Temecula offers visitors over 40 wineries to visit. From small family run tasting rooms, to full-fledged “destination wineries”, complete with music and event venues, lodging and full service restaurants, Temecula wineries have a lot to offer. Most of the wineries are located just off Interstate 15 with the highest concentration of wineries found along Rancho California Road and De Portola Road. Because of the thoughtful layout of the wine country, the drive between wineries is often very short. This will allow you to visit many wineries in just one day, but we recommend at least two days.
With the great success of the wineries in Temecula over the last fifteen years, the number of wineries in Temecula’s wine country has doubled and many new wineries and vineyards are being planned. The local county government recently approved a plan that would allow an additional 120 wineries to begin operating in Temecula.
Temecula wineries produce award winning Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc along with small quantities of Zinfandel, Viognier, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Pinot Gris, sparkling and dessert wines.
Getting to Temecula and staying there
Temecula wine country is ideally situated for wine lovers in Southern California and beyond. You can be at the Temecula wineries in just under and hour from San Diego, an hour and a half from Los Angeles and just over an hour from Orange county. If you don’t live in Southern California, you have many airport options including San Diego, John Wayne (Irvine) and Los Angeles International. Once you arrive in Temecula, you can park your car and take advantage of one of the local wine tour operators. This is a great way to maximize you tasting time and keep safe.
Once you get there, Temecula offers a range of places for you to stay. The national chain hotels are mostly concentrated around Interstate 15 and offer clean affordable rooms, but not much else. The fun begins in wine country where you can find beautiful resorts and charming inns all nestled within the acres of vines and rolling hills. Be sure to ask the wine country hotels about tasting room specials that are offered to guests.
So what makes Temecula Wineries so special
Temecula’s light, sandy loam soil, comprised mostly of decomposing granite, permits water to drain easily. This forces the roots to grow deeper to find water. The result is stronger vines and smaller grapes. This is ideal for highly concentrated flavor.
The elevation here is 1500 feet above sea level. This provides cool summer nights and afternoon breezes following relatively hot days. You can taste this in the best Temecula wines as bold fruit forward flavors and silky mouth-feel.
Temecula Trivia (say that five times fast)
- Temecula comes from the Luiseno Indian word “Temecunga”, which has be translated as “place of sun” or “Where the sun breaks through the mist”. The Spanish misspelled the word as Temecula.
- Along with its great wineries, Temecula is known for being horse country. Don’t be surprised to see riders going you on the local roads. A few wineries even offer horseback riding.
- The Temecula Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) encompasses 33,000 acres. Approximately 1,300 acres are currently planted. Vineyards are irrigated as rainfall is frequently less than 10 inches per year (feel free to leave your umbrella at home!)
- Most of the wineries here only sell their wine from their tasting rooms, so with only a few exceptions, you won’t find these wines at supermarkets and wine shops outside of Temecula.
- All Temecula wineries charge a tasting fee. Some offer a souvenir glass with a tasting.