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Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

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Vernon, Connecticut
posts: 85
reviews: 59
Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

Hi everyone,

My husband and I will be staying in San Diego for 5 days at the end of January and would like to do a day trip to Temecula to go to a few different vineyards. We will be staying at the Omni in San Diego and we expect it to take us just over an hour to get to Temecula.

We are hoping to visit the wineries that have the best views, atmosphere and most beautiful grounds. In addition, we would like to visit a winery for lunch where we can dine outside. Do any of the wineries have an outdoor tasting room or outdoor terrace to have a glass of wine at? We would be grateful for your recommendations. Regarding the size of the winery, we hope to visit a few smaller ones and a few larger ones. About how far apart are each of the wineries in Temecula? Thanks in advance for your help! Cheers!

Redlands, California
posts: 3,049
reviews: 25
1. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

I know that Falkner and Ponte have restaurants but Ponte is on the "flatland" while Falkner has a spectacular view (and better wines). Mount Palomar and Bella Vista have picnic areas with fine views but the wines are not the best IMO.

Hart is a good "small winery" to visit as it is very casual and Joe Hart refuses to make junk sweet wines! I would certainly recommend making the full circle to see one or two on the other side of the Valley--Cougar and Oak Mountain are informal while Leonesse is one of the grander ones. There are a few on the Rancho California Road side that I would not visit, but on the "other side" they're all trying hard.

The whole circle is probably less than 15 miles and there are often wineries less than a mile apart.

I spend a day in the area three or four times a year and always enjoy it although I consider the tasting and wine prices more than the quality justifies. (But where isn't that true in California?) The wines have improved a great deal over the last decade and the area is quite scenic, so have a good time.

Temecula, CA
Destination Expert
for Temecula
posts: 1,265
reviews: 16
2. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

Hello and welcome to the Temecula Forum -

As vnrose points out, the majority of the wineries sit down in the valley - there's not much of a 'view' from 99.9% of them. There's only about 30 wineries in the area now. You can do a quick drive of the area in about 30-45 minutes depending on the day.

The two wineries that have the best view are Faulkner and Callaway. The names of their restaurants are Pinnacle and Meritage respectively. Callaway's tasting room is more of an industrial setting (huge metal industrial type of building) whereas Faulkner's tasting room is quite nice. Meals at either of them are decent. The Meritage is more of an 'outdoor' patio seating arrangement, but its actually an enclosed 'patio' with clear vinyl walls. They keep the eating area warm by using propane patio heaters. Its nice and they focus on tapas for their food choices although you can get full meals. The Pinnacle is actually a separate building and is a typical restaurant.

One thing to keep in mind is that right now all of the vines are dormant and have been trimmed back to their core trunks. This means that the rolling hills of green are not present and won't be until late March, early April when spring arrives. There's not much in the way of scenery now - just so you are aware and not surprised.

This website will give you information on most of the wineries in the area:


You can access websites for most of the wineries from that site. There are tasting coupons and coupons for eating at the restaurants as well on the individual sites for the wineries.

Here's a recent thread where the bloggers discussed their favorite wineries:


Our days have been very warm for the past couple of weeks, although there's a hint that our luck with the weather may change in the next couple of weeks. At any rate, make sure that you bring something warm to wear because when the sun starts to set, it gets very cold very quick and if the wind whips up - you'll feel like your frozen to the bone.

If you are arriving via San Diego - you'll want to take the I-15 north. Take the second exit after the border checkpoint - Rancho California Road. As you come off the freeway, hang a right and follow Rancho California Road out past Butterfield Stage Road. Once you cross Butterfield Stage Road, you're in wine country. To do the loop of wine country, you can follow Rancho California Road to Glen Oaks Road, turn right (its a stop sign) follow Glen Oaks Road to DePortola Road and hang another right. DePortola has wineries off of it. It will come to Anza road. Turn left on Anza Road. Anza will bring you to Temecula Parkway. Turn right on Temecula Parkway and follow it back to the I-15 to return to SD.

The nicer wineries with the nicer facilities are all along this route - specifically, Thornton, Ponte, Weins, South Coast, Wilson Creek and a new one just before Wilson Creek that I can't recall the name of right this instant.

To avoid traffic into Temecula from San Diego, leave SD about 9:30ish. Its about an hour up into Temecula. When leaving Temecula, avoid leaving between 4-7 p.m. Traffic back into San Diego can be a little rough on tourists if you're not used to it.

Have a great time - and cross your fingers that the beautiful weather holds on!

Vernon, Connecticut
posts: 85
reviews: 59
3. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

thank you both so much for the fantastic insights! i am very much looking forward to my trip now!

San Diego...
posts: 50
4. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

Meritage at Callaway has excellent food (just stay away from the coconut curry creme brulee) and excellent wine pairings.

I'm going to add two wineries to go to if you like deep red wines. The first is Doffo Winery. It's past Wilson Creek about a mile and a half, but definitely worth it. It's a small family owned winery that is slowly growing.

The other is one that Medowlark couldn't remember, which is Monte de Oro. My favorite wine from there is the Synerygy 65 and the Synergy 65 Rose. I'm not normally a rose fan, but it is very good. It's actually owned

I'm personally not a fan of Wilson Creek as their wines tend to be on the sweet side. At least to my taste buds. But they do have a good restaurant (no view) and pretty grounds to have a picnic. Stop at Baron's for picnic supplies. It's on the right hand side of Rancho California Road just before you cross over into 'wine country.'

Have fun!

Corona, California
posts: 2
reviews: 2
5. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

Thanks for all the info on the wineries! How about places to stay over night? Any suggestions? I would like something quiet, romantic, nice.

Temecula, CA
Destination Expert
for Temecula
posts: 1,265
reviews: 16
6. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

@ RMS - depends on how long you are coming into Temecula. South Coast has the cottages which are really nice, but they require a 2 night minimum.

A nice quiet place is Temecula Creek Inn - its away from the hustle and bustle of downtown like the other hotels/motels in Temecula. They have a nice quiet restaurant where you can actually hear your partner without shouting at each other during dinner. They have (had?) an excellent but price Sunday a.m. brunch.

There's also Loma Vista BB now known as The Inn at Europa Village - located just as you enter into wine country on Rancho California Road. The rooms are a bit dated, but I hear that changes are coming with the remodel that is underway.

The rest of the hotels are all in town - adjacent next to the freeway. Not exactly romantic, but if you're with the right person - - - - location doesn't really matter in my experience :)

Corona, California
posts: 2
reviews: 2
7. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

Thank you!!!

posts: 24
reviews: 3
8. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

We are planning a trip to San Diego the end of March and were thinking of going to Temecula too! Let me know what your thoughts were of your visit. We were also thinking of driving to Palm Springs area for a few days.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 32,972
reviews: 344
9. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

For lunch we love the restaurant at Thornton Champagne Cellars.



Orange, California
posts: 2
reviews: 55
10. Re: Wineries with a view/great atmosphere

Surprising my husband, going to Temecula Creek Inn for one night on Thurs. On a budget but love great food, any ideas. Thank you in advance.