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opinions on my winery choices, please?

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California
posts: 1,141
reviews: 63
opinions on my winery choices, please?

We'll be in Oceanside next week and I'm planning a day trip to Temecula probably Tue-Thu. My husband (who doesn't like wine so yay, he is driving) and daughter have reviewed menus and determined lunch should be at Falkner or Wilson Creek. I like wine (and work at a local tasting room) but not a wine snob. I prefer those with friendly staff who like to talk about their wineries.

With that in mind, what do you think about my choices? I'm thinking Ponte and Monte de Oro for tastings, then Wilson Creek for lunch. Depending on time, would hit Cougar and Oak Mountain then head back to Oceanside. I'm flexible but overwhelmed...so many choices in a small area is driving me nuts! Any suggestions appreciated.

Temecula, CA
Destination Expert
for Temecula
posts: 1,277
reviews: 20
1. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

Hello and welcome to the Temecula Forum.

Hart Winery would fit your requirements best, but I notice you haven't considered them. They are a family owned/operated winery with very good reviews from those here on TA. They have good wines too.

You will not receive much interaction between the you and the servers aat Wilson Creek, Ponte or Monte De Oro as these are very busy and business-like wineries. You'll have a better experience at Cougar and Oak Mountain, but be aware they are along the De Portola leg and not along the main road of Rancho California. Beautiful area though - there's a small herd of Akolke-Watusi Cattle at a ranch on De Portola just before Endar Equine that you might want to look at as well. They are pretty cool.

Either of your choices are fine for your lunch, although be aware that the restaurant at Wilson Creek is tucked back in the back of the winery and there isn't any view. Falkner will have the better view.

Have a great time!

California
posts: 1,141
reviews: 63
2. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

Meadowlark, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. As I mentioned I'm flexible, so will put Hart on my list, and in fact will probably start there! Want to see the area so De Portola leg sounds like it will suit us perfectly. Would also love to see the cattle, and will keep our eyes open.

I initially looked at the map from the TV wingrowers website. Figure we would start on Rancho California and work our way up, around and down De Portola. Randomly selected a few on each stretch -- so more than happy to switch around if you think other wineries would be a better fit.

thanks again.

California
posts: 1,141
reviews: 63
3. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

Silly me -- now I find the TA link "Small Family Owned/Operated Wineries"

My new choices are: Hart, Wiens, (still Falkner or Wilson Creek for lunch), Cougar, (Palumbo if time permits), Oak Mountain.

Does that sound better?

Temecula, CA
Destination Expert
for Temecula
posts: 1,277
reviews: 20
4. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

Yes it does - you'll most likely have a more personal experience working with those than with the corporate favorites that are common stops for the busloads of tourists brought in by the local shuttle companies. Weins is the last one after South Coast and Ponte. You can walk between the 3 if you like. Ponte's gift shop is usually busy and chaotic (bad traffic flow). But their restaurant is also one you should consider if the weather is warm - its not looking that way for later in the week though. Tuesday is supposed to be about 80ish which is just perfect for lunch on Ponte's patio.

As to the cattle, look for the white stucco walls aligning a driveway (they are about 6 feet tall, hard to miss). The cattle will be in the pasture to the left of the driveway. Sometimes they are in the back, but a lot of the time they are up front. Either way, you'll be able to see them. The ranch is between Green Acres and Endar Equine on the same side as those two ranches. I spelled it wrong last time, its Ankole-Watsui cattle - they are beautiful animals.

Bring a light jacket/sweater even if sun is predicted. The winds (more like strong breezes - not very strong) usually kick up about 2:00 p.m. and they can be a bit chilly this time of year.

Redlands, California
posts: 3,818
reviews: 37
5. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

I like your choices now too as those are all some of my favorites. Wiens will give you an example of the "grand" style of some of the wineries/tasting rooms but the others are down to earth with generally knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff. Nice mix, good wines, and I'm glad you're getting around to the "other" side of the valley.

California
posts: 1,141
reviews: 63
6. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

Thanks for the help. I've made notes on the ranch as well, hopefully we find it! I also just realized that Palumbo (my 'if there is time' choice) is a bit out of the way, and want an option on the De Portola side. Maybe Danza del Sol or Leonesse?

Temecula, CA
Destination Expert
for Temecula
posts: 1,277
reviews: 20
7. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

Either are fine - we had a nice time at Danza del Sol though.

Temecula
posts: 43
reviews: 14
8. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

Kitty,

If you prefer friendly staff that are eager to talk with you about their wine and wineries, then you've already done the most important thing - decided to visit mid-week. The wineries are generally very quiet during the week, and my experience is that you'll find friendly staff just about everywhere. Its usually more about knowing which of the servers to cozy up to than which winery you choose. The pro tip: at the first winery you visit, mention to the staff that you like friendly servers, and they'll give you the insider's scoop about other wineries.

And as far as snobbiness, if you've visited other wine regions you'll be pleasantly surprised at how Southern California Wine Country has a more relaxed attitude. The attitude seems to be that the right wine is the one that you like, not the one with the highest price tag.

The Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association has several suggestions for self-guided tours that are based on different preferences, which might be a great resource for you. Find it at http://www.temeculawines.org/winery-tours/

Enjoy your visit, and Cheers!

9. Re: opinions on my winery choices, please?

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