Temecula offers visitors almost 40 wineries to visit including the small family run places as well as the full fledged "destination wineries" complete with music and event venues, bed & breakfast inns, and full service restaurants. The region is 60 miles north of San Diego and 90 miiles southwest of Los Angeles and produces award winning Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Zinfandel, Viognier, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Pinot Gris and sparkling and dessert wines.
Temecula" comes from the Luiseño Indian word "Temecunga," which means "place of sun." The Spanish interpreted and spelled that word as "Temecula," but over the years it has been translated into several different versions, including, "Where the sun breaks through the mist."
The Temecula Valley is the premier winemaking region in Southern California. Over the last decade, the number of wineries in Temecula's Wine Country has doubled with many new operations being planned. The wineries are just off Interstate 15 with most found along Rancho California Road and De Portola Road. The elevation here is at 1500 feet above sea level providing cool summer nights and afternoon breezes. Besides grapes this is horse country so it is not that unusual to find riders along the roads. A couple wineries even offer horse back riding.
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, resulting in stronger vines and smaller grapes. ideal for highly concentrated flavor. Temecula Valley AVA encompasses 33,000 acres. Approximately 1,300 acres are currently planted. Vineyards are irrigated as rainfall is frequently less than 10 inches per year.
Most of the wineries here only sell their product from their tasting rooms, so with only a few exceptions you won't find these wines at your local market or wine shop. There is a wide variety of offerings at most wineries and all charge a tasting fee which usually includes a souvenir wine glass.