Tasting Temecula: Travel Planner

Wineries and lodging in the Temecula Valley

Tasting Temecula

The city of Temecula is about 60 miles north of San Diego and 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Take I-15 to Rancho California Rd. and head east; the majority of wineries are located along Rancho California, beginning about 4 miles east of the interstate.

We list eight notable wineries here; for a full list, along with maps and other information, contact the Temecula Valley Winegrower's Association ( www.temeculawines.org, 800/801-9463, or 951/699-6586). A good way to tour the wineries is to take the Grapeline Wine Country Shuttle (from $38, reservations required; www.gogrape.com, 888/894-6379, or 951/693-5463).

Wineries

Hart Winery. 9-4:30 daily; $5 tasting fee. 41300 Avenida Biona; 877/638-8788 or 951/676-6300.

Thornton Winery. The Brut Reserve is very enjoyable, as is the Cabernet-Merlot blend. Thornton's Champagne Jazz Concert Series runs Sat evenings and Sun afternoons through Oct 17 (from $45).10-5 daily; free tours Sat-Sun, tasting fee from $9. 32575 Rancho California; www.thorntonwine.com or 951/699-0099. Café Champagne serves creatively prepared dishes, such as ahi avocado napoleon and roast duck. $$$$; lunch and dinner daily. 951/699-0088.

Callaway Coastal Winery. 10-5 daily; free tours, $5 tasting fee. 32720 Rancho California; www.callawaycoastal.com, 800/472-2377, or 951/676-4001. Allie's at Callaway restaurant offers fresh salads and wraps for lunch; dinner choices include lamb loin and lobster madeira. $$$; lunch Mon-Sat, dinner Fri-Sat, brunch Sun. www.alliesatcallaway.com or 951/694-0560.

Baily Vineyard & Winery. Nice Meritage and Muscat Blanc. 11-5 Sun-Fri, 10-5 Sat; tasting fee from $5. 33440 La Serena Way; www.bailywinery.com or 951/676-9463. Carol's Restaurant serves salads and sandwiches on a pleasant patio. $$; lunch Wed-Sun. 951/676-9243.

Mount Palomar Winery. Excellent Sangiovese. 10-5 daily; tasting fee from $5. 33820 Rancho California; www.mountpalomar.com, 800/854-5177, or 951/676-5047.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. At Temecula Valley's largest winery facility to date, the Zinfandel is especially good. The first phase of 76 villas (from $149) opened in spring; a spa and restaurant will open this year. Call for tasting room hours; $5 tasting fee. 34843 Rancho California; www.wineresort.com, 866/994-6379, or 951/587-9463.

Ponte Family Estate. Fans of full-bodied reds will like the Nebbiolo. 10-5 daily; $8 tasting fee. 35053 Rancho California; www.pontewinery.com or 951/694-8855. Smokehouse Cafe serves good sandwiches and wood-fired pizzas. $$; lunch daily, dinner Fri through Oct.

Wilson Creek Winery. The Zinfandel is very enjoyable. 10-5 daily; $7 tasting fee. 35960 Rancho California; www.wilsoncreekwinery.com or 951/699-9463.

Lodging

Embassy Suites Hotel Temecula Valley Wine Country. Close to the center of the city of Temecula. 136 rooms from $149. 29345 Rancho California; www.embassysuites.com/es/temecula, 800/362-2779, or 951/676-5656.

Loma Vista Bed & Breakfast. In the heart of the wine country, this simple but comfortable B&B overlooks a hill planted with citrus trees. 10 rooms from $120. 33350 La Serena; 951/676-7047.

Pechanga Resort & Casino. Tastefully appointed rooms, casino atmosphere, and the excellent Great Oak Steakhouse ($$$). 522 rooms from $99. 45000 Pechanga Pkwy.; www.pechanga.com, 877/711-2946, or 951/693-1819.

Temecula Creek Inn. A 27-hole championship golf course and the fine Temet Grill ($$$) accent the relaxed setting. 129 rooms from $149. 44501 Rainbow Canyon Rd.; www.temeculacreekinn.com or 800/962-7335.