I had just returned from an almost month long trip to Greece and Egypt when a few friends and I rolled into Temecula, California for a ‘Girl’s Wine Weekend’. I believe that weekend was what they call a “Live Hard – Play Hard” trip. I added one more verse to that slogan and ‘Crashed Hard’ – every damn night. My body was still on Egypt time, so I would crawl into my bedroom at our Airbnb and crash around 8:00. So much for the Live Hard – Play Hard attitude!
Our weekend was definitely wine aggressive- three wineries with tastings every day. Since I barely drank in Egypt, I made up for it in Temecula. It was a great Girls Trip of tastings, shopping, and eating. I am thankful for my friends who set up this weekend, asked me to join, and were understanding of my crash and burn at 8:00 PM. 🍷 To my friends….
A list of wineries, distilleries and restaurants that I had visited in Temecula along with reviews.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards
I will say that Robert Renzoni had many lovely wines, but we were not able to try several of them. The winery was busy as it was a very popular place, and they ran out of their top wines to taste. Our driver mentioned this winery had a wonderful Pinot Grigio but they were totally out. I think what made up for the shortage of some wines, was the great selection of premium wines we could taste.
For the premium wines, I had the opportunity to try a few including the Wine Enthusiasts 92 points- 2014 Fiore De Fano. It was excellent and a nice touch to have this wine on the tasting list. The Premium Dessert wine was wonderful, and we were given a piece of chocolate. It is always interesting to me how chocolate can alter wine in a good way.
Mama Rosa’s Trattoria
This Trattoria is located next to the Robert Renzoni Vinyards tasting room. It is quite a lovely looking place, and we waited about 45 minutes for our table. So if you do find yourself here, check how long the wait is, and put your name down. You can go next door and do some wine tasting while you wait.
When we were seated we had to get back up again because this restaurant was an order at the counter place. Yes, we were shocked too. They do bring your food to your table , remember to take your number. The food was good for counter service, I will say that. I ordered the Polpette E Marinara, and the Meat and Cheese board. It was not bad and the serving was generous. I brought two of the meatballs back to the Airbnb to eat the next day.
Bel Vino Winery
You know you like a winery when your friends and you split a case. Mmm-hmmm we loved the Italian imported Bel Vino Bubbly so much that we bought a case for our very own. My friends and I are definite wine drinkers, but never had Sparkling Red Grape Wine before. It was lovely, so very lovely.
Besides the red bubbly, their other wines from white to red, to their champagnes were also are quite enjoyable. The tasting area was large, and there were a couple of rooms with a lovely outdoor seating area. The wine pourers were great, friendly, and knowledgeable. We really enjoyed our time here, and would love to have more of that red sparkling wine.
Oak Mountain Winery
Oak Mountain is a pleasant winery with a couple of tasting rooms, and beautiful grounds to walk through. We came to this winery as part of the Wine Trolley Tour, and it was our destination for a lunch break as well. They offered a tasty lunch with Bistro Sandwiches, choice of salad, and a brownie.
As for the wine tasting, if you are on one of the wine tours the tasting room can get pretty crowded. They do there best to get to everyone though. One wine that caught my eye was the White Cabernet, as I have not tried that before. It was nice, but I was not sure what to expect when I tasted it. I would like to give it another try as my first wine of the day though. As for their other wines, my friends and I had no complaints. They did buy a couple of bottles, so I know they enjoyed this winery as well.
Masia de la Vinya
Out of the six Temecula wineries that my friends and I visited within two days, Masia de la Vinya Winery was my favorite. I believe this place was a favorite for the four of us because I kept hearing that during our visit. It was not only a favorite for their extraordinary wines, but the outside space was very relaxing and enjoyable.
Briar Rose Winery
This winery is absolutely enchanting and should not be missed on your Temecula visit. To enjoy Briar Rose Winery fully, you will need to make a reservation. I honestly respect that because the tasting grounds are not large, and in order to have a peaceful tasting outdoors, reservations are definitely needed.
The first owner of this property was an original Disney Imagineer and one of Walt’s designers. It is not a surprise that this winery is named Briar Rose, which is Princess Aurora aka “Sleeping Beauty”. The original owner also built a replica of Snow White’s cottage, hence all the dwarf statues hiding about the garden.
As for the wines, they are delightful. If you are doing the full tasting (reservations suggested) you can choose either the red or white tasting menu. Three of us chose the red menu, and one chose the white tasting menu. All were delicious especially the Tempranillo.
The views and the property of Callaway were beautiful, and so are their wines. On our visit to Callaway, I was only interested in trying their dessert wines. Their 2016 Winemaker’s Reserve AKA Port was impressive, and I would love to come back to pair that port with one of their desserts inside the restaurant. I like to think ahead.
Depending on the time of day you arrive and how you arrive, either by tour group or on your own, the tasting room can become overwhelming. Honestly, I would love to come back and try out this winery again when it is not as crowded. There is also a nice dining establishment “Meritage Restaurant” on property that I am wanting to try on my next visit to Temecula.
Temecula Cable Car Wine Trolley
On our first wine day in Temecula, we booked tickets for the Temecula Cable Car Wine Trolley. The tour was fun and an easy way to navigate through Temecula. The Cable Car is a fully refurbished 100 year old San Francisco trolley car, which brings you to three top rated wineries. You do not have to worry about driving during wine tastings, and they keep your purchases safe inside the cable car.
The three wineries we were taken to were Callaway Vineyard, and Oak Mountain where we were given a delicious bistro sandwich for lunch. The third winery was Bel Vino where my friends and I purchased a case of sparkling red. All good choices for wineries- Cheers!
For tour information and booking, please visit their website – Temecula Cable Car Wine Tours
Private Tour Driver
The second day of our wine tours, we booked a private SUV with a driver which was also a smart decision. Our driver took us to three wineries: Maisa de la Vinya, Briar Rose, and Robert Renzoni where we had lunch. The benefits of having a private driver was that we had a personal pick up and drop off at our accomodations. We were also able to spend as long as we wanted in the wineries, and did not have to worry about who was in shape to drive.
There are several private tour companies in Temecula and we used TEMECULA BLACK CAR. Our driver was personable, friendly, and she even made sure that our reservation at the Briar Rose Winery was confirmed- Great Service.
Well this was a fun place! Cocktails, tastings, gin, vodka, and a bit of charcuterie and cheese in a cozy atmosphere? What is there not to like?
Juan, our mixologist made us various cocktails using the different types of vodka and gins. He was great- very friendly, personable, and knowledgeable. He also brought out a bowl of charcuterie and cheese for us. It was something simple with cheese, salami, crackers, and olives. It was perfect for the casual vibe of this distillery.
If you like flavored vodka, I highly recommend this place. We all enjoyed the coffee vodka, peppermint vodka, and the blood orange vodka. This place is definitely on my return to Temecula list, just so I can pick up more vodka- Cheers!
The Goat & Vine
I was told by many locals that The Goat & Vine was the best restaurant in Temecula. We took their word for it, and came in on our last day in town during our wine drinking weekend. I was also told that the waiting time would be very long, and we also took that into consideration. We arrived when it opened, and got a table right away.
As for the food, I must say that everything I tried was fantastic. The produce was fresh as well as the flavors. I loved the Brewhouse Blu Cheese, and would definitely order that again. The blue cheese was not overwhelming on the salad, it was just enough to give it a true blue cheese flavor. I also ordered the Springtime Chicken Salad, which I believe was seasonal. There was definitely a lot of chicken salad on my sandwich. It was served on sourdough bread, which was the perfect accompaniment to my well seasoned chicken salad.
A very lively public house, indeed! PUBlic House was quite busy and for very good reasons. The outdoor patio seating was quite large, but it became very crowded with people standing, hanging out, or sitting and eating. It was a fun place to see and be seen. Since it was the weekend there was live music, which was fun and it did get a few people on their feet.
Another great reason why this place was so busy had to be the food and cocktails. The food here was fantastic, and very reminiscent to California cuisine- fresh and seasonal. My friends and I all ordered something different, but three out of the four meals included their popular brussel sprouts. I was lucky enough to have a dish with their fresh brussel sprouts. I ordered the Catch of the Day, which was a thick delicious filet of white fish. The whole meal was plated beautifully and very appetizing.
I came to Spuntion on a different occasion a few months after our Girls Trip, this time I was with my daughter. We came to Spuntion after wine tasting, and we were on our way back to Vegas. Carbs were definitely in order, and their pastas sounded delicious.
I decided on the Rigatoni with sausage and broccoli, while my daughter opted for the Spaghetti and Meat Sauce. Both were solid dishes. I enjoyed mine, as it was not heavy on the sauce. It was very flavorful and the sausage was delicious. The rigatoni was al dente and perfect, so important when ordering pasta. My daughter finished her spaghetti while I boxed half of mine to take home with me. By the time we got back to Vegas my daughter was hungry again, and ate the rest of my leftovers. That’s how it goes though- At least I got to enjoy it when it was freshly made.
Wine a little, laugh a lot …
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