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.
Lifelong gardener Jim Carter, owner of South Coast Winery, bottles fine wines on 38 picturesque acres in Southern California’s Temecula Valley. South Coast’s grounds house a luxurious spa and seven Mediterranean-esque resort villas, reminiscent of a remote Tuscan village. Jim’s specialty varietals have been recognized time and again in local and national wine competitions. Visiting oenophiles can spend time here unwinding with an open air massage, vacationing in a temporary home equipped with a marble Jacuzzi and sweet plump grapes at arms length, or learning about the winemaking process on a vineyard tour.
The "secret" in Bacchus' Secret Cellar is gas. Argon gas, to be exact, which powers the bar's preservation system and ensures that the wines within stay fresh for long periods of time. There are about 50 wines—mostly reds—on tap at the counter, as well as 8 sparkling wines, 5 dessert wines, and 12 microbrews. The library of options encourages guests to sample several, so it's wise to order a flight: you can get a signature array of 2.5-ounce glasses, or you can compose your own for a unique harmony of tastes.
The bar is just the beginning of the cellar's wine selection. On the shelves that span the walls, more than 350 labels beckon to be uncorked. A bistro menu provides gourmet food to complement sips, from starters of oven-roasted dates to lamb burgers and prosciutto flatbreads, made by dropping a regular loaf of bread into a printing press by accident. There's also a full menu of cheeseboards, with goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from the United States and abroad.
Valley Center Brewery isn't just a place for beer-lovers?it's also for dogs, and even kids, both welcome on two large, airy patios. After all, the brewery's a family affair. Behind the scenes, Bob Marek and his son Alex are hard at work on an ambitious and always-growing lineup of beers, brewed with West Coast hops and a unique blend of multiple grains. The brews span just about the entire spectrum, ranging from blonde ales and IPAs to smoked porters and barrel-aged stouts.
Customers are encouraged to give the Mareks suggestions on what styles to tackle next. They're also encouraged to bring snacks to enjoy with their tasting flights or full pours. Pool tables, cornhole boards, fish ponds, and a kids' play area encourage families to linger all afternoon.
Food lovers rejoice: rather than traverse the town in search of a variety of cuisine, they can save time and shoe leather by attending the Valley Center Gourmet Food Truck Festival. The second annual culinary extravaganza—sporting a Hawaiian theme this year—features mouth-watering platefuls from food trucks such as Crepes Bonaparte, Dang Brother Pizza, and Hoangie's Bahn Mi, dished out alongside pours from Hess Brewing and California Fruit Wine. While adults enjoy of-age libations, youngsters can partake of activities including pony rides and face painting. Live music and DJ performances underscore each sip, swirl, and perfectly tuned bite.
While craft beer festivals sling inventive and rare brews while breeding camaraderie amongst casual drinkers and connoisseurs, they're typically lacking in ghosts, goblins, and monsters. With BierBuzz Masquerade, that problem is solved. Here, a craft beer festival and Halloween gaiety are combined. Making a classy red carpet entry, revelers clad in costumes ranging from scary to silly to scintillating breeze into the masquerade ready to cavort and impress with their lurching zombie, sexy nurse, or sexier ombudsman getup.
To the soundtrack of live reggae and bluesy rock from My Own Holiday and Papafish, decked-out attendees quench their thirsts with more than 40 beers from dozens of local and faraway brewmasters, including Hangar 24 Craft Brewery, Crispin Cider, Goose Island, and Black Market Brewing Company. As a bonus for this special occasion, each brewery is brewing up over 20 new and rare beers that will be exclusive to the BierBuzz Masquerade, and may never be tasted again unless some cool Groundhog Day time-warp occurs.