While Temecula is no match for Napa or Sonoma, it still has so much to offer! Temecula is unique for its ability to grow wine in such a hot and dry climate. Because of this, they are more known for their red blends and beautiful scenery.
With having over 40 wineries to choose from, it can be mind-boggling to find the best choice! On this itinerary, I will describe 4 great choices that have been tried and testing by yours truly!
This wine tasting day was apart of my 3 day weekend trip to Carlsbad, California. If you are traveling in the spring, be sure to check out the full guide here!
Best way to get around?
If you have a car, I would recommend using the app Dryver. I was nervous because of the mixed reviews, but it couldn’t have turned out better!
It works similarly to Uber/Lyft, but they drive YOUR car. You schedule a day, time and how long you are expecting to need the driver, then they will call you to confirm and pick you up at your hotel.
This is extremely affordable in comparison to a limo driver or a wine tour, only $25/hour! This was by far the most affordable option for me because I was staying all the way in Carlsbad by the beach.
If you are already staying in Temecula, you could easily Uber/Lyft from winery to winery. I never lost service up there and the crowds are big enough to welcome ride shares.
When to go?
The scenery will be its best in the summer months when the vines are full and green. However, it is going to be HOT! Temecula is known for warm and dry summers, temperatures averaging 90 degrees.
I went during the spring season and the weather was beautiful. Daytime averages were 70 degrees and crowds were not nearly as bad as the summer months (so I was told). The scenery is not nearly as beautiful as the summer months because the vines are still growing back from winter, but definitely not hard on the eyes!
Stop 1: Ponte Winery
Your first stop of the day will be at Ponte for brunch and a glass of ice-cold chardonnay. They have a wonderful patio situated in the center of the property that overlooks the vineyards. Since you are on vacation and calories don’t count… order the bacon wrapped meatloaf, trust me on this one.
What makes Ponte such a great stop is their attention to detail. If you are having lunch on their patio, they give all the ladies a basket for your purse so it doesn’t have to sit on the ground. How thoughtful!
This purse is my go-to and absolute favorite! And even better, it’s on Amazon for extremely inexpensive – check it out here.
After your brunch, you can either head inside to their tasting room to taste 6 of their wines for only $25.00 or head to the next spot! Whatever you choose to do, I would recommend spending a few minutes wandering their gorgeous property.
Stop 2: Lorimar Winery
Lorimar is extremely close to Ponte, only a 5-10 minute drive up the road. Because this winery is popular and large, it gets very crowded. We saw 2 different bachelorette parties in the short time we were there.
I normally don’t like when a winery is too commercialized and crowded, but the property is beautiful and has some of the best wine I tried.
Before you leave, don’t forget to snap a picture in the orange farm across the street!
Stop 3: Doffo Winery
Doffo was my favorite atmosphere and wine by far! This is a smaller, family owned winery that feels like you are tasting in their home.
Note that this winery has two tasting rooms: One is small, intimate and at the front of the property and the second is in their barn in the back. I would highly recommend doing your actual tasting in the smaller tasting room and then picking your favorite glass to explore the rest of the property.
This property is unique for its vintage motorcycle collection. When I mentioned the second tasting room that is much larger, that is where the motorcycle collection is located. You can sip on your favorite glass while wandering their rare and unique collection!
Stop 4: Briar Rose Winery or Chapin Family Vineyards
Unfortunately, I did not plan enough in advance and was not able to visit Briar Rose. Reservations are required for this small, family owned winery and I waited too long before reserving!
I’m not speaking from personal experience, but many people recommended this stop. What makes this winery so unique is the owner was a former Disney employee that helped design Disney’s Fantasyland and Toon Town. He built this winery to replicate Snow White’s cottages and makes you feel like you are walking through a movie set.
If you also waited too long before making a reservation (no judgement here), there is another great winery across the street from Doffo that you could easily walk to. Chapin Family Vineyards is lesser known, extremely small and not crowded at all! You will get beautiful views on their patio and excellent service.
Flights of wine at Chapin Family Vineyards are $15.00 for 5 and $20.00 for 7 tastings.
Last Stop: Food!
Best way to end a day of wine tasting is filling your belly up with some comfort food, heading back to the hotel hot-tub and watching the sunset with your favorite bottle of wine from the day!
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