We’ve been to Temecula twice now since it’s a convenient drive away from us here in Arizona. Road trippin’ over to sunny California is always so fun, especially if the trip is going to involve wine. And oh, it does in Temecula. We like to think of Temecula as a mini Napa Valley.
Did you know that Temecula, California is most known for its wine country? With over forty wineries in town, it is the most popular thing to do when visiting here. Today, we want to share what a fabulous wine tasting day in Temecula is like! There are obviously lots of other things you can do in Temecula so plan on spending a weekend there, but save one day for the wine- it is deserving of your time.
History of Temecula, California
Before we share the top Temecula wineries, let’s talk history. Temecula is a town in Riverside County, California which is near the coast. Its beautiful rolling hills are what drew the Temecula Indians to move here initially. The town’s first post office was built in 1859 and ever since then it has been growing. Many people from nearby San Diego and Los Angeles move here due to its affordability. The last census recorded 100,000 people living here! So the town itself is small in number, but large in wine quantity. What a perfect ratio!
Wineries began planting in Temecula in the 1960’s and since then more and more keep popping up within the region. It’s a region that is perfect for wineries amidst its rolling hills and ocean breezes. Many of the Temecula wineries have also added on restaurants and luxurious resorts so they are really stepping up their game for visitors. As of today there are over forty Temecula wineries. Unfortunately we haven’t been to them all. However, we’ve enjoyed time at a handful so today we want to share with you our favorites!
Transportation between Temecula Wineries
Before you decide on which wineries to visit, you’ll want to consider how you will get around for the day. To drink responsibly, will you have someone with you that can be the designated driver? Otherwise, you may want to use Uber to get around or get a rental car. Another option is booking a wine tasting tour which will transport you around by van from place to place for 4-6 hours. We recommend you do this so you can truly enjoy every sip of wine without endangering yourself or others. Here are a few fun tour options in Temecula:
Viator 6hr Guided Wine Tasting Tour
Viator 4-5hr Grapehopper Wine Tasting Tour
The Top Temecula Wineries
After making your belly happy, it’s time to start your wine hopping! Below we are going to share some of our favorite Temecula wineries.
Our #1 favorite Temecula winery was where we ate brunch as well: South Coast Winery Resort & Spa. Grab a table inside or outside at the Vineyard Rose Restaurant and enjoy some of their amazing brunch dishes like their Rolling Hills Bananas Foster Pancakes, their Chilaquiles chile, or their corned beef and hash. They serve brunch from 8am-330pm on weekends so make reservations online to secure your brunch seat and start the day out right!
They have wine tastings indoors with free crackers during your tasting. Their staff are extremely knowledgeable on types of wine and the history of the winery. Just outside those doors are beautiful open lawn spaces, an outdoor event space where weddings are held, and finally the 63 acres of vineyards are out back. The ambiance here is romantic and elegant.
Tastings are daily from 10am-6pm for $15pp weekdays and $20pp weekends. They also have a behind the scenes tour of the winery for $45pp at 1pm or 3pm daily by reservation.
Our second favorite Temecula winery was Europa Village. It has a large 45 acre property with wine tastings inside a dark cave room! Here they had cute pergola covered tables to sit at with gorgeous views of the vineyards. They call themselves Europa because they envisioned recreating tastings from three countries: France, Italy, and Spain.
Tastings are $20-33pp from 10am-5pm daily.
Our other favorite Temecula winery was Thornton Winery. Why? They have a bomb water fountain filled with rubber ducks! It’s so unique and fun. Plus, they are known for their champagne so it’s nice to mix it up from the wine a little bit. Checkout their cafe too if you’re hungry.
Tasting prices vary but run from 10am-close. They also offer tours on weekends from 11am-4pm.
Here’s a full list of wineries in Temecula:
Here’s a map of all the wineries in Temecula:
Wine Tasting Tips
When tasting on so many different kinds of wines, sometimes it’s nice to have some sort of light cracker to cleanse your palate with. So consider picking up some crackers before you start your day.
Also, hold your wine glass like a pro. You want to hold the wine glass at the base of the stem between your thumb and fingers. Use that grip to naturally swirl the wine, then sniff it, and then taste it. We learned this technique in Tuscany, Italy so it’s gotta be pretty legit. Some places have tasting glasses without a stem, for those, you’re out of luck.
Where to Stay in Temecula, California
If you want to site-see around Temecula or even spend more than one day wine tasting, then definitely find a great hotel in Temecula, California.
We found three for you and two are connected to wineries…how perfect!
- South Coast Winery Resort: 4 stars
- Ponte Vineyard Inn: 4 stars
- SpringHill Suites Temecula: 3 stars
Another option for staying in Temecula is to book an Airbnb. This is our favorite way to travel in style and on a budget. Here’s a few of the coolest looking Airbnb rentals in Temecula, California.
We hope our tips on Temecula wineries and where to stay are helpful in booking your next romantic getaway, bachelor/ette weekend, or friend-filled road trip. Temecula is a fantastic place to visit for a couple days with lots to do, plenty to see, and even more wine to taste. Enjoy Temecula! We sure did with all the bubbly.