Kimberly Adams, President and CEO

Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau



Stay and Experience’s

New, Midweek, Down-to-Earth, Luxury Top 10 in

Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country


TEMECULA VALLEY Southern California Wine Country, January 16, 2013 – “Fresh skies, quality, and authentic Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country experiences are as inspiring and reenergizing to individuals, couples, family and friends, as to tour, travel, corporate, and association groups. That essential meaningfulness for business and for pleasure, informs our newly identified, midweek, Down-to-Earth, Luxury Top 10,” explains Kimberly Adams, Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau president and CEO. “Memorable and satisfying are also companion to the value of Temecula resorts’ and hotels’ Sunday-through-Thursday (better-than-weekend) room and group rates.” With natural gifts of climate and geography, and bolstered by Pu’eska Mountain, the Rainbow Gap, and Margarita Gap, the popular, boutique destination is 1-hour from San Diego, Orange County, and Palm Desert; 1½-hours from Los Angeles. Temecula resorts and hotels are conveniently located minutes – even steps – from Downtown Old Town Temecula; Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country; and Pechanga Resort & Casino.


1-Tour and Wine Taste in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

With the potential to meet talented and gracious winemakers and winemaking family members, less-busy weekdays are ideal for experiencing Temecula Valley Wine Country, considered the only major American Viticulture Area (AVA) in Southern California. Over the last decade, the number of wineries in the valley has doubled and improvements in viticultural practices, winemaking techniques, and understanding of Temecula’s unique terroir have elevated the overall quality of wines. Most of the approximately 40 wineries have received top honors at more than a dozen major wine competitions, including hundreds of Gold, Double-Gold, and Best-in-Class awards in 2012 alone.


For relaxed, carefree, wine country enjoyment, reserve in advance with local Temecula Valley tour and transportation companies. Ask about a private outing to sample a taste of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country.


Briar Rose Winery produces handcrafted, small lot, premium, artisan, estate wines from intensely flavored grapes. Wine is made by old-world traditional ways using only the finest yeast and cooperage. The winery’s charming “taste-the-enchantment” motto is inspired by replicas of Snow White’s Cottage built on the charming, fairytale estate by the original owner, one of many artisans who built Disneyland’s Fantasyland. Seated wine tasting with a Briar Rose sommelier is by available by advance reservation only.


Callaway Vineyard & Winery makes quality, special selection wines that exemplify the Callaway legacy. Callaway winemaker’s reserve wines are for the more discerning palate (typically richer with greater depth, complexity, and age). Textile-baron Ely Callaway established the vineyards in 1969 on a 1,600 foot plateau, located below the peaks of a foggy mountain range “where the sun shines through the mist”; and in 1974, founded the winery. He went on to become a leader in the golf industry with his company, Callaway Golf. By advance reservation for groups of 10 guests or more, the Callaway experience private tour and wine tasting takes visitors behind-the-scenes and includes wine tasting with tasting notes.


Doffo Vineyard & Winery is one of the valley’s micro-boutique wineries combining old world charm in tribute to Argentine and Italian family heritage. The small-lot, handcrafted, red wines have their origins in vineyards that are meticulously attended to including the playing of classical music. The winemaking estate is also home to MotoDoffo, the family’s private collection of over 100 racing and vintage motorcycles. Doffo VIP guided tours and tastings are available by advance appointment and include the vineyard, production area, and motorcycle collection. Barrell tasting and then premium wine tasting of wines from the winemaker’s private selection follow.


Leoness Cellars is one of Temecula Valley’s family-farming based wineries and produces fine, hand-crafted wines with great care, effort, and patience. Cellar-selection wines (both red and white) are crafted to excite all types of palates. Vineyard-selection wines highlight specific grape varietal characteristics from specially selected vineyards. Signature-selection wines are artful blends of different varietals, harvested from mature vines, and aged for an extended period. By advance reservation, Leoness offers a variety of intriguing, private tours and wine tastings. Examples include touch-the-vine-and-taste-the-wine (with a ride through the 70-acre vineyard and fun, in-depth tasting); and the private-premier tasting of limited production, signature and library wines that includes artisan cheese and dessert wine.


2-Dine in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country

Unlike wine regions like Napa Valley where strict ordinances make winery restaurants almost non-existent, many Temecula Valley wineries host restaurants where winery chefs expertly pair premium, award-winning wines with fresh, local, seasonal foods, locavore-style to celebrate the natural affinity. At these Temecula Valley winery, dining establishments, visitors enjoy the pleasures of food and wine overlooking beautiful rolling hills and vineyards.


With French-country elegance and contemporary cuisine, Café Champagne at Thornton Winery was awarded 5 stars for its California cuisine and the Golden Bacchus for its wine list by the Southern California Restaurant Writers. Serving lunch and dinner daily, the popular restaurant is situated in the heart of a majestic, French-Mediterranean wine estate. Thornton Winery is much admired for its award-winning Methóde Champenoise sparkling wines.


Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery features an inspired menu that changes seasonally and includes Wilson-family favorites. The upscale-casual bistro also offers gluten-free starters, salads, sandwiches, and specialties. Serving lunch daily, the alfresco dining room typically relocates to the barrel room in cooler weather. Wilson Creek is best-known for its popular ‘almond champagne’.


With diverse, seasonal menus, the creative cuisine at Meritage at Callaway Vineyard & Winery is based on the small-plate/tapas concept of big flavor and variety. The freshest local ingredients are used to create seasonal tapas, salads, and flavorful Mediterranean entrees that accentuate Callaway wines’ well-balanced flavor, body, and character. Open for lunch daily; dinner on the weekends.


With unparalleled, hilltop views, Pinnacle at Falkner Winery features Mediterranean-inspired appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and entrees, as well as tempting sides and desserts. Serving lunch daily, Pinnacle cuisine is extremely well, complemented by award-winning, food-friendly Falkner wines. Dining is available indoors and on the open-air outdoor balcony.


Making the most of the freshest, locally grown ingredients, Vineyard Rose at South Coast Winery offers creative California wine-country cuisine with views of the estate vineyards and surrounding hills. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, the Vineyard Rose also offers a weekday happy-hour menu. Vineyard Rose features award-winning wines from Southern California’s South Coast appellation along with estate vineyard wines and sparkling wines.


3-Relax and Rejuvenate

A trio of Temecula Valley spas beckons. At these, everything feels nearly flawless.


With innovative, vine-based treatments, massage, body rituals, private yoga sessions, couples rooms, and poolside cabanas, the GrapeSeed Spa at South Coast Winery is a hallmark in vintage relaxation. Spa Pechanga at Pechanga Resort & Casino is an intimate indulgence with high-end offerings like paraffin treatment, firming sea clay wrap, couples serenity soak, couples massage, and hot stone pedicures. A tranquil sanctuary, Murrieta Day Spa features a heated outdoor mineral pool, dry sauna, signature massages, specialty facials, and impeccable manicures and facials. At each and all, inquire about special, seasonal treatments and distinctive services like aromatherapy.


4-Savor Downtown Old Town Temecula

With all shops and restaurants independently, and family owned-and-operated, the pedestrian-friendly Old Town Temecula district provides experiences that are genuinely individual and authentic. Less-busy weekdays mean more personalized attention and opportunities to potentially converse directly with Old Town merchants, artisans, and chefs.


At Old Town Spice Merchants, recycled and re-purposed, 100-year-old barn beams support the shelves laden with fine herbs, spices, sea salts, blends and teas. Meanwhile in the heart of Old Town, Temecula Olive Oil Company features olive oil that is sustainably grown, 100% California, 100% extra virgin – hand-blended, fresh, pure, and flavorful – and a complimentary tasting bar, daily. Like the balsamic vinegars (vanilla and fig, honey balsamic, bianco pomegranate), olive oil is available in a variety of signature-flavors and blends (white truffle, citrus reserve, picante pepper).


Upstairs in one of Old Town’s most handsome, neo-Romanesque buildings, isBaily’s fine dining restaurant. Elegant surroundings complement the California/Continental cuisine, inspired by the use of local ingredients. Serving dinner nightly and featuring Temecula Valley Southern California wines, the ever-changing menu showcases an abundance of items with a la carte pricing. Baily’s also offers a novel, uber-customizable prix fixe. Locals in-the-know encourage diners to splurge: “order the excellent crème brulee for dessert.”


Also in Old Town is Palumbo’s Ristorante, offering truly authentic, traditional Italian cuisine coupled with Temecula Valley Southern California wines and excellent service. The Italian sausage, meatballs, gnocci, tiramisu, and cannoli are homemade. The minestrone, margherita pizza, cheese ravioli, and manicotti Florentine more than satisfy vegetarians. Palumbo’s welcomes guests for lunch and dinner; closed Mondays.


5-Savor Uptown Temecula

North of Old Town along Jefferson Avenue is Uptown Temecula. Among eateries here are two establishments committed to high standards.


A champion of the local-artisan, food movement, E.A.T. Café is a farm-to-plate bistro featuring locally foraged and handcrafted breakfast items, lunch, and dinners-to-go. Also on-site is E.A.T. Marketplace offering local, artisan prepared/created foods like dried apricots, raw honey, cupcakes in eclectic flavors, and true Parisian-style macaroons.


Dry-aged prime steaks are the specialty at Vail Ranch Steakhouse. An on-site, dry-aged process produces tender, flavorful steaks. The best-of-the-best dry-aged Angus beef includes New York strip and rib eye. The expansive menu also includes specialties like brandy-infused, French onion soup. Serving dinner nightly; also offered is a 3-course prix fixe menu.


6-Experience Pechanga Casino

With a multitude of Four Diamond amenities and services, and a vast 200,000 square-foot gaming floor, Pechanga is the largest casino in the entire Western U.S. Knowledgeable, courteous dealers and floor-staff provide gaming action 24-hours-a-day, year-round.


Beyond the 3,800 state-of-the-art slot and video machines, and 130 table games, there is also the spacious, smoke-free, 54-table Pechanga Poker Room located on the second floor of the casino. Those who enjoy high stakes wagering will appreciate the luxurious atmosphere, Feng Shui elements of balance and harmony, and the elegantly appointed High Limit Gaming Area; features also include an appealing lounge and secluded cash cage for transactions.


7-Shop Promenade Temecula

With a distinctive indoor/outdoor lifestyle layout, Promenade Temecula features more than 170 specialty shops including some of today’s most sought-after stores.Macy’s,one of the nation’s most respected retail institutions, is found here. Also among the Promenade’s retailers are COACH (for luxury-lifestyle handbags and accessories); LOFT (for versatile, feminine, flattering fashion); White House Black Market (for honest simplicity and remarkable individuality); Apple (for the latest technology); Pottery Barn (with home furnishing noted for comfort, quality, and style); and Williams Sonoma (with high-quality, gourmet cookware, and stylish home products).


8-Take Flight in a Hot Air Balloon

One of Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country’s most distinguished, visitor activities, is experiencing peace and serenity while floating silently over the vineyards and rolling hills on a private hot air balloon flight. The vantage point provides spectacular views of some of Southern California’s last remaining rural countryside and ever-changing nuances of the seasons. The crisp of morning in winter, dormant vines row-upon-row, snow-capped mountains circling the valley. After early spring rains, a profusion of wildflowers blooms. Wisps of summer’s morning mist linger above vast, lush vineyards. Chance opportunities are gleaned to witness grape harvest at dawn. The brisk cool of autumn accompanies vineyard leaves turning golden and red.


As the sun rises over the mountains, California Dreamin’D&D BallooningGrape Escape, and Magical Adventures launch year-round, 7-days-a-week, including holidays (weather permitting). Hot air balloons accommodate 2 passengers (romantic flights) to 12-or-14 passengers (families, friends, executives, co-workers). Fleets of multiple, hot air balloons accommodate larger groups. Every flight is a special occasion; the one-hour ride provides memories for a lifetime.


9-Celebrate the Game of Golf

Temecula Valley is highly regarded for golf courses with great course design, elevation changes, and impressive views. Two of the finest are embraced by nature with age-old oaks and sycamore trees, and are popular year-round with golfers of all skill levels as perfectly challenging. When booking tee times, inquire how afternoon breezes may impact play.


With awe-inspiring terrain, the Arthur Hills-designed Journey at Pechanga is one of the California’s top courses. The course snakes through native canyons and along boulder-strewn mountains; it rises and falls 300 feet in 18 holes. With a breathtaking view from the tee box, Journey’s signature par 4, hole 6 has a spectacular, 175-foot drop – the largest elevation drop on a California course.


The Dick Rossen/Ted Robinson, Sr.-designed Temecula Creek Inn features 27 holes of championship golf surrounded by 350 acres of rustic, natural beauty. The valley’s original, prestigious course includes three distinctive nines: the Creek Course with traditional adjoining fairways; the Oaks course with its scenic beauty; and the precision-demanding Stonehouse Course.


10-Stay in Comfort

For those seeking down-to-earth, luxury, Temecula Valley offers a variety of accommodations at canyon and valley resorts, and at select hotel properties. All are conveniently located off inland Southern California’s I-15 freeway.


Nestled on 350 private acres, Temecula Creek Inn’s soothing, nature-inspired guestrooms and suites feature rustic wine country furnishings, and plush premium bedding. Premium corner rooms have wrap-around patios or balconies with panoramic views. Resort amenities include Temet Grill restaurant and lounge, in-room dining, 27-hole championship golf course, outdoor swimming pool, and hot tub. Nightly room rates start at $119 to $219.


With architecture reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright, there is a relaxed harmony within Pechanga Resort & Casino’s 400+ acre footprint. At the porte cochere with complimentary valet parking and throughout the resort, guests experience casual elegance and a high degree of hospitality and service. Spacious guest rooms and suites include luxurious and plush pillow-top mattresses, 300 thread-count linen, and floor-to ceiling windows with valley or golf course views. Resort amenities include 9 dining establishments with 3 gourmet restaurants; Spa Pechanga within the hotel; Journey at Pechanga golf course; casino gaming; and live entertainment. Hotel guests have complimentary use of the fully equipped health club; seasonal pool, and sundeck with private cabanas; and knowledgeable concierge service. Nightly room rates start at $129 to $199 and up.


With an open-air atrium and expansive swimming pool area, Embassy Suitesboasts newly renovated accommodations including fine, sophisticated bedding. The two-room deluxe king suites feature wrap-around patios with French doors. Hotel amenities include outdoor salt-water swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and fitness center. Nightly room rates start at $124 to $154.


A number of hotel properties in Uptown Temecula offer upgraded accommodations.Hampton Inn & Suites is clean, comfortable, and 100% non-smoking. Among the guestrooms are king studio suites with whirlpool tub or fireplace. Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool and fitness center. Nightly room rates start at $112 to $159.Fairfield Inn & Suites rooms feature upgraded pillow-top Euro mattresses. The honeymoon suite has a living/sitting area and a whirlpool bathtub. Nightly room rates start at $104 to $139.


Also found in Uptown Temecula is affordable luxury. With all studio suites, Springhill Suites by Marriott, offers luxurious bedding (crisp linens, thicker mattresses, and fluffier pillows). Nightly room rates start at $99. Highly rated for excellence is La Quinta Inn & Suites. Nightly room rates start at $89.


*Information is believed accurate but may be subject to change.


The Temecula Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau, the region’s official tourism marketing organization and resource for visitors is online at; “Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country” on Facebook; and @Visit_Temecula on Twitter. The Temecula Valley Visitors Center in Downtown Old Town Temecula (Third Steet and Mercedes, adjacent Temecula Civic Center) is open 7 days. For visitor information and assistance, call 888/363-2852 or 951/491-6085.


Maralyn D. HillThe Epicurean Explorer

International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)

Board Member, Co-Chair Conference & Media Trip Committee, Past President

Editor-at-Large, CityRoom

Freelance Lifestyle Journalist

Blogs: Where and What in the World & Success with Writing

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