It’s our own version of Napa Valley or Sonoma but without the glitz and glamour of the Bay Area. Rolling green hills, clear blue skies and rolling vineyards blanket the countryside. Temecula, California is located in the southwestern corner of Riverside County. It’s a quick hour ride from Palm Springs and less than sixty miles to San Diego. A rewarding day-long jaunt to take family and friends on even for a teetotaler like myself.
Temecula is best known for its valley wine county and old town Temecula. With a pleasant Mediterranean climate and reasonable prices it’s long been a tourist destination for Palm Springs residents and visitors alike. Only ninety miles southeast of Los Angeles, Temecula is the heart of California’s South Coast wine region. Rolling hills are covered by vineyards and offer expansive views reaching up to 11,000 foot high mountains. The air is swept clean by ocean breezes and the smell of world-class grapes ripening on the vine.
We took some guests there in last fall to tour a winery and educate ourselves on the art of wine-making. For me it was both fascinating and challenging to fake the sips and still be part of the endeavor. We went on a two hour tour and had ten tastings. I lasted for three sips. Sharon and our guests powered through all ten tastings.
On the tour, we saw their two wine crushers named Lucy and Ethel and hung out in their vat area where the wines rest before their journey continues to the bottling plant.
The Dana del Sol Winery is located on a twenty-five acre estate vineyard and boutique winery located on the De Portola Wine Trail. I’m told they’re dedicated to producing a wide selection of varietals with a strong Mediterranean influence. Whatever that means.
There’s a monastery next door with curious architecture and not a monk in sight. I’m not sure which came first; the winery or the monk’s haven but their location is impeccable.
Perusing the vast wine fields all around us, it reminded me of the wineries that blanketed the hillsides throughout Germany and other countries on our ‘Great Rivers of Europe’ river cruise we took several years ago.
Our friends loved touring the winery. It gave both them and Sharon a better insight into wines. I found the business aspect of wine-making interesting and the cheese’s quite tasty. All together it was a fun trip and a great way to spend the day. It won’t change my taste for liquor but it added to Sharon’s arsenal of entertainment and presentation skills. She’s a much better bartender and barista than I am anyway.