Grapes have played a tremendous role in human history—many members of the Hapsburg dynasty were at least half-grape—and they tended to do their best work at vineyards. Today's Groupon treats you to one of the San Diego region's better graperies with $75 worth of gourmet cuisine and drinks at Callaway Vineyard and Winery's Meritage in Temecula for $35. You'll also get 10% off everything at Callaway's wine store (just print your Groupon twice to use it once in the restaurant and once in the store). You may use one Groupon for every two people at your table, so you, your identical twin, and your identical twin dates can all enjoy a night of wacky mismatches and delicious food.
The sounds of conversation and laughter compete with the clinking of glasses in The Wine Artist’s lofty venue. The space sprawls over 2,500 square feet, with plenty of room to host private parties, bridal events, corporate events, and private cooking classes. Events at The Wine Artist feature unique wines, gourmet catering, and experiences such as wine bottling and team building activities.
Keyways Vineyard & Winery–owner Terri Pebley Delhamer presides over the only woman-owned-and-curated winery in Temecula Valley. Enlisting her close friend and designer Deborah Daniel to select the amber stucco walls and terracotta roofs, Terri cultivated the winery's classic mission-style aesthetic. Inside a tasting room that the California Winery Advisor dubbed "rustic yet elegant," head winemaker David Raffaele calls on experience gained during studies in the Italian wine country, crafting numerous varietals that grace the black onyx bar. Raffaele’s adherence to craftsmanship results in limited-run vintages that fill the vineyard’s trim annual production of 4,000 cases, or what Dionysus referred to as pregaming.
When the vintners aren't harvesting plump grapes on their equestrian-friendly property, they keep busy by hosting special events and overnight guests at a recently renovated estate home surrounded by rolling foothills and nearby ranches. Matrimonial knots take hold beneath a dark-stained trellis that caps a paved walkway perched in the foreground of the distant mountains.
Sunrider Wine Tours' knowledgeable guides⎯all of whom are or have been local-winery and vineyard employees⎯cart tourists through Southern California wine country's rural terrain in open-air or covered Jeeps. The guides share information on Temecula's history and first-hand knowledge of vino-making processes while shuttling guests to tastings at local wineries and answering questions, such as what tannins are and who invented grapes.
Wine on a Dime's experienced wranglers of grapes and barleys preside over a range of themed tastings and events that flaunt the accessibility of fine libations. A rotating selection of featured wines parades an ever-changing lineup of pinot noirs, malbecs, and chardonnays, which greet taste buds with firm handshakes during tastings. Wine Lovers Wednesday furnishes participants with six sippables over the course of the evening, and Friday Night Flights rewards customers with five distinct wines and a pilot’s cap stitched together from grapevines. Tilt palates toward seven different grown-up grape juices on Sippin’ Saturdays, or meander into the sudsy wonderland of Thirsty Third Thursday, which arrays six craft beers to sample and savor. Viewings of wine-steeped films such as Sideways and I Was a Teenage Maitre d' surround guests with oenophile culture, and regional tastings focus on the products of Spain, Napa Valley, and other prolific vine strongholds.
People often dream of a retirement tucked away someplace remote, with no schedule and no responsibilities. In 1984, when Budd and Maurice Van Roekel packed everything up, they were headed to the Temecula Valley to do just that: retire and enjoy a leisurely life. At least that was their plan until they stumbled upon a 86-acre vineyard. In those early days, Budd Van Roekel would man the tractor himself, planting grapes upon watercolor arcs of green that have been growing since 1968.Today, visitors come upon the stucco-roofed entrance of Van Roekel Vineyard's European-style tasting room, peering in at high ceilings and cream-colored walls. Once inside, they sip on a selection of home-grown wines, such as the 2008 syrah, a maze of blackberries and clove, or the 2010 muscat canelli, which hints at the tropics like a ukulele flying south for the winter. Bearing deli sandwiches or smooth hemispheres of gelato, a group wanders onto the sunny plaza in front of the tasting room, trailing fingers through the waters of the stone fountain before filtering back past the bouquets of bottles that fill wicker baskets in the gift shop.