The Ten Best Temecula Wineries
Four hours north of San Diego by car, Temecula Valley is yet another region in Southern California known for its wineries.
There are more than forty wineries growing fifty varietals and producing half a million cases every year. But which of them are worth your visit? The ten best Temecula wineries as described below should be at the top of your list.
If you want more information about the Temecula area, check out our guide to Temecula wine country.
Need a place to stay? Look at our list of the best places to stay in Temecula wine country.
Gershon Bachus is a slice of Tuscany right in Temecula Valley. From the Italian-styled villa to the great selection of wine, this winery aims to provide a memorable tasting experience.
There are 16 different wines to choose from. Not to be missed are the bottles of 2010 Aquilo Cabernet Sauvignon Act III and 2013 Dae Dia Meritage California. Other notable varietals include syrah, cabernet franc, and zinfandel.
This winery also features beautiful ceremonial grounds with a 360° view of the mountains. With the stylish landscaping, Gershon Bachus is an excellent venue for weddings and other formal events.
You can join the winery’s club and get more information here.
If you are looking for an all-around gastronomic experience, Bottaia Winery and Estate might serve up everything you’re looking for and more. The wine is Italy-inspired, but the venue has a traditional American townhouse appeal complete with chic contemporary furnishings.
But the interior and exterior are there only to complement the wine and food. Bottaia has a good selection of white, red, and off-dry. In particular, check out the bottles of 2015 Cartuccia Red and 2015 Arneis Reserve.
Among others, the Cartuccia is characterized by raspberry and cherry aromas and a distinct cedar note. The Arneis Reserve is creamy and refreshing with tropical fruit and honey flavors. These are a perfect match for the various gourmet Bottaia plates of premium cheeses and meats.
Finally, Bottaia offers a few wine-tasting experiences. Click here to make your reservation.
Callaway is a resort-like winery with a townhouse look and feel. Greenery, landscaping, and views of the surrounding mountains - you name it and Callaway’s got it. But these are just for a start.
When it comes to the wine, Callaway's offer is hard to rival. The winery produces a nice selection of white, red, rosé, as well as sweet and sparkling. Picking out just one or two is no easy task. Perhaps start with the bottles of 2016 Special Selection Rosé of Sangiovese and NV Bella Blanc Sparkling and go from there.
You wouldn’t want to miss having dinner or lunch at the Callaway restaurant. The seasonal menu may change but the farm-to-table signature is constant, with a heavy dose of ingredients from the winery’s greenhouse.
Visit the website to see the full offer.
Since 1984, Ponte Winery has been a favorite for those who visit Temecula Valley. The mission-style estate includes 300 acres of vineyard and a sizable tasting room. And the laid-back atmosphere makes it one of the best locations for a city escape.
It’s worth noting that Ponte Winery is a boutique producer with an annual output of circa 1,500 cases. The bottles are divided into four lines - Classic, Blends, Sweet, and Sparkling and Fortified. Wondering which to try? The bottle of Tempranillo stands out in the Classic line and the bottle of Angry Wife in Blends.
The estate is a great place to host events and there is a separate offer for companies and corporate get-togethers. If you are visiting on your own, booking a room at the Ponte Vineyard Inn would be your best bet.
Click here to check out everything that Ponte Winery has to offer.
Palumbo is the epitome of small private wineries dedicated to producing handcrafted wines. The estate has a 13-acre vineyard, which this is more than enough to produce some of the finest reds in the Temecula Valley.
What’s more, Palumbo is a certified sustainable winery and vineyard. It offers dirt-to-bottle vineyard tour and tasting, which gives you first-hand insight into the winery’s cultivation and production practices. The focus here is red wines such as bottles of Sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc.
The winery sources ingredients for its syrah and viognier from surrounding vineyards. For one, the bottle of 2011 “24” Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon is bound to excite your taste buds. While you’re at it, you might want to try the 2014 Meritage “Tre Fratelli” as well.
Go to Palumbo’s website to see the full selection.
Carter Estate Winery and Resort
Set within 109 acres of vineyard, Carter Estate stands out as a luxurious winery and resort. If you are passing by, the winery is opened for tasting every day of the week.
However, it might be better to plan ahead and reserve your place at a Wine & Food Pairing event. The tasting rooms are very private, with eight visitors per seated tasting, and offer five different wines including the estate’s sparkling vintages.
In addition, you may want to consider staying at one of the Carter Estate suites. These are Mediterranean-styled bungalows with high-end furnishing, a private patio, and a view of the surrounding vineyards. Overnight stays include a complimentary breakfast and access to all of the resort’s amenities.
Book a romantic weekend or otherwise at Carter Estate.
Those who are into fine wine and motorbikes are at risk of falling in love with Doffo Winery. For a start, the MottoDoffo Vintage Motorcycle Collection features more than 100 classic scooters and motorbikes.
Owned by the Doffo family, the estate is known for its small handcrafted batches. The main varietals include syrah, malbec, and zinfandel. The vintages that you can’t afford to miss include the bottles of 2015 Mistura, 2010 Merlot Reserve, and 2014 Malbec Reserve.
The tasting experience at Doffo includes a selection of dessert wines, new releases, and reserve vintages. The Cork ‘N Torque Tour is a highlight for those who are so inclined. That’s if boarding the eco-friendly Malbec Express bus for touring the property and a private wine tasting appeal to you.
Click here to find out more about Doffo Winery.
Avensole earned its place among the ten best Temecula wineries for a few reasons. It has been producing some of the best wines in the region since the 1960s. The charming estate with its manor exterior and a beautiful ponded garden was the first among Temecula estates to introduce Chenin Blanc and Petite Syrah.
As for the wine, the main focus is the bottles of Zinfandel. It’s worth noting that Avensole Winery won more than 20 awards between 2012 and 2017. If nothing else, you’ve got to taste the bottles of 2015 Sangiovese and 2017 Muscat Canelli.
The on-site restaurant keeps an eclectic menu of culinary delights to go with the in-house wines. There is also a beautiful terrace to soak up the sights and sounds in the open air.
Check out Avensole’s website for more information.
Hart Winery is among the oldest in Temecula Valley where a surprising number of varieties are produced. From sauvignon blanc to cabernet franc, there is a wine for any taste and occasion. As is the proclivity of Temecula producers, Hart Family Winery focuses on red wines, among which the bottles of 2014 Petite Sirah and 2014 Merlot are perhaps the highlights.
The tasting room is open 9 to 5 all week long. Reservation is not necessary, and the room is best enjoyed by up to ten guests. One could say that the small size contributes to the boutique feel.
The winery doesn’t serve any food, but you are welcome to bring your own and enjoy a picnic on the estate. Overall, you may relish casually dropping by this winery and having a few sips before continuing on to another stop.
Click here to explore the Hart Family Winery virtually.
Established in 2011, Cougar Vineyard & Winery is a relative newcomer to Temecula. Perhaps because of that, Cougar has one of the best and most interesting websites of all Temecula producers. Italian varietals are exclusively grown, where there are more than 15 on the estate.
Particularly worthy of your attention are the bottles of 2015 Cask Reserve Estate Montepulciano and Estate Negramaro. You could have an alfresco meal in the winery’s barrel room, the deli area, or the patio. The menu covers hand-tossed pizzas, light salads, and a selection of full meals.
Among others, you’ll find live music on Fridays and Sundays, pet-friendly Wine and Dogs events, and craft nights. No matter the season of your visit, a laid-back and friendly atmosphere awaits.
Check out Cougar Winery here.
Southern California Trip and Sip
Come to think of it, you could plan a week-long holiday around the various Temecula wineries. You don’t even need an itinerary; perhaps just choose Carter Estate or Ponte Vineyard Inn as your base. When you’re there, you can decide which tasting rooms to go to on any given day.