San Diego has access to many beautiful day trips, including a visit to Temecula's wine region just an hour's drive away. Temecula Wine Valley produces over fifty different varieties of wines throughout the region, many of which are award-winning. Along with the forty family-owned wineries in the area, you'll find fantastic restaurants, charming inns, and even several spas.
The majority of the wineries are open to the public for tastings throughout the week. Some, like, Lorimar, offer live music even on weekdays. The views in the area boast endless, rolling, hillside vineyards with Mount San Jacinto and Palomar Mountain on the horizon. Hop in your car, and get ready to sip and eat your day away!
This winery is the hallmark of two brothers, their wives, and a group of friends who banded together to make their lifelong dream of owning a vineyard come true. Named after their childhood street, they aim to evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia in those who come to visit. Somerset specializes in wines made from the Rhone varieties, and I can attest that their Viognier is perfectly dry, and crisp, with the right amount of fruit notes. The tasting menu offers sparkling, white, red, and dessert wines with catchy names like "Fuzzy Bunnies". Wine lovers stand along the bar as they sip and chat away with the knowledgeable bar staff. It is also one of the few wineries that offer a snack menu.
The views from this restaurant are enough to win me over and the outstanding lunch menu just wraps up the entire experience perfectly. In just a few moments, you'll be swept away to the Tuscan hillsides of Italy. The mushroom soup on the menu will have you over the moon. In fact, our friends dropped their Covid concerns and each tasted the soup with equally emphatic raves of the delicious, creamy concoction. The Salmon Toast, Ray's Famous Angus Burger, Pasta Puttanesca, Chef's Caesar Salad, Crispy Brussel Sprouts with a Fried Egg, and the Roasted Cornish Game Hen, were all a hit with our crew.
This laid-back vineyard is named by combining the brothers-in-law's names, Lawrie and Mark, who opened the winery in 2009. Lorimar not only produces exceptional wines but also offers live music every day of the week. This winery wins as not only my favorite wine producer in Temecula, but also the most fun! The 2017 Meritage here was a hit and we made sure to snatch a bottle to bring back home with us. I also especially loved the 2021 Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc which I now love having nearby in my wine cooler.
While Falkner Winery takes you away to Tuscany, Churon will mentally place you in the South of France with breathtaking views of sprawling grape vines surrounding the charming Chateau that triples as an inn, spa, and winery. The views of Temecula Valley here are magnificent. You'll also love their tasting room which exudes a French vibe to all who sip their beautifully presented flights of wine laid on a wooden board in order from "most light" to "most bold".
Once you hit Italy and France, make your way over to Bolero for this Spanish-inspired winery in the heart of Temecula that has an incredibly authentic tapas restaurant, Bolero Restaurante, on its premises. Even on a Tuesday evening, this place was packed, reservations are highly encouraged. After a full day of sipping wines, you'll want to end your day here and embark on a delicious food journey, with more wine of course! Some of the highlights of our meal included the Fried Cauliflower with Marcona almonds, the Fire-Roasted Eggplant and Blistered Shishito over a Chickpea Puree, the Patats Bravas, the Autumn Vegetable Paella, and the Striped Seabass; all perfectly prepared to please every palate.
Temecula Wine Valley is truly Southern California's version of Napa Valley. There is no need to make your way over four hundred miles North to sip on excellent wines. I promise that you will find the landscape, wineries, and food equally marvelous in Temecula.