Being about an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles, Temecula is a great option for a day-trip.
What to do:
Wine taste! There are over 40 wineries tucked away in the Temecula wine trail. Some are grand, with spectacular view. Other’s are much more quaint, with an intimate feel. Depending on what experience you’re looking for, you can plan your stops ahead of time or just let it happen organically.
Some people think you must already be familiar with wine varietals to go wine tasting. I grew up in a “wine family”, so words like Grenache, and Petite Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon were just part of our natural vocabulary. However, for those who may stumble over the names, let alone the decision process–there’s friendly staff for that.
Every wine tasting room is equipped with at least one expert who can guide you through the process. My recommendation is that you are honest about your experience level. Many are very receptive and take pleasure in teaching you about their passion: wine. My three favorite wineries are South Coast, Callaway, and Wilson Creek. These three will give you the full experience with atmosphere, views and good wine.
After some wine tasting, it’s fun to hit up the casino for some food and fun. Pechanga is about a fifteen minute drive from the mid-point of the wine trail. Though my odds have never been great there, it’s a fun way to blow off some steam. For those of you not into gambling, Pechanga still offers many dining options as well as entertainment.
Where to stay:
In my experience, hotels are rather limited in the Temecula area. However, this is a great opportunity to get a rental home (Airbnb) and make it your own for the weekend. Some even provide a gift of a bottle of local wine and some snacks.
What to eat:
We usually load up on wine-tasting snacks right when we get there. There’s a Baron’s on the way to the wineries that is equipped with the usual cheeses and meats. That satisfies me and I don’t eat much else while I’m there. However, I’ve heard that the restaurant at Callaway has marvelous food and views. Also, the restaurant at South Coast has an outdoor dining option for lunch which puts you right in their garden.
Temecula is one of my favorite places to visit in Southern California. With its food and wine, I’m one happy girl. Not to mention Glen Ivy Hot Springs is about 30 minutes away. But that’s a blog for another day.
- Visit Temecula Valley Guide
- South Coast Winery
Wilson Creek Winery
- Pechanga Resort and Casino