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Temecula winery tours

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Temecula winery tours

Help! We want to take our out of town visitors on a tour of a few Temecula winery's. It seems that, unlike Sonoma Winery's, Temecula winery's don't offer free tours of the wine making process, but rather offer only wine tastings.

Is this right?

Thanks,

Temecula
posts: 24
1. Re: Temecula winery tours

Temecula wineries in general who offer production area tours require you pay the tasting fee to participate.

A few offer a tour for an additonal fee, selling an "upgraded experience".

Unless there have been changes, Callaway and Thornton have traditionally offered tours on Saturday and Sunday, typically on the hour, as part of the tasting fee.

www.temeculawines.org, the association website, is a good starting point to access information about the majority of Temecula wineries. You will find a comprehensive listing of member wineries and links to their websites where specifics should be found on what each offers.

Edited: 4:54 pm, January 26, 2013
Temecula, CA
Destination Expert
for Temecula
posts: 1,266
reviews: 17
2. Re: Temecula winery tours

Hello and welcome to the Temecula Forum!

You don't mention when you are coming into town, but Doffo Winery is going to start a new service next month. There was a recent write up about this winery in the local newspaper - go here for more information:

pe.com/business/business-headlines/20130124-…

My experience is that the smaller family owned wineries are better with the 'special touch' that you are looking for - the service usually includes stories from the winemakers about their experiences in the area. When making your reservation, you can ask about a wine making tour. I haven't done one in quite a while so I don't know who's policies have changed. These smaller wineries require reservations and don't allow the big bus tours in on a regular basis.

With the smaller wineries, you usually are being attended to by the owner or its small group of knowledgeable employees - usually family members. Go to the very top right of your screen where you'll find a list of locally owned wineries. I posted some suggestions in there for easy access.

The wine tours usually stick with the large corporate owned wineries - which because of their popularity and promise of a steady stream of tasters, just offer the tasting - their primary goal is to sell the wine which is the function they focus on. Its a pretty mundane experience for my tastes, others like the impersonal touch.

Not all wineries in the valley participate on the www.temeculawines.org site because there is a fee for that service. You can google 'temecula wineries' and come up with a fairly complete list of wineries in the area.

A consistent favorite within TA is Hart Winery. My experience there is exceptional as is their wine. I would stay away from the majors: South Coast, Ponte, Wilson Creek, Callaway, etc, as they do not offer anything other than the generic retail wine tasting experience - which I believe you are trying to avoid. The majors are located along the Rancho California trail.

Try the wineries along the De Portola trail - there's quite a few new ones there that are looking to impress and build a loyal clientele. When businesses are new - they tend to offer that 'special touch' to build loyal clientele.

Do keep in mind that this time of year, the vines are dormant - not much in the way of scenery. Also, if you are planning to come in February - avoid the weekend of 16/17 - that tends to be a busy weekend because of Valentines Day. Also - avoid the 14th as well for the same reason.

Happy tasting and don't forget to designate a DE!

Temecula
posts: 43
reviews: 12
3. Re: Temecula winery tours

Stationay, expanding on "TemeculaWine's" info (and he knows his stuff when it comes to the wineries)... Thornton still offers a complimentary winery tour, and it is a good one. Details:

"Public Winery Tours are on the Weekends - Saturday tours are every hour on the hour 11:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. Sunday tours are 11:00a.m., 12:30p.m., 2:00p.m. and 4:00p.m."

Callaway offers a highly regarded tour for $5 per person (was free until fairly recently), and a more in-depth tour for $30. Several other wineries offer tours but they typically are by appointment and there is a fee greater than the $5 charged by Callaway and often they require a minimum group size.

I have been on the public tours at Callaway and Thornton, and on private tours at Europa Village, Wilson Creek, Leoness, Wiens, Falkner, Cougar, Doffo, Danza del Sol, and Ponte. In my opinion all have been good, and some have been exceptional. The only other winery I know of who offers a regular tour option is South Coast, which I have not personally experienced but I've heard raves about it. Some of the other wineries will offer impromptu tours if you know someone.

It sounds like you don't really want to taste (which I can't begin to understand!), but for those who are reading this post and like the idea of a tour and tasting (which is more common), here's another bit of info. Some of the wine tour companies include a behind-the-scenes winery tour as a part of a full day of wine tasting with a locally knowledgeable DD. My own company, Grapeline (see reviews here on TA), offers several tour options that include them, often at wineries that offer their tours exclusively to guests of reputable tour companies.

Hope that helps, and I hope you enjoy Southern California Wine Country!

Temecula
posts: 43
reviews: 12
4. Re: Temecula winery tours

By the way, Stationay, a bit more information on the wine tours Meadow mentions. In my opinion, Meadow is right about some wine tours, particularly the ones who originate out of the area and do not have good relations with the local wineries. The best wine tours provide a better experience to visitors than they can get on their own, and frequent the smaller wineries as well as the more popular larger wineries. I own Grapeline Wine Tours, currently listed as the #1 Activitiy among 53 here on TripAdvisor, and Grapeline guests often get exclusive treatment in wineries simply because they are with us. For example, on weekdays when tiny and highly-regarded Palumbo Winery is closed, on several occasions we've had guests request Palumbo. After a call from us, Nick and Cindy Palumbo opened the winery just for us and personally poured wines for our guest - something they would never do for random visitors. Our guests, on average, have far more interaction with winery owners and winemakers than the average Joe, and have access to far more special privileges. And, of course, they have a DD and a friendly host with local knowledge and personal winery connections. To be fair, Grapeline is just one of many reputable local tour companies who offer an experience that surpasses self-driving in both safety and insider access.

Cheers!

Edited: 5:09 pm, February 06, 2013
5. Re: Temecula winery tours

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