley and Executive Director, Pechanga Development Corporation.

Visit Temecula Valley (VTV) recently announced the winners of the 12th annual Xenia Hospitality Awards, honoring outstanding employees and local businesses that contribute to the growth of tourism in Temecula. One of the most highly anticipated hospitality industry events of the year, the Xenia Awards ceremony was held at Pechanga Resort Casino with over 300 guests in attendance including government officials, local businesses, and hospitality workers.   

“We’re grateful for the commitment of over 7,000 employees in the tourism sector who demonstrate outstanding service every day and help us promote our beautiful destination,” said Scott A. Wilson, President/CEO of Visit Temecula Valley.  

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. The Xenia Awards include Spotlight on Service, Xenia Hospitality Award, and the Welty Award.

“Tourism is one of Temecula’s leading industries, and it’s important to honor the exceptional employees and businesses that inspire our guests to want to return,” said Michael Feeley, Chairman of the Board, Visit Temecula Valley. “On behalf of the VTV Board, I’d like to congratulate all of the winners.” 

The Spotlight on Service Award identifies and honors front-line hospitality employees who are “spotted” providing exceptional service to Temecula Valley visitors. Nominations are submitted by Visit Temecula Valley board members.  

2022 Spotlight on Service Award Winners 

  • Angela Vredenburg: Goat & Vine Restaurant 

  • Arian Kemp: 1882 cantina at Pechanga Resort Casino 

  • Aspen Snider: Crush & Brew 

  • Brittany Russell: Be Good Restaurant & Experience 

  • Cathy Hitz: Wilson Creek Winery 

  • Hanna Mill: Staples 79 South 

  • Jake Cruz: The Customer Service Experts (Promenade Express train) 

  • Jeff Beck: Be Good Restaurant & Experience 

  • Kalie Sauceda: Lazy Dog Café 

  • Lester Sunga: Crush & Brew 

  • Kandi Kramer: Public House 

  • Ramon Ascencio: Journey's End Restaurant at Pechanga Resort Casino 

  • Selena Flint: Small Barn Restaurant 

  • Sharon Bonham: A Grape Escape Balloon Adventure 

  • Zachary Laufer: Bolero at Europa  

The Xenia Awards are divided into six categories: Social Media, Culinary, Ambassador, Brewery, Hospitality, and Cilurzo Winery of the Year. 

2022 Xenia Award Winners 

  • Social Media Award: Temecula Life Magazine 

  • Champion Culinary Award: Matt Steffen of Cork | Fire Kitchen 

  • Ambassador Award: John Kelliher 

  • Golden Tap Brewery of the Year Award: Ironfire Brewing Company 

  • Xenia Hospitality Award: Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival 

  • Cilurzo Award for Winery of the Year: Bottaia Winery 

2022 Welty Award Winner 

The 2022 Welty Award for tourism professional of the year was initially presented last month to John and Kim Kelliher, owners of Grapeline Wine Tours, during the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gala. It was highlighted once again during the Xenia Awards program.  

More information on the Xenia Awards can be found here

About Visit Temecula Valley 

Visit Temecula Valley is the region’s official destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting tourism. The organization partners with local businesses including wineries, restaurants, breweries, retail and specialty boutiques, hotels, short-term rentals, and more. For more information, go to


Author: Norma Marlowe